Garcetti Says He Hopes COVID-19 Financial Burdens Won’t Force City Layoffs
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Mayor Eric Garcetti said today he hopes laying off city employees, including Los Angeles Police Department personnel, will be a last-resort measure, but the city is prepared to do so amid financial struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I hope that (layoffs are) at the very bottom of the list, and our City Administrative Officer (Richard Llewellyn) has asked us … all of our departments to say how will we close this worst-case scenario if there is no help,” Garcetti said.
“The reason why I want layoffs to be the very last thing is it hits our most vulnerable employees and key services.”
The City Council has been mulling ways to reduce potential layoffs or furloughs in the last few months, but that was before the recent spike of COVID-19 cases.
Garcetti said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update Los Angeles is still pleading for federal assistance to help cities recuperate from the economic effects of the pandemic.
Garcetti also announced Los Angeles has begun two initiatives, one of which will provide COVID-19 emergency relief funds to restaurant employees, called Secure Emergency Relief for Vulnerable Employees, or SERVE.
The SERVE program will be funded through the nonprofit, Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, Garcetti said, although he did not say how much money would be put toward the program.
The second is a partnership with T-Mobile to provide free internet hotspot devices for five years to students most in need.
“A report over the summer show that 90% of these at-risk young people could not connect in a way that ensures their engagement to their virtual classrooms,” Garcetti said.
“Attendance is down, F’s are way up, but it isn’t just our children that are failing in school. We are failing them.”
Garcetti also said wait times at Los Angeles COVID-19 testing sites have been reduced to 30 minutes at Dodger Stadium, 15 minutes at some of the other more frequented sites and no wait time at the rest.