Update 9-16-09: Discussions on E-RIP went until midnight at City Hall last night with no decisions. Interestingly, a City Hall insider made the following observation via anonymous comment on another blog: "Seen having lunch today: (Ari) Swiller, AV(illaraigosa), Parke (Skelton), (Eric) Hacopian, (Julie) Butcher (of SEIU), (Brian) D'Arcy (of IBEW). You know some bad sh-t is going down if this bunch is all together." Indeed! Swiller, Hacopian, and Skelton advise everyone in town and run every election in town. You also might recognize Swiller from another interesting Zahniser investigative report published yesterday about the DWP being trumped on buying land in Kern County by Swiller using insider information from the Mayor. Word is that negotiations/discussions on E-RIP resumed at 9am this morning and City Council will resume session at noon today. -Green Stealth
UPDATE: it's almost 4:30pm and after two hours of public comment, City Council has been in closed session on the E-RIP issue for almost five hours. Before Council went behind closed doors, Zahniser reports that Mayor Villaraigosa threatened to veto any Golden Handshakes passed by the council, punctuating the completion of his flip-flop. A ton of people are probably very frustrated with the City's limited access to viewing and listening in on this meeting. Councilphone has been busy since before 10 am , and the City's web broadcast has been very effectively trashed by all the hits. Meanwhile, for those who did manage to get a line on Councilphone, we're listening to the Board of Public Works welcome new appointee Andrea Alarcon to the money trough. Andrea is Councilman Richard Alarcon's daughter, and she takes the place of Councilman Tony Cardenas's brother on the board. Unlike almost all other City boards which are populated by volunteers, board members on the Board of Public Works are paid six figures per year.
David Zahniser, probably the last real reporter at the LA Times actively reporting City Hall, is reporting that Villaraigosa is flip-flopping on the Golden Handshakes deal.... finally.... after a near all-out revolt by the CAO and Bernard Parks' Budget and Finance committee. The City Council vote is to take place sometime today on the package, and it looks like the Mayor can't win this one, so Antonio's chickening-out. Great news for LA taxpayers!
What does this mean for LA City parks? Potentially a great deal. As a direct result, the huge loss of experienced workers will probably not take place. This is obviously a good thing. If the Mayor's expensive kowtowing to SEIU was passed, that coupled with a completely loony management would have meant that Recreation and Parks could have suffered the single greatest loss of accumulated job experience in its history. Yay for the parks!
But not so fast. The questionable managerial style of Assistant General Manager Kevin Regan is still firmly entrenched at the DRP, while looming is possible City bankruptcy. Less employees will be eligible for full retirement, but most of the competent veterans will still want to get away from Regan if they have any self-respect remaining. Complicating their decisions is the potential bankruptcy. If Los Angeles declares BK, then employees become creditors in a long line of creditors that the City owes, essentially. Their packages are going to be renegotiated, to their probable detriment. The question becomes whether the renegotiation is more detrimental if one is already retired, or soon to retire. Such is the nature of what experienced DRP employees may be facing. Bad news for employees.
Regardless, Tony and his 15 fiefs will need to lay off workers and furlough everyone else now. Unless SEIU and the Mayor opt for yet another misdirection to delay dealing with the debt for a few more months. Furloughs and layoffs will impact what parks services we still have left. So bad for the parks!
Where this all shakes out remains to be seen. Meanwhile, keep lobbying the people who are supposed to be representing the public to support our parks!