Our Leaders downtown, having committed themselves to cutting 4,000 jobs out of next year’s budget, are now faced with the unpleasant job of identifying which jobs to cut. Logically, they should begin by cutting jobs that don’t reduce the services Angelenos have come to expect.
Please Focus On This Fact:
Some city employees are hired, not to serve the public, but to serve the officials who appointed them!
Under the current City budget, the City Council has position authority for 108 positions. Moreover, the Councils appropriation for Salaries is $21,422,904. Do the math, and you may be led to conclude that the average Council employee is paid an annual salary of $198,360.22. Clearly, that appropriation is intended to fund a much larger Council workforce.
In fact, according to an official report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the Los Angeles City Council actually employs more than three times as many employees as its position authority may seem to indicate. All told, the Council maintains a workforce of 334 exempt employees, with 271 of them appointed on an “as needed” basis.
Here’s what we know about those 271 exempt, as-needed employees. Nearly 200 of them are called Council Aides. We know they’re appointed by individual Councilmembers. We know they’re paid with public funds.. And we know that some of those Aides are very well-paid. For example, Council Aides in Pay Grade IV are paid from $43,838 to $65,660; Aides in Pay Grade V are paid from $57,503 to $79,311; and Aides in Pay Grade VI are paid from $71,472 to $93,379.
We also know Council Aides are expected to serve the Councilmember who appointed them. And we know they are accountable only to that Councilmember. But we don’t know anything about the Aides themselves, or about the work they are assigned to do. We don’t know how they were selected. We don’t know if they were tested, if they were given a physical examination, if their background was checked, or if they are related to the Councilmember who appointed them.
Moreover, we don’t know anything about the Aides’ job performance. We don’t even know if they show up for work regularly. Are newly appointed Aides required to complete a probationary period? Are they allowed to drive a City vehicle? If so, are they required to have a valid Driver’s License? Are they required to be insured? Do they qualify for home-garaged vehicles? Do they qualify for Workers’ Compensation? Is their work supervised? Is their performance ever evaluated?
It’s true that exempt employees are used throughout the City organization. The Mayor’s Office, for example, maintains its own army of such employees. Together, City departments hire 2000 of them. And while exempt employees are all paid with public funds, Angelenos have no way of knowing if the work those employees are assigned to do serves any legitimate public purpose.
Thus, it would seem appropriate to ask that officials who plan to cut 4000 jobs out of next year’s budget begin by taking a fresh look at exempt employees. And before cutting employees who serve the public, cut those exempt employees who serve only the officials who appointed them.
It’s time, Angelenos, to make your voices heard on this important issue!