On Monday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a final budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21. The budget addresses a nearly $1 billion projected shortfall by eliminating over 3,200 positions which would result in an estimated 655 layoffs. The lion’s share of these projected layoffs, approximately 400, are in the Sheriff’s Department.
Q: Why are cuts to the Sheriff’s Department so large? Why are most of the projected layoffs in the LASD?
A: Some have speculated that deep cuts to the Sheriff Department are influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement’s call to defund law enforcement departments or that it is the result of political squabbles between Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Board of Supervisors. This is not the case. LASD budget cuts are deeper than other county departments, because the Sheriff’s Department relies more heavily on the revenue sources that have experienced the sharpest declines during the COVID-19 emergency – namely, sales tax and state realignment funds. Other public safety departments that rely heavily on these funding sources – such as Probation, the District Attorney and the Public Defender – are also slated for deep cuts and layoffs.
Q: What is our plan to stop the layoffs?
A: CEO Sachi Hamai has said that the budget represents a “moment in time, not the finish line.” It is important to remember that no layoffs will take effect before October 1. We have time to stop the layoffs! And we have a three-part plan to do just that:
1 – Pass the HEROES Act
Neither the Sheriff, nor the Board of Supervisors, are to blame for LA County’s budget crisis. Of course, it was brought on by the COVID-19 emergency, which has devastated our local economy. But it is also the result of a failure by the federal government to provide fiscal relief to states and local governments. They have spent trillions of dollars to bail out corporations and businesses but have so far failed to provide any significant relief to Los Angeles County. At LA County, we are the frontline responders – public safety, healthcare, social services workers and more – but the federal government has left us out of the stimulus acts. This must change!
The House of Representatives has already passed the HEROES Act, which would provide $1 trillion of relief to state and local governments, and would wipe out all of the layoffs in LA County’s budget. Unfortunately, so far, the Republican-controlled US Senate has failed to act and is not scheduled to take up the issue until they return from recess on July 20. In the meantime, we will turn up the heat! (See below for what you can do to help.)
2 – Shared Sacrifice
At the beginning of June, SEIU 721’s Bargaining Policy Committee (BPC) reached an agreement with the LA County to temporarily suspend the county’s matching contributions to the Horizons deferred compensation plan. This one temporary contract change could save the county enough money to avert most, if not all, of the layoffs. However, the agreement was contingent on ALL county unions agreeing to share in the sacrifice. So far, the other county unions, including ALADS (Sheriff’s Deputies) and PPOA (Lieutenants and Captains) have not reached agreement. But that can change in the coming weeks. If and when it does, we can stop the layoffs even if Congress fails to act!
3 – Chop from the Top!
Now is not the time to be fighting over where to cut in the LA County budget. We cannot afford to take the pressure off Congress. With one single vote, they could make it unnecessary to cut anywhere at all! There’s nothing our enemies in Congress would like better than to sit back and watch LA County fighting over cuts. We won’t let them off the hook!
But if Congress fails to act by mid-August, and no relief is forthcoming, we shift our focus to the Board of Supervisors. They must pass a supplemental budget in September that “chops from the top” or “cuts the fat, not the lean.” SEIU Local 721 is preparing an alternative LA County budget plan that identifies cost savings – without layoffs or other adverse impacts on front line workers.
Q: What can I do to help?
A: The best thing we can do right now is to turn up the heat on our US Senators to pass the HEROES Act. In the coming weeks, we will participate in a national campaign to bombard their offices with phone calls, post cards, emails, video clips, social media posts, text messages – whatever it takes! Join us by texting VOICES to 31996. We’ve got big plans in the works and you won’t want to miss out.
We’re in this together – and, together, we win!
Im ok with this. With overtime those guys average one hundred fifty thousand a year for even new cops. Why shoud i give up any of my measly fifty thou per year to help some newly hired sheriff. Im also for defunding the police department. Most all of layoffs will be with them sounds ok to me.
You think deputies will be laid off? Absolutely not!! No, it is the people way at the bottom, aka minorities, clerks, custodians, cashiers, records, etc. This does nothing to help the communities in need, this harms them. It is sad that you are willing to throw your fellow union members under the bus.
We need to fight all layoffs by any means necessary!! I am from the mentality of “today is them, tomorrow it’s me” We cannot allow layoffs to happen as a union.
Many 721 members were willing to give up their match to prevent layoffs. The sheriff’s union was not willing to agree to give up their match to save layoffs for other county employees. Now that the budget was released and layoffs hit them the hardest how does their union feel now? I’m for defunding and rebuilding police departments. How much money on average does the county pay out annually in lawsuits and settlements on behalf of sheriff’s? Plus a rumored billion dollar budget on top of that. Yeah let’s agree to pay cuts for low wage workers to save them.
I hope that the Sheriff’s Union agress to freezing the match. If not, they are going to take the most layoffs. I really want something worked out for everyone…..
Its sad, frustrating, and scary.
Too late. Now I’m having second thoughts on freezing mine like they did. I now change my vote to NO match. They couldn’t come to an agreement on saving other county employees before they knew they would be the hardest hit. Why should someone making 40k to a beat cops $150k give up anything to help the people that hesitated to help us. Nearly a 100 million in lawsuits alone last year in addition to 3.3 billion budget. Also a terrible track record with community relations and misconduct that hasn’t been corrected. Gangster deputies beating inmates and most recently the… Read more »
Correction 201919 budget was 3.3 billion. So if cuts need to made, doesn’t it make sense the Lionshare should be there?
655 layoffs? I am surprised its not more. This union sucks.
If you think any deputies will be laid off because of this, you are wrong. Those in trouble will be the clerks, nursing assistants, custodians, record keepers, general maintenence, welders, parking lot security, etc. Jobs that have typically been held by MINORITIES! Hopefully, we as a union can help prevent this.
Sheriffs are not going to get layed off. Hours of overtime, new hires, and new equipment cuts; yes! Rest of the county has hiring freeze and they still want to hire more deputies. Why is SEIU worried about sheriff layoffs when they have their own unions. Sheriffs have constantly gotten everything they have asked for in past including cost of living. Now that they face some budget cuts they want us to help when they never backed us. The hell with that! Defund them and they can make due with the budget they have.
I’m a civilian employee and definitely not a deputy. I work for LASD and I’m part of SEIU Local 721 who pay Union dues. So you saying that the Union shouldn’t help us?