Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Addresses Future of Civic Auditorium and RDA-funded Staff
By Jason Islas
January 21, 2013 -- City officials are wrestling with the question of what to do with about 50 employees who will lose their jobs at the end of June as a result of the end of Santa Monica's Redevelopment Agency (RDA).
The Council voted in August to suspend the $52 million Civic Center Auditorium renovation project due to the loss of RDA money. As a result, the 23 employees currently working there will find themselves without a job, as well the nearly 30 City employees whose salaries were paid by RDA money.
According to a report, City officials are taking steps to make sure employees can transition to new jobs, either in Santa Monica or elsewhere, as smoothly as possible.
“In preparation for the closure of the Civic Auditorium several meetings and trainings have been conducted with staff,” City officials said.
“A majority of the employees availed themselves of the opportunity to meet one on one with Human Resources staff to discuss individual needs and specific requests for assistance,” staff said.
“Human Resources has encouraged RDA-funded and Civic employees to sign up for transfer lists and to apply for City positions open to the public,” officials said. “Departments are strongly encouraged to interview and consider employees on the transfer lists before interviewing external candidates.”
Officials say that their strategy has yielded some results.
“Four RDA funded employees and six Civic employees have transferred to new positions as a result of placement on a transfer list,” officials said. “In addition, three Civic employees were promoted to general funded positions through the civil service process.”
Though City officials make no mention of whether there are enough positions in other departments to absorb employees who may want to transfer.
With the loss of RDA money -- about $50 million a year for capital improvement projects and affordable housing -- Santa Monica is facing a possible $29 million deficit by 2018, according to the City's mid-year budget report.
Santa Monica could be $1 to $15 million in the black, however, if the City adjusted some of its spending. Among those adjustments would be to control staff costs, including pensions and salaries.
Officials say that they are making every effort to help employees facing the loss of their jobs.
“Human Resources staff has created monthly programs that will be offered to these employees to assist them in securing alternate employment,” officials said. “One-on-one assistance by Human Resources will continue to be encouraged and available to employees and as the end of the fiscal year draws closer the Employee Assistance Program will again be utilized to offer support to impacted employees.”
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