Upset over Mayor Dave Golonski's recent comments about outsourcing city jobs to save money, the Burbank City Employees Assn. political action committee has retracted its election endorsement of the 20-year councilman, calling the idea a "slap in the face."
"Why should [our PAC] support someone that's not supporting us?" asked Clifford Siner, president of the union, which represents roughly 540 current city employees across all departments. "Our people are going above and beyond — they're not just people who come here, do a job, and want to hurry up and get out."
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Outsourcing would also compromise the quality of city services and level of worker commitment, he added.
"If street sweepers were outsourced, they would come in and sweep streets one time then go on their way because they have to go to another city," Siner said. "Our guys go around not once, but twice, sometimes three times because that's the level of service we provide."
Golonski said Monday that while he was disappointed in the union's withdrawal of support, he stands by his idea.
He envisions moving toward outsourcing through attrition, not hiring new employees after existing ones retire. If the city waits to act, it could find itself in a more serious budget crisis in which it will have no choice but to lay off employees, he said.
The city is facing a $1-million budget deficit this coming fiscal year. The deficit is expected to grow over time amid rising costs and sluggish revenue growth.
"I have been committed since Day 1 to making sure we can do this in a way that we don't have to lay off employees," Golonski said. "And if we do it now, we can do it that way, in a way our community will be proud of. If we wait until our financial situation is more of a crisis, then I think it would be worse for our employees."
But Siner thinks the city should be looking at ways to boost tourism and revenue instead. He also noted that union members haven't had a raise in four years.
"We realize the city has had some hard times and we're willing to help do our part, but we want the same consideration in return," Siner said.
The committee has chosen to endorse incumbent David Gordon instead of Golonski, and is continuing to support incumbent Jess Talamantes.
FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story identified Dave Golonski as a city councilman. Golonski is the mayor.