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Long Beach to lay off 67, officials say

A file photo of Long Beach's boardwalk. (June

A file photo of Long Beach's boardwalk. (June 21, 2011) Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Long Beach will lay off 67 workers in the next few days as part of a push to right the cash-strapped city's financial ship, city officials said Monday.

The layoffs, which will affect 25 full-time workers and 42 part-time employees across several departments, will save the city $2.58 million this year, City Manager Jack Schnirman said.

The staff reduction will be detailed during tonight's budget presentation; the 2012-13 budget proposal will be the subject of a public hearing at City Hall, Schnirman said.

Long Beach will also remove 69 inactive employees from the city's books, he said. The city has 1,656 employees, full and part time.

The moves will bring the city closer to filling a projected $10.25 million budget deficit this fiscal year, Schnirman said. The city also needs givebacks from the union as it will require $7 million in personnel savings to close the budget gap, he said.

"Our staffing analysis has concluded that the level of personnel in the city is unsustainable," he said. "And after working with our labor partners over a period of weeks, we have concluded that there are not enough concessions possible to avoid reducing the city's staffing levels."

Attempts to reach John Mooney, president of Long Beach's Civil Service Employees Association union, were not successful. An early retirement package, offered by the city in March, remains on the table, Schnirman said.

The layoffs will be handled by seniority, he said. Among the affected departments are the department of public works -- which includes sanitation, street maintenance and water maintenance -- the transportation department and the fire department, he said.

The need for layoffs is the latest in a series of fiscal shocks in Long Beach, where city officials are planning a 4.1 percent tax levy increase, plus a temporary 11.9 percent increase each year for three years to address the deficit. The hikes would raise Long Beach taxes next year for the owner of an average home by about $430, to $2,904, officials have said.

Last week, the city released a staffing analysis that showed that Long Beach's employment levels have increased more than 20 percent since 2005 despite the city's 6.2 percent loss in population since 2000. The city is also considering a proposal to require managers and elected officials to contribute to their health benefits as a way to save money.

Tonight's budget hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall, at 1 W. Chester St. The budget could legally be approved tonight, but is more likely to be put to a vote on May 22, Schnirman has said.

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