There’s a Grinch loose at City Hall, folks: question is, who is it?
Hint: it wears a jacket to work. Sometimes, also, a tie.
Forgive us if the following makes your head spin, for our dome did a 720 of its own: eight Supervisors, a veto-proof majority, voted Tuesday to reallocate $1.2 million within the Department of Public Health’s budget to delay about 100 layoffs of union workers in that department — nurses assistants, clerks, etc — until after the holidays, in January.
Jobs saved, right? No. Well, probably not: the Mayor is the ultimate authority in charge of spending, and the Mayor’s Office reiterated Tuesday that it will instruct DPH to not spend the $1.2 million, citing a $52 million-plus budget deficit for the current fiscal year (on top of next year’s estimated $522 million worth of red ink).
The message: we don’t have the money, you know we don’t have the money, so stop playing games with workers’ jobs, you darn progressives!
That being said, the Mayor’s Office is not entirely sure how Tuesday’s Board actions change the layoff procedures already in place, and will wait until they confer with the Department of Human Resources to say definitively when the laid-off workers will have to leave their posts. But the Mayor’s Office maintains it is a question of when, not if, folks will join the bread line.
“The Mayor’s not going to spend the money,” said Joe Arellano, the mayor’s chief spokesman, who added that even more layoffs will happen down the road thanks to the budget deficits, which today’s vote would never have changed anyway.
The contention is that “the action of the BoS does not change the layoff process,” but a final word should go down sometime after Thanksgiving.
For its part, the Service Employees International Union, Local 1021, which represents the workers in question and lobbied hard to win Tuesday’s vote, is more confident.
In January, the Board will vote again on this issue — but at that time, with detailed information as to how much money will be available from a federal stimulus payment, made available under State Assembly bill 1383.
“This (vote) will give us a cooling-off period (until the city learns how much money it will have thanks to AB 1383),” said SEIU 1021 spokesman Carlos Rivera, who in the meantime was hopeful that the layoffs could wait until January. “Hopefully the Mayor will have a heart during the holidays.”