August 5, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Source Says 1/4 of Santa Monica City Employees May Lose Jobs

Updated 4/15/20 12:01 p.m.

City facing multi-million dollar budget deficit

By Sam Catanzaro

Facing a major budget deficit the City of Santa Monica took action last night that may lead to cuts in services and buyouts to hundreds of employees. In addition, a source has told the Santa Monica Mirror, however, that more cuts are looming that may lead to one-quarter of employees seeing their positions terminated and the elimination of programs such as the Santa Monica Swim Center.

On Tuesday night, Santa Monica City Council City instructed staff to implement a Voluntary Early Separation Incentive Program (VESIP) for eligible staff this week. According to a staff report, these buyouts are for permanent employees with a minimum of five years of service and employed in a job classification that is not deemed by the City Manager to be essential.

Staff with 10 or more years of service would receive $15,000 and 18 months of City-paid medical benefits. Staff members with a minimum of five years would get $10,000 and 18 months medical coverage.

According to the City, while the cost of the VESIP is difficult to estimate because it is unknown how many of the eligible staff will avail themselves to this program, the City has set aside $1,800,000 from the general fund for this program

These buyouts are intended to mitigate some of the impacts the COVID-19 outbreak has brought upon the City’s budget, which the City says “is facing massive deficits.”

“Because the City relies heavily on revenues impacted by the quarantines including shopping, tourism, dining and entertainment, our City is facing massive deficits to our budget as a result of the pandemic,” reads the staff report, approved by City Manager Rick Cole and Gigi Decavalles-Hughes, Director, Finance Department. “The City relies heavily on revenues impacted by the quarantines including shopping, tourism, dining and entertainment. Staff projects that in the period through June 30 (the end of the fiscal year), the City will have a $72 million budget gap in its General Fund in large part due to the sudden loss of revenues. We expect to use all of our Economic Uncertainty Reserves and some of the City’s rainy day fund to fill this General Fund gap.”

In addition, the City says current projections indicate that if reopening begins in July the City will face a $154 million deficit from July 2020 through June 2021.

The staff report also indicated that City programs and services may be cut.

“The financial impacts of the emergency force us to quickly consider what are the essential services that the City must provide and only the City can provide. We think public health and safety must be maintained as much as possible. To navigate this emergency and restructure our City, we will have to focus on the few things that only we can provide. It does not mean the city is forsaking our values and priorities. Rather, it means we are pushing the pause button on many of our ambitious and successful programs, services and initiatives,” the staff report reads.

On top of these cuts, a former senior city employee who wishes to remain anonymous told the Santa Monica Mirror that on top of the cuts mentioned in the staff report, City Manager Rick Cole will propose during closed session additional reductions.

According to the source, under these additional reductions one-quarter, or more than 500, city employees will lose their jobs, including a couple of top-level department heads.

The source went on to say that some departments will be combined and that all department assistant director positions will be eliminated.

In addition, the source says that the Office of Sustainability and the Environment will be reduced to all but four staff members.

Regarding services, the source said that the Santa Monica Public Library system may be reduced to two branches.

According to the source, department heads were made aware of these cuts in a directive from the City Manager specifying what to cut.

When reached for comment, the City said these facts are “not accurate”.

A petition circulating online shared with Santa Monica City Council, however, lists some of the programs and services slated to be cut.

The former city employee told the Santa Monica Mirror that the petition contains “clear and correct information.”

Among the programs and services listed as slated to be cut are closing the Santa Monica Swim Center, reduce street sweeping to once per month, combining and reducing the Virginia Avenue Park and PAL youth programs, eliminating the Office of Sustainability and Environment and most, if not all, of the sustainability policies and programs.

In addition, the petition says that there will be a reduction in the frequency of beach restroom cleaning from eight times per day to two-three times per day, while close some beach restrooms completely, even during summer.

Related Posts

New Street Furniture Program Coming to Bus Stops Across Los Angeles

August 4, 2021

August 4, 2021

StreetsLA is debuting a new program adding shade, seating, and other amenities to bus stops across Los Angeles. Brought to...

New Renderings Revealed for Future Multi-Use Building on La Cienega blvd

August 4, 2021

August 4, 2021

The SHop will be a multifamily housing and office space replacing the self-storage facility on the corner of La Cienega...

New West LA High-Rise Apartment Building Reaches its Final Height

August 4, 2021

August 4, 2021

“The Landmark” is the tallest apartment building West of the 405 and the first new high-rise built in the last...

Santa Monica’s UCLA Hospital Ranks No. 1 in State, No. 3 in Nation

August 3, 2021

August 3, 2021

Highest set of rankings ever for UCLA Health  By Sam Catanzaro UCLA Health hospitals have ranked No. 1 in both...

La County Health Lifts Water Advisory For Santa Monica Beaches: Santa Monica Beat – August 2, 2021

August 2, 2021

August 2, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * La County Health Lifts Water Advisory For Santa Monica Beaches *...

Man Killed in Santa Monica Hit and Run

August 2, 2021

August 2, 2021

Fatality occurs early Monday morning on Santa Monica Boulevard By Sam Catanzaro A man was killed in a hit and...

Millions of Gallons of Partially Treated Sewage Continue to be Discharged Into Santa Monica Bay

August 2, 2021

August 2, 2021

Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant still not operating at full efficiency following July spill  By Sam Catanzaro Three weeks after a...

Library Director Patty Wong to Leave Santa Monica

July 30, 2021

July 30, 2021

Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL) Director Patty Wong announced recently that she will leave Santa Monica to take on the...

City Council Prioritizes Housing for Historically Displaced Households

July 28, 2021

July 28, 2021

At its meeting on July 13, Santa Monica City Council made changes to Santa Monica’s Affordable Housing Production Program and...

Homeless Man Charged with Hate Crime in Assault of Korean Woman in Santa Monica

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Melvin Taylor faces charges in connection to July 23 incident By Sam Catanzaro Hate crime charges have been filed against...

Homeless Advocate Arrested Near Shelter on Suspicion of Dealing Drugs, Claims no Wrongdoing

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

65-year-old Garry Featherstone accused of selling meth, PCP By Sam Catanzaro A self-described homeless outreach advocate was recently arrested near...

Off Leash Dog Park And Picnic Area Coming To Downtown Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Off Leash Dog Park And Picnic Area Coming To Downtown Santa...