Many employees spared city’s chopping block

Although Mayor Gavin Newsom proposed layoffs for nearly 500 workers when he unveiled his $6.5 million budget last month, hundreds of positions have since been restored, leaving the number of city employees expected to wind up jobless at less than 200.

Newsom’s budget for this fiscal year, which started July 1, closed a projected $338 million budget deficit, in part by cutting funding for hundreds of unfilled positions within the city government, as well as the proposed layoffs.

More than 300 of the jobs will be spared by shuffling those employees to other “vacant positions within their department” that are still being funded by the budget, according to Micki Callahan, The City’s human resources director.

More positions are expected to be restored based on decisions made by the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, Callahan said.

The Controller’s Office estimated Thursday that at least half of the 182 layoffs will be rescinded.

The list of at-risk positions includes 60 museum guards, three Juvenile Court supervising counselors, three attorneys, three physician specialists and five assistant recreation directors.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who sits on the budget committee, said the revised budget does very little to make structural changes needed to budget the balance in future years.

“We are looking at a deficit [next fiscal year] that is as large if not larger than this year,” Elsbernd said, adding that this year’s budget “borrowed” on future years.

By sidestepping layoffs this year, there was “no question” The City would have to make the tough cuts next year, he said.

“It’s not to save jobs just to save jobs, it’s to save jobs to provide services that are really vital,” said Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, the chair of the budget committee.

Last week, the supervisors’ committee added $430,000 to the budget to restore full-time hours for at least five park gardeners. Numerous positions also were restored in the public health and human services departments.

In mid-June, Newsom’s office announced that it had found funding to restore $9 million in health and human services cuts.

Robert Haaland, political coordinator for the local Service Employees International Union chapter, which represents about 13,000 city employees, said it is not unusual for city officials to make dire predictions that in the end “don’t bear fruit,” and called much of the budget process “gamesmanship.”

On July 22, the full Board of Supervisors will take the first of two votes on the budget, when additional changes are possible.

The elimination of 300 vacant positions saved The City $29.5 million, according to the Mayor’s Budget Office.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Jobs still at risk

Positions in the following classifications are among roughly 182 jobs still threatened by layoffs.

» Accountants

» Assistant recreation directors

» Attorneys

» Business analysts

» Executive secretaries

» Health workers

» Human services managers

» Juvenile Court supervising counselors

» Museum guards

» Physician specialists

» Public Health nurses

» Security guards

» Typists

Source: Mayor’s Office

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