By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
The third time was not the charm for 67 Westminster employees.
The City Council voted 4-0 in a special session Thursday (June 7) to cut 67 city jobs as part of the city’s Fiscal Stabilization Plan. The layoffs will take effect July 7.
This was the council’s third vote on the issue. The council agreed to table the issue for further discussion on April 30. Then the council deadlocked on May 23.
“This has been before us three times,” councilmember Andy Quach said before the vote. “A decision needs to be made so people can move on and plan for the future.”
With the elimination of its redevelopment agency, Westminster faces a $10.4 million deficit for the next fiscal year beginning July 1.
In total, the plan will cut $7.3 million from the deficit: $3.2 million for staff reductions and another $4.1 million in various expense cuts and revenue enhancements.
The plan still leaves the city $3.1 million in the red. The city has over $21 million in reserves at its disposal.
Since 2008 the city has used reserves to help cover an annual average deficit of $1.5 million. Dipping into reserves was supposed to be a temporary stopgap until the economy turned around.
But with local tax revenues still not keeping up with expenses, waiting for financial alleviation is not an option, councilmember Tyler Diep said.
“This city will be pushed to the brink of either higher taxes or the elimination of services,” he added.
Twenty-nine full-time employees and 38 part-time workers will be laid off, representing 12 percent of the full-time staff and 26 percent of part-time personnel. Since 2007, the city has reduced is full-time workforce by 27 percent.
The city’s director of community development position, held by Doug McIsaac, will be eliminated. McIsaac currently oversees the planning, housing, building and code enforcement divisions.
The heads of the planning, housing and building divisions will report directly to the assistant city manager under the new plan. The code enforcement manager and three part-time code enforcement officers will also be laid off. The two remaining code enforcement officers will report to the traffic sergeant.
No police officers will be laid off, though four open police positions remain unfilled. Also, 20 civilian WPD employees will be laid off, including the department’s civilian investigator and the chief’s secretary.