UPDATED City layoffs announced
The city’s new interim manager has announced layoffs that will effectively cut our planning and building department in half, trim the fire department’s daily staffing further and force the closure of a fire station out on Alameda Point.
The city is slated to cut 64 positions – 10 percent of its workforce – laying off 40 workers and leaving 24 vacant positions dark. Laid-off workers will get pink slips next Friday, May 15, after the city figures out who exactly will be shown the door. They’ll get two weeks pay and health care through the end of July.
The move will save the city $6.5 million next year.
“The issue is, there’s absolutely no way of living within our budget and paying our fixed charge bills without cutting staff. It just is not possible,” Gallant said. She said the city has already made all the other non-staff cuts it can.
The city council approved more than $4 million in cuts in June to balance its budget this year; it has since okayed another $4.4 million in midyear cuts to match a precipitous drop in sales tax and other revenues.
The city employed 659 workers in 2008.
Gallant said the cuts should put the city in the black for the next 24 months, though she and others expressed concern that the state could opt to raid city treasuries in an effort to balance its own budget.
Alan Elnick of the Alameda City Employees Association, which represents 26 of the 40 workers set to lose their jobs, conceded that the city’s facing tough financial times. But he said he’s hopeful he can come up with a plan that saves some jobs.
Alameda firefighters union spokesman Jeff DelBono, who said firefighters are saddened about all the job cuts, said the fire cuts – which include five layoffs and the loss of six vacant positions – will hurt service levels.
Daily staffing levels could drop to 22 per day, with a maximum of 24, a level the city has regularly seen since the department enacted brownouts in January to slow the use of its remaining overtime funds. Prior to that, the city had 27 fire personnel on duty every day.
Fire Station 5 at Alameda Point will be permanently closed, and DelBono said an additional fire company could be shuttered when staffing drops below 24.
“There are going to be significant impacts. Firefighters are going to try to keep providing the service levels that we can, but services will be impacted,” DelBono said.
The planning and building department will lose 16 people, including their director, Cathy Woodbury, effectively cutting the department in half. Gallant presented a chart to the council Tuesday night that showed a decline in planning department activity. The department’s expenses are close to $1 million higher than revenues as of the end of March.
The city manager’s office, city clerk, finance and the library are not slated to see any job cuts. Alameda Municipal Power, which jettisoned a dozen employees when it sold its telecommunications business in November, will not see any further job cuts.
The list also includes a dozen golf employees who inked a deal with the city in November that maintains their positions through the end of 2009. But those workers could “bump” into positions in the city’s recreation and parks department, which doesn’t have any positions on the layoff list.
Seven vacant police positions will also be cut. Public works will lose 11 positions, eight of them already vacant; human resources, two positions, both filled; development services two positions, one filled; and one staffer in the city attorney’s office will lose their job.
The city is dealing with the same economic crisis faced by every other level of government (heck, let’s just call it everyone). It is also facing the recent discovery that some of its departments weren’t properly charged for workers compensation bills, the long and the short of which is that the city has a lot less cash on hand than folks on the council thought we did.
Here’s the full list (V for vacant, F for filled):
MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL:
Assistant city attorney I (F)
ALAMEDA MUNICIPAL POWER:
Development manager (2) (V,F)
Division chief (V)
Fire captain (4) (3F, 1V)
Fire apparatus operator (3) (1F, 2V)
Firefighter (2) (1F, 1V)
Fire/building code compliance officer (V)
GOLF: (cuts previously ID’d for 12/31/09)
Equipment operator (3) (F)
Golf & park team leader (2) (F)
Golf course utility worker (2) (F)
Equipment mechanic (F)
Golf & park maintenance worker (4) (F)
Administrative management analyst (F)
Administrative tech I (F)
PLANNING AND BUILDING:
Plan check engineer (V)
Senior combination building inspector (V)
Supervising planner (2) (F)
Planner III (2) (F)
Combination building inspector (4) (F)
Fire building code compliance officer (F)
Permit tech III (2) (F)
Intermediate clerk (3) (F)
Executive assistant (F)
Planning and Building Director (F)
Police lieutenant (V)
Police sergeant (2) (V)
Police officer (4) (V)
Public works supervisor (V)
Associate civil engineer (2) (V)
Maintenance worker I (3) (V)
Maintenance worker III (2) (V)
Administrative services coordinator (F)
Transportation coordinator (F)
Senior draftsperson (F)
RECREATION AND PARKS: