GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
Send us your stories, ideas, and information. Insiders welcome - confidentiality guaranteed.

stories along The Way

Thursday, October 1, 2009

City Council passes E-RIP, will a cascade of retirements follow?

On Sept 30th, the City Council passed an only slightly modified version of the E-RIP/Golden Handshakes deal that, in reality, costs more and only slightly delays the City's fiscal emergency. It also relies on the voluntary spontaneous retirement of more than 2000 of the City's most experienced workers.

Basically, the tax paying public is staring down a cannon loaded with staggering pension costs that taxpayers must cover, and the loss of an unprecedented number of skilled, experienced workers citywide. This will no doubt heavily affect City parks who rely on the hands-on experience of many kinds of workers to make up for poor parks leadership and antiquated communications, procedures, and processes. All of these administration problems are so incredibly common across most of LA City's departments that, quite honestly, it is amazing anything gets done at all by the City.

Hold onto your wallets, ladies and gentlemen, it's going to be a painful ride which is likely to be followed by Citywide bankruptcy if nothing changes.

For those who can stomach it, here's the version of E-RIP passed on Tuesday (from

Written by Roy Stone, City Librarian's Guild
Thursday, 01 October 2009

Dear Guild Members,

I have been waiting for some definite information and facts to send but then there was another meeting to review the proposal changes and another to clarify the actual ordinance. Therefore, most of the rumors that are going around are not likely to be accurate. THERE WILL BE MEETINGS SCHEDULED TO REVIEW THE PROPOSAL, SO WATCH FOR DETAILS SOON.
1. The recent review of the cost for the Early Retirement Incentive Plan (ERIP) caused the City Council and the Coalition of L.A. City Unions to modify parts of the proposal that was ratified by us and the other unions in July. An agreement was reached (hammered out) and an ordinance was passed by City Council on September 18. TO SAVE JOBS, TO SAVE SALARIES, TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO RETIRE, AND TO SAVE SERVICES THIS RESULTED IN A FEW SERIOUS CHANGES TO THE AGREEMENT. On September 30, the City Council unanimously passed a slightly revised ordinance that basically spelled out the details that had not been included in the previous ordinance. This starts the 30 day cycle.
2. Furlough time: While the Mayors plan was for 208 hours for this fiscal year, City Council and the Coalition agreed to 59 hours through the end of this fiscal year. There was an early concept of involving holiday hours in this proposal, but the Librarians’ Guild was very instrumental in removing the holiday consideration. Therefore, THE ACTUAL FURLOUGH WILL BE 3.5 HOURS IN EACH OF THE REMAINING PAY PERIODS, to the end of the fiscal year. HOLIDAYS REMAIN AS FULLY PAID. We know this is not easy, but the alternative was disastrous for you and a great many other workers and families; the Mayor’s plan was a minimum of a 1000 layoffs, and approximately 12 furlough hours per pay period(3 days per month), and those remaining trying to maintain some semblance of service, to note just a few of the problems.
3. Increase in retirement contribution: Since the plan was still under funded, it seemed reasonable to have those receiving a retirement benefit of additional service or age credit have their base annual retirement amount reduced by 1%. Those still working will have their contribution rate increased to 7%, rather than the 6.75% that had been agreed to.
4. CORRECTIONS: Security Officers had heard that their uniform/boot allowance was being postponed…this is not correct: there is no change to the uniform/boot allowance. For everyone: There will be no change to accrued sick or vacation time payments, however it will not be paid until August; retirement incentive bonus money will not be paid until the next fiscal year also.
5. The city is in dire financial straits there is no question about this. The agreement reached is not easy for anyone. City Council and the Coalition leadership agonized over these changes for over a week in very tough negotiations. Obviously a lot of what was accomplished was to get the city through this fiscal year. How do we know the city won’t come back in six months with more financial problems? The Coalition will be working with the CAO to regularly review the budget so there will not be any surprises and we can present proposals for the city to get through this time. When 2000 people have retired the city WILL BE IN A MUCH BETTER FINANCIAL POSITION.
6. For the second time in just a few months we are asking you to look at a proposal, look at the alternatives, look at your co-workers and decide what is best for everyone. But the details of the proposal are still being put into an official form by the CAO, so as soon as a document is available we will send email it.
7. Library hours: We know there is a problem currently and an even larger one looming when people start retiring. There is nothing to do yet, but as soon as we get to the next level the Guild will be requesting to Meet and Confer with Management about the situation. The same goes for transfers and acting positions, etc.
8. Ballots: Preparations are being made, but the printing needs to wait until the documents have been completed by the CAO
9. If you have concerns not addressed please email them.

Sorry this is so long; and I am sure that I missed a few things that are important, but these are the highlights.
Roy Stone