City May Lay Off Employees

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City Manager Dave Kiff has lifted the veil on a proposed 2011-12 city budget that would trim $9 million from the city’s spending and include the layoff of some two dozen employees.

The budget also would allow another 25 or so positions to disappear through attrition – not hiring replacements for retiring or leaving workers.

“We reduced the City’s General Fund budget by $8 million in 2010 to compensate for revenues lost during the economic downturn,” Kiff said. “We stabilized the budget and looked ahead two years to see the next set of costs coming. The City Council directed us to prepare the City’s finances to absorb the impact and that’s exactly what our proposed fiscal year 2011-12 budget reflects.”

The proposed budget is subject to change as it makes its way through the approval process, with final adoption by the City Council set for June. In its current form, the budget envisions cuts in both full- and part-time employees.

Kiff said he has broached the topic of layoffs in talks with the city’s employee associations over the past several weeks.

“While I believe telling our staff early on that layoffs were likely, I understand this news has created anxiety as employees have patiently awaited the potential fate of their positions,” Kiff said, adding, “We have time to plan and we have time to help those whose jobs are impacted to prepare to re-enter the job market.”

Cities nationwide are dealing with shortfalls in revenue and increasing costs, with many targeting pension costs. Newport Beach already has renegotiated its contracts with police, fire and other associations to have employees contribute more to their pensions, and more employee contribution increases are planned as contracts come up for renewal.

Neighboring Costa Mesa last month sent notices of possible layoffs to more than 200 employees representing about half its workforce. Costa Mesa is now working to identify which of those positions actually will be eliminated.


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