LA’s parks department could lose 341 vacant jobs under a new budget cut

(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

LA’s parks department could lose 341 vacant jobs under a new budget cut plan

LA Politics, Home News, California Politics

David Zahniser

March 29, 2024

A plan to eliminate nearly 2,000 unfilled jobs in the city of Los Angeles would cut especially deep into the Department of Recreation and Parks, resulting in the elimination of 341 positions at that agency, according to an analysis released Thursday.

City Manager Matt Szabo, the city’s top budget official, provided his recommended list of 1,974 vacant positions to be eliminated as part of a larger strategy to eliminate a looming budget deficit. Of that total, more than 17% would come from the city’s parks department, which maintains Griffith Park, Elysian Park and hundreds of other open spaces.



14%, or about 280 positions, would be eliminated at the Bureau of Sanitation, which conducts cleanups at homeless encampments and removes large items from the city’s fringes. More than 11% would come from the Bureau of Street Services, which repairs streets and sidewalks, while 5% of the vacant positions, or 105 positions, would come from the Department of Transportation.

Eliminating these positions would save more than $155 million over the 2024-2024 period.


It is the 25th fiscal year, Szabo said in his report. Because they are already vacant, the cuts would have a “relatively limited impact” on services, the report said.

Asked about the proposal, an aide to Mayor Karen Bass said her upcoming budget, due out next month, will “prioritize the services residents need” and “put the city on a path to more sustainable finances.”

“Right now we’re talking about vacant positions, some of which have been vacant for years,” said Bass spokesman Zach Seidl.

Bass has pledged to ensure that police officers, firefighters and garbage truck drivers are excluded from the cuts. Szabo’s proposal calls for the elimination of 91 positions in the Los Angeles Police Department, including


9-1-1 dispatchers and a dozen lab technicians at the scene.

The city would save nearly $25 million by making cuts


recreation and parks courses, including dozens of maintenance positions, the report said.

The proposal to reduce the number of open positions has raised concerns both inside and outside City Hall. Michael Schneider, founder of the advocacy group Streets for All, said he worries the cuts could cause new delays in repairing streets and sidewalks. “Our unsafe streets cost the city money in lawsuits every year. No one seems to take that into account,” he said.

Szabo has been advocating for the cuts for weeks, saying they are needed at a time when the mayor and City Council are giving, or are expected to give, raises to police officers, firefighters and civilian workers represented by the Coalition of LA City Unions. . The police increases have already been approved. The coalition agreement will be voted on next month.

Last week, Szabo reported that the city has overspent by $288 million so far this year, with police and fire departments accounting for about half of the overruns. At the same time, the city has levied lower-than-expected taxes on real estate sales, hotel stays and business operations.

The cost-cutting proposal also comes amid a serious labor shortage in the city government. If Bass and the council approve the reductions, the city will still be left with 1,625 vacancies, including 43 in the parks department, this week’s report said.

Even after the cuts, the LAPD will have more than 150 9-1-1 operator positions that remain unfilled, Szabo said.

Times staff writer Rachel Uranga contributed to this report.


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