By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
“Preliminary layoff notices have been sent out,” he said.
Waller or the council could not get into specifics because he had not yet met with union representatives, according to city attorney Bill Jones. Meetings were set to begin the next day.
Although notices were sent out to specific employees, some may have the right to pass the layoff to another employee with less seniority.
The mayor and the council stayed mostly silent on the matter and took no official action. Waller placed the blame on Sacramento and said the city was not alone.
“The layoffs are a direct result of the state’s dissolving of redevelopment agencies,” he said. “This is not unique to Westminster.”
But Westminster in particular has been hit hard because it relied heavily on redevelopment funds in the recent past.
The Westminster Redevelopment Agency paid for much of the city’s new police station, including some salaries. Many city housing and roadwork projects were paid for by the RDA as well.
Waller said that public safety remains the city’s top priority.
“We will continue to provide the responsible level of service this community deserves,” he said.
Waller’s comments came on the heels of complaints of overspending from two concerned Westminster residents.
Gary Burton and Dale Bradbury complained about the Mayor’s Office having a part-time assistant with the city about to lay off employees.
“We’re getting ready to lay off 48 employees,” Burton said. “I think one of those employees should be this assistant.”
Mayor Margie Rice pointed out that it is not known if the employee in question is included in the layoffs.
Burton asked if it was, but Jones told him the city could not yet specify names or positions.
“Legally we can’t at this point in time tell you who’s been given notice,” Jones said.
Rice said the position was necessary and reminded Burton it was only part time.
“She works 10 hours a week for all of the council,” said Rice. “If you have a working mayor, they certainly need someone to help them write letters or answer complaints from citizens.”
Councilmember Tyler Diep defended the council’s decision to hire an assistant, which he said was made in 2009 with no complaints. But he said he liked that people were following the city closely.
“I’m glad there are concerned citizens keeping an eye on what we’re trying to do,” said Diep. “The city’s been very transparent and we have nothing to hide.”