L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa is leaving a gift for the next mayor after him: $100 million in deferred personnel payments. This money, which includes police overtime and early retirement bonuses, was due to be paid. However, with the help of the city council and a mayoral slight of hand, that money won’t come due or be paid until after Villaraigosa leaves office.
The unpaid overtime is added to a bank, where an officer can accrue overtime pay instead of being paid for it immediately. Originally, officers were able to accumulate as much as 96 hours, but now that limit has been raised to 800 hours. Those extra hours are often paid upon retirement, and are paid at the highest compensation level – meaning the short-term fix could amount to long-term budgetary woes.
Also, the move has led some to question whether or not the public has a full sense of the fiscal state of the city.
From the Los Angeles Times:
To weather the Great Recession, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushed thousands of employees out the door at City Hall in what he has described as one of the tougher choices on his watch.
But Villaraigosa has also relied on a second, less understood strategy for keeping the city in the black: postponing at least $100 million in personnel costs until after he leaves office, a Times analysis found.
Working in sync with the City Council, Villaraigosa has delayed paying for such obligations as police overtime, unused sick time, contractually agreed-upon wage hikes and an early retirement program that gave 2,400 employees full pensions five years ahead of schedule.
Read the full article here.