Oakland working out details of layoffs

January 27, 2012 9:02:05 PM PST
Oakland leaders are making tough decisions about how many city employees will be laid off. The City Council says there is no choice but to lay off workers because of drastic budget cuts from Sacramento.

Right now city administrators have proposed eliminating 81 positions. The City Council is expected to make decisions on the final number next week so city administrators had to have details hammered down by close of business Friday in preparation for that council meeting.

Over 2,000 pink slips were issued to most of the cities non uniformed employees last week.

This is all because the state cut redevelopment money they used to dole out to cities in order to close gaps in their own budget. It has hit Oakland especially hard because they used existing employees to help manage the money and projects funded by redevelopment dollars.

Friday there was some confusion over about $7.5 million that was mentioned during this week's council meeting. City staffers are trying to decide if some of that money can be used to give those staff that will lose their jobs a paid two weeks notice.

City employee unions have been pushing for the two weeks notice instead of employees just being shown the door on Feb. 2.

"It doesn't mean people won't get laid off, it does mean they'll at least get a decent interval, and a proper notice," Professional and Engineers Union spokesperson Jeffrey Levin said. "It also means that there will be time for a more orderly hand off of the work those people are doing to the people that are staying."

The $7.5 million is redevelopment money the city can use to wind down the projects they already have in progress. It can be used to pay earned leave for city employees and other expenses.

But city staffers made it very clear that the $7.5 million is not new money they just found. It's money they already had budgeted.