Glendale cuts 110 workers

City officials this week warned that it’s going to take longer to trim trees, fix potholes and respond to emails following a reorganization that cuts 110 employees from Glendale’s municipal workforce.

Not since the year 2000 will the workforce have been so lean, officials said during a City Council meeting this week, adding that they hope the community understands the impact to public services.

“This has not been easy. It has not been treated lightly,” said Councilman Dave Weaver. “Drastic steps had to be taken.”

The restructuring will save the city $9 million in its General Fund, which pays for library, police and other city services, and $18 million citywide.

As part of the planned shake-up, which includes retirements and layoffs, the city will lose 140 positions. But after 30 of those are filled, the net loss will be 110.

One hundred seventeen employees are scheduled to take early retirement by Aug. 31.

“We’re not a factory that can automate,” said Councilwoman Laura Friedman, noting that as a service organization, the city’s biggest costs involve labor.

The city also plans to give some employees new duties and titles, with some possibly getting pay raises as they take on more specialized positions. Those changes will cost the city about $54,000 annually.

For example, Traffic and Transportation Administrator Jano Baghdanian and his chief assistant, Tom Mitchell, are both set to retire. The Public Works Department is expected to consolidate their duties, impacting other workloads, according to a city report.

About 23 employees from the Public Works Department plan to retire and seven other positions may be lost by eliminating vacant positions or laying off employees, according to a city report. The department is the second hardest hit by early retirements, preceded by Glendale Water & Power, which is set to lose 34 retiring employees.

City Council members will lose their shared assistant, which Councilman Ara Najarian said will mean it will take longer for those on the dais to respond to emails from the public.

In general, employee salaries and benefits had been increasing over the past three years, but this fiscal year they dropped below 2010 levels.

Last fiscal year, salaries and benefits accounted for $239.1 million in expenditures across all city funds, according to a city report. This year, which began July 1, that dropped to $217.6 million.

“This is going to be a much slimmed-down city,” Friedman said.

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