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L.A. controller warns of City Hall’s aging workforce

City Controller Ron Galperin, seen in 2013, has warned city leaders about the aging workforce at City Hall.

City Controller Ron Galperin, seen in 2013, has warned city leaders about the aging workforce at City Hall.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles city employees are getting up there in years.

Controller Ron Galperin warned about the aging, or the “greying” as he called it, of the workforce in a letter to city leaders on Wednesday.

By 2018, 46% of civilian employees will be eligible for retirement. The letter warns the city could suffer a massive brain drain should those employees decide to leave their posts.

“While we’re in danger of losing the expertise that so many of our experienced employees have developed over the course of their careers, we also have the chance to develop skills and mentoring programs to ensure that the city workforce is equipped to meet the needs of tomorrow,” Galperin said.

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Most of Los Angeles’ civilian employees are eligible to retire at age 55 if they have at least 10 years of service, though the average retirement age for the workforce is 62. (Police officers and firefighters typically retire at 57 and 55, respectively.)

There are five city departments where more than half of the employees will be eligible for retirement in three years: Building and Safety, Economic and Workforce Development, General Services, Information Technology and Library.

Departments should engage in succession planning that allows longtime employees to share their knowledge and mentor younger workers, according to the controller. He also suggested tailoring benefits packages to younger employees. Those could include high-deductible healthcare plans and some element of merit-based pay. Currently, city workers receive raises and bonuses that have already been negotiated into labor contracts.

With 41,000 full-time employees, the city of Los Angeles is larger than any private employer within the city. Last year, the average city employee made $78,139 before any overtime or bonuses were factored in.

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