Layoff Plan Monopolizes City Budget Hearing

Union leaders blast proposal to cut 67 workers.

The looming layoff of 67 city employees was the center of debate at the City Council’s budget hearing Tuesday evening.

In a presentation given to a packed chamber council, City Manager Jack Schnirman proposed to layoff 25 full-time employees and 42 part-time workers in effort to close a $10 million deficit and balance the budget for fiscal year 2012-13 starting July 1. He projects the layoffs will save the city $2.5 million each fiscal year.

“We’ve got to balance the budget,” Schnirman said.

While these declared “first round” of layoffs will impact employees in several departments, from fire to sanitation to beach maintenance, some people contend that the reductions should be across the board. CSEA President John Mooney noted that not a single CSEA worker - who will bear the brunt of the layoffs - was on Schnirman’s chart showing a list of the 25 highest salaried positions.

“You cannot balance the budget on the backs of people making $8 an hour that are the lowest paid workers for the City of Long Beach,” Mooney said about the ongoing negotiations between workers and city officials. “... Everybody has to be at the table and everybody has to share.”

Other of Schnirman’s charts showed that CSEA staffing levels increased from 205 in 2005 to 241 last year, and that the total number of city employees went up from 1,282 in 2004 to 1,624 in 2011 as the city’s population has declined 6 percent since 2000. As an example, he highlighted the 207 lifeguards that were hired last year compared to 158 who were hired in 2004.

“Last year alone we saw a tremendous hiring of lifeguards,” he said. “That’s unsustainable.”

But Councilman John McLaughlin contested this example, noting that lifeguard staffing has increased due to Nassau County requiring more lifeguards to man each station throughout the beach season.

“It’s not an inflated number, they’re not falling over each another,” McLaughlin said. “… So that number is not right.”

The city’s proposed $87.9 million budget represents a 4.1 percent tax levy increase and an 11.9 percent deficit reduction surcharge aimed at helping to close the deficit. Toward that end, the city must also generate $7 million in personnel savings.

Schnirman said further staff reductions could be avoided if employees pay a higher percentage of their health care contributions, through wage freezes and other steps.

“These things can save money and quite frankly save jobs,” he said.

The lifeguard union has already taken a wage freeze and a reduction in guaranteed hours, the city manager said, and he expressed disappointment that only 10 CSEA workers, fewer than expected, took an early retirement incentive that has so far saved the city about $360,000.

“Those would have been additional savings,” he said.

While Schnirman said that staff reductions would not diminish city services, others begged to differ, such as the paid firefighters, five of who will lose their jobs. Firefighter Sam Pinto said that loss of manpower would negatively impact safety in regard to response times in emergency situations.

“There’s definitely circumstances where services will be diminished if we do lay off these five firefighters,” Pinto said.

The  “elephant in the room,” as some called it, are the police department’s salaries and overtime expenses. One of Schnirman’s charts showed that a police lieutenant last year made the most money, $228,000 in salary and overtime. Councilman Michael Fagen encouraged the city manager to take a closer look at the police overtime line in the budget.

“We’ve done a very good job of tightening overtime controls, yet we still budget the same $1.1 million that was budgeted in previous years,” Fagen said.

Kenny Apple, president of the Long Beach Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told Patch last week that the police department has sustained six retirements over the past year and that the city has not yet indication that they would be replaced.

“The PBA firmly believes that any further reduction of the force utilizing layoffs would be entirely inappropriate and has the potential to jeopardize the level of services and safety currently dedicated to the citizens of Long Beach,” Apple said.

The city will hold a second budget hearing on May 22.

Courtney May 17, 2012 at 08:12 PM
You sound ridiculous at the end-regarding the 5 firefighters, they DID have jobs elsewhere and LEFT those jobs to work for Long Beach. They had to take physical and written tests, go through a training academy, and left others jobs and now are being thrown out on the street again.
Long Beach Truth May 17, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Candygram for Mongo May 17, 2012 at 08:27 PM
yes - please demonstrate. Need to alleviate the pollutions.
holdenon May 17, 2012 at 10:51 PM
i didnt say anything about 5 firefighters. my dad went to college and to vietnam and lost his jobs. never fired. laid off. that is life, though, if no money to pay you. sorry. we can;t pay everyone.
Fred Barnes May 17, 2012 at 10:59 PM
agreed. that's why mooney can't even afford to live in long beach. he can't afford the taxes to pay for this.
Bing May 17, 2012 at 11:16 PM
anything but awesome - I thought you and your lawyer were sobbing not to be sued last time you thought this was funny....CAn you just pedal yourself out of long beach...please shower first though.
bretttim May 17, 2012 at 11:22 PM
awesome - nobody would ever make that assumption about you would they
JP Ashcroft May 18, 2012 at 05:43 AM
I didn't have time to read each psoting but are you aware of the following: The Police and Firemen :according to the City Coouncil, do not pay into their health care!! That is worth $8,000 to $18,000 per cop and is only going higher. Why are they still receiving this perk? Ask the City Manager.......431-1000
Fred Barnes May 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM
the fire contract says city will pay premiums and reimburse all copays. prob same for other contracts. this is unheard of even in union agreements outside LB. and medical (and pension) is the biggest, long term issue. (besides too much money, too much ot, too many promotions to get too much money) . call city hall and email them now!!!!!
DR. Jay May 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM
http://longbeach.patch.com/articles/city-layoffs/media_attachments/edit?upload_started=1337343414&is_permitted=true A Photo of salaries
DR. Jay May 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM
The are Elite that is why!!!!
Jenna goldberg May 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Why is the mulligan girl still working for the city? Making $75k hiding out in city clerk office. Is it because uncle Steve has protected her? If thy position was eliminated 4 part time employees could be saved. Why???
LBMom May 18, 2012 at 02:09 PM
At the City Council meeting it was revealed that the City didn't pursue 2 grants in the amount of $250,000 EACH that were secured by Skeols and Weisenberg for the crumbling Rec. Dept. (one for turf field; one for spray sprinklers in parks). Didn't bother to follow thru?? Don't know the process but that is real $$. Anyone know?
Fred Barnes May 18, 2012 at 02:09 PM
because every golfer needs a mulligan? i think there are 4 mulligans on the city payroll, along with multiple radins, canners, etc, etc, etc.
Fred Barnes May 18, 2012 at 02:14 PM
there are many lifeguards. it's not about the 2 per beach, it's about the others that are just on the payroll or hanging out at headquarters or garage. ask chief paul proivately
Fred Barnes May 18, 2012 at 03:27 PM
mr. mooney can't even afford to live here. he's in baldwin, where he doesn;t have to pay this city tax
DR. Jay May 18, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Steve Kohut, is friends with Mike Zapson who hand picked the city manager that's why.. The Assistant city manager is from brookhaven, she came with Uncle Jack. She also was giving a $25,000.00 raise as well. We are broke so let's un fasten the seat belts. Mulligans wife is the niece of King Kohut...
DR. Jay May 18, 2012 at 05:06 PM
LB Mom Jim Hennessey seems to have all of the city of LB info ask that question on his blog.
Jenna goldberg May 18, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Now didn't the new administration speak of not hiring friend and family? Why do they continue to lie? Is it true her boss is her aunt? Kohuts wife? OMG! And we are in an fiscal crisis that is probably a lie as well. I don't believe their numbers are true just like their transparentlxy and no friends and family hiring arguments....
Lori May 18, 2012 at 05:56 PM
You seem to know a lot about her 'Jenna' - did you work at the City? "My neighbors are going to lose their jobs and thats going to help the long beach economy?" That is a quote from your other post - so your neighbors can't lose their jobs but she can? and by your reasoning - if we eliminate the positon of City Manager - we can save 9 part time jobs - and Police Commissioner - 10 jobs, Beach Maintenance supervisor - 8 jobs, Sanitation Supervisor, 6 jobs and so on.. What makes her livelihood less important than your neighbors? A personal vendetta or because you said so? They fired her husband but I am glad you feel so strongly about getting rid of her as well....maybe - just maybe - she is qualified? No....of course not - right 'Jenna?'
Brendan May 18, 2012 at 06:27 PM
The CSEA is loaded with the lowest of the low when it comes to skills and the highest of the high when it comes to union thuggery. Good.
Candygram for Mongo May 18, 2012 at 06:29 PM
No - we are in a fiscal crisis alright. Duh
DR. Jay May 18, 2012 at 11:35 PM
The editor deleted it Lol
Neutron May 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Where did all the postings go? Mr. Kellard?
DR. Jay May 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM
This is what Mr. Sofield told us during the debates: http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/378907_243831775679247_100001572786270_692330_702233609_n.jpg
DR. Jay May 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Here is the Letter Fagen write to the CSEA Liar: http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/317297_231676330228125_100001572786270_658474_1096501554_n.jpg
Brendan May 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Love the typo in there...hilarious that this guy is a "leader" and he can't write a letter properly.
DR. Jay May 21, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Brendan how do you feel about the situation that Long Beach Is In Now ? What would you do if you were the president on the Council?
bob May 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Get RID IF THE OVERPAID and OVER HARRASSING COPS!!! We don’t need a cop on on every third light waiting to pull drivers over trying to get to work or home while every other light in Long Beach is RED. Long Beach intentionally aggravates drivers by purposely desynchronizing all of its traffic lights. This makes people late and in a rush, and then the COPS move in for the cities cash cow. It’s also is a big waste of gas money because start and stops every two blocks. And I agree with the BAR problem. Why should we pay for police protection of thousands of outsiders to stay up until 4: am and hear extreme noise coming from the bars? Get rid of the COPS get rid of the BARS (yes on the west end) and lets lower our taxes and take out community back!!!
DR. Jay May 24, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Well said Bob


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