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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

Mandatory furlough plan is scrapped

August 08, 2008|David Zahniser

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday scrapped plans for $23 million in mandatory worker furloughs after reaching an agreement with city employee unions to cut costs elsewhere.

The mayor and the Coalition of L.A. City Unions agreed to only $3 million in furloughs, or unpaid days off, all of them voluntary.

Mandatory furloughs had been considered a pivotal part of the mayor's plan to eliminate a $406-million budget shortfall. Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo said, however, that the mayor was happy to avoid such a move. "This is the same amount of savings without a cut in service," he said.

Barbara Maynard, a spokeswoman for the union coalition, said her group's employees agreed to make up for some of the shortfall by applying $18.25 million in unused healthcare funds toward the city budget. City workers also agreed to pay more for prescription drugs -- a move that would reduce city spending by about $1.6 million.

-- David Zahniser

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