By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
A short-handed Westminster City Council on May 9 cut some management and administrative salaries, saving the city about $209,000.
Effective July 1, managers, administrators and confidential employees not represented by a union or employee group will take a 3 percent pay cut. Fifty-five employees will be affected. Of those 55, 15 making $100,000 or more a year will also take 10 furlough days each year, equating to another 4 percent cut.
Councilmember Tyler Diep brought the cuts to the council as an urgent item.
“We’re in a fiscal crisis that requires our attention,” he said. “This is a sizeable savings but it’s also a symbolic act.”
The council is not only asking those in management to take cuts, but is also calling on the rank-and-file to follow suit, Diep added.
Most city employees are represented by the Westminster Municipal Employees Association. Police employees are part of the Westminster Police Officers’ Association.
The council cannot change the salaries of represented employees while a contract is in place. Representatives would first have to agree to renegotiate.
“The council will honor those contracts,” Diep said. “But if everyone takes home a smaller paycheck, we can save more employees.”
Layoffs were not officially or directly addressed, in part because Rice was out of town and councilmember Frank Fry was home recovering from surgery. Both are expected to be at the May 23 meeting.
Westminster faces a potential $10.4 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. A “Fiscal Stabiliaztion Plan” that includes the layoffs could save $6.5 million. The city has over $21 million in reserves but is losing almost $30,000 for each day it’s in the red.
The council has shown a reluctance to even consider tax increases, especially in light of possible state tax hikes. Two ballot measures would raise the state sales and income tax.
“It’s better to reduce staff salary than to put more burden on the public,” Ta said.