Long Beach council mulling layoffs for police

LONG BEACH — The Long Beach city council will tomorrow consider eliminating the jobs of some public safety personnel to help close a looming $18.5 million budget hole, it was reported today.

The city is still waiting to hear from nine public employees unions, to see if employees will forgo promised pay raises for a second straight year. Even if the cutbacks are agreed to, 27 police officers would be laid off, some fire stations would be left unstaffed for periods of time, and other major cuts would have to be made, city officials told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

But if public employees reject the pay freeze, 76 cop positions would lose their funding. Other departments would also be hit hard.

Police salaries make up 49 percent of Long Beach's general fund expenditures, and the police union president has told the Press-Telegram that his members will not agree to pay freezes.

The council will meet to discuss budget matters at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, and has until Sept. 15 to reach a final budget. With about 495,000 residents, Long Beach is California's sixth-largest city, and is the second-largest city in Los Angeles County.