San Bruno to lay off workers to balance budgetBy Joshua Melvin
San Bruno plans to lay off up to four workers in order to balance its budget for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
"I have exhausted my (options)," City Manager Connie Jackson told the City Council on Tuesday night.
In an interview Wednesday, she said it's not clear yet who will lose their job, but added the decision will be made in May. She said most city workers, including police and firefighters, will be considered for the cuts.
"It's not pretty," said Mayor Jim Ruane after Jackson delivered the news. "It's not pretty at all."
Budget projections unveiled Tuesday night predict San Bruno will have a roughly $2 million hole in its estimated $31.3 million budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year.
City workers are still developing that spending plan, which should go before the City Council in early June.
San Bruno could take a big bite out of its deficit by using an estimated $900,000 in nonrecurring revenues, according to a staff report.
Another chunk of that will likely be made up with $763,000 in job cuts. However, those cuts won't require layoffs.
A mix of employees quitting and transfers to other departments where there are vacancies will eliminate 7.5 positions from the city payroll.
This strategy will reduce the number of people doing maintenance of public spaces and force the library to be open two hours less Monday through Thursday.
The remaining $378,000 that needs to be chopped out of the budget will likely be made up by cutting three or four more workers out of the payroll.
Those employees would be out of a job by the end of June.
Teamsters negotiator Peter Finn, who represents San Bruno employees, said the city has reached out to him and they are scheduling meetings to discuss employee contracts.
He added that San Bruno workers have given up raises three years in a row and also took a 2.3 percent pay cut this year.
"The employees have been working with the city to get through these tough economic times," Finn said.
These will be the first layoffs to hit San Bruno since 2004. That year, six employees received pink slips, though all but two ultimately found jobs in other city departments, Jackson said.
The city has been eliminating vacant jobs since 2002.
San Bruno had 206 people on its general fund payroll then, and today that number is 168.
About 10.5 unfilled jobs were axed last year in order to balance the budget.
As a result of the already-thinned staff, Jackson said the city will have to choose carefully where to cut this time.
"It's truly a matter of bad versus worse," she said.
Copyright ©2010 San Mateo County Times. Published 04/28/2010.