City issues preliminary layoff notices to 37

The city began issuing 37 preliminary layoff notices this week in an effort to close a $15.4-million budget gap for next fiscal year, which may offer yet another rough economic ride.

The actual number of layoffs is expected to drop as the city tries to convince more employees to retire early, an option that 55 eligible workers have taken so far. Officials hope 30 more will follow, according to a city report.

Glendale could save $9 million if all of the expected retirements come through. But even with 85 retirements, city officials said there will be layoffs.

In the layoff notices that started going out on Thursday, the Community Development Department took the biggest hit with a slated 14.

The Community Services & Parks Department was to follow with eight layoff notices. Five were planned for public works employees and another four were headed to Glendale Water & Power, according to the city.

The Finance Department and library system each had two layoff notifications planned, with one each headed for the Human Resources and the Information Services departments.

City spokesman Tom Lorenz said the number of layoffs should decline as the financial picture becomes clearer. By August, he said city officials expect the actual number of layoffs to be between 12 and 16.

Lorenz pointed out that only the positions will be eliminated.

“The individual is a different story,” he said.

Many employees have so-called “bumping rights,” where they would be transferred to another department to replace workers who perform similar duties but who have less seniority, Lorenz said.

The latest round of notices comes after six layoffs earlier this year that were the result of the state dissolving local redevelopment. Those workers did not have bumping rights, Lorenz said.

Nearly half of the city’s $15.4-million deficit is due to the loss of redevelopment revenues, city officials say.

In addition to losing funding for salaries and benefits, the city could also lose tens of millions of dollars it lent to its now-defunct Redevelopment Agency over the years, depending on how the state Department of Finance rules.

The city also plans to reduce the multimillion-dollar gap by increasing some fees, including a new $5,808 development fee for environmental review work and a 20% fee charged to delinquent accounts.

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