Details to follow, but Villaraigosa spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton tweets that the mayor has asked the city's chief administrative officer to develop a plan that would shut down city agencies, excluding public safety, for two days a week, beginning April 12. "We have to act, and we have to act quickly," Villaraigosa said today at a press conference. Earlier this morning, Controller Wendy Greuel said that if $90 million is not transferred from the reserve fund, workers will have to stay home beginning April 19.
By city agencies, Villaraigosa presumably means libraries, courthouses, public works, the housing authority, recreation and parks, the zoo, etc. etc. He's excluding police and fire, but what about garbage pickup? Obviously, they're thinking this out on the run. It's an extraordinary - and embarrassing - step for the nation's second-largest city.
Just to recap, L.A.'s slowly building financial crisis erupted in the last few days when the Department of Water and Power said it would not turn over $73 million to the city's general fund. The DWP refused because the city council refused to sign off on the rate increase the utility had proposed. The DWP says it needs the rate hike in order to avoid its own financial problems. As if on cue, Fitch withdrew its AA- rating on bonds that the utility planned to sell this month. The rating was based on the rate hike being approved.