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LA To Furlough 15,000 Civilian Employees In First Post-COVID Budget Plan

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Roughly 15,000 civilian employees of the city of Los Angeles will be furloughed under a budget plan released Monday by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The 2020-21 fiscal year budget includes plans to furlough non-sanitation and public safety employees for 26 days as the city faces steep revenue shortfalls from the coronavirus shutdown.

The furloughs are equivalent to about 10% of employees' pay.

Emphasizing that budget cuts would largely spare critical services, such as police and fire protection and other services that "keep our neighborhoods safe, our streets clean, our families housed and our children and seniors fed," other departments wouldn't be as fortunate.

"Soon, many departments will have to operate at sharply reduced strength,'' Garcetti said during his State of the City speech, adding the proposals he's made are not easy. "Cherished programs will lose funding, while recreational and community services will see significant changes. We'll have less to spend on removing graffiti and caring for our urban forest."

The city expects much of the money it has spent on the response to the coronavirus to be reimbursed by the federal government, Matt Szabo, Garcetti's deputy chief of staff, said, although there have been no plans released for any federal bailout plan for cities.

In all, the furloughs are projected to save about $139 million, according to Szabo.

In an address Sunday evening, Garcetti said L.A. currently has a higher unemployment rate than it did at the peak of the 2008 recession.

There was no timeline immediately given for when the mayor would ease closures citywide due to the pandemic.

The budget must be adopted by the City Council by June 30, according to state law.

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