Maywood to lay off all city employees, dismantle Police Department

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
By Paul Martin

LATimes.com
June 22, 2010

The city of Maywood will lay off all city employees and begin contracting police services with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department effective July 1, officials said.

In addition to contracting with the Sheriff’s Department, the Maywood City Council voted unanimously Monday night to lay off an estimated 100 employees and contract with neighboring Bell, which will handle other city services such as finance, records management, parks and recreation, street maintenance and others. Maywood will be billed about $50,833 monthly, which officials said will save $164,375 annually.

“We will become 100% a contracted city,” said Angela Spaccia, Maywood’s interim city manager.

Deputies from the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station will begin patrolling the 1.2-square-mile city by the end of the month, said Capt. Bruce Fogarty of the Sheriff’s Contract Law Enforcement Bureau. The annual cost of providing those services for the small city is estimated at $3.6 million, Fogarty said.

At a council meeting Monday night, city leaders said they were forced to dismantle the Police Department and lay off city workers because they lost insurance coverage as a result of excessive police claims filed against the department. They also blamed years of financial abuse and corruption from the previous council.

“We’re limited on our choices and limited on what we can do,” Councilman Felipe Aguirre told the standing- room-only crowd.
Frustrated and enraged residents blame the council for the city’s predicament, and for not following an insurance agency’s recommendations, which council members had agreed to last August. The recommendations included hiring a permanent city manager.

Some suggested that city leaders should step down.

“You guys had the power to change it and you didn’t,” said City Treasurer Lizeth Sandoval, 28, who addressed the council as a resident. “You single-handedly destroyed the city.”

Sandoval, a city employee, will be laid off as part of the cuts.

Local activists, who refer to themselves as “A Group for a Better Maywood,” announced their intention to recall four of the council members: Felipe Aguirre, Edward Varela, Vice Mayor Veronica Guardado and Mayor Ana Rosa Rizo. The same group sought a similar recall in 2008 and failed.

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