The city of Newport Beach has approved its budget and among the cuts is $700,000 from lifeguard compensation. The city made headlines around the country in previous months when it was reported that 13 full-time lifeguards were making more than $100,000, and some were making more than $200,000 a year when you factor in salary, benefits and overtime pay (not to mention $400 for sun protection). In addition, after 30 years of service, the lifeguards can retire at 50 years old with a 90 percent salary. These figures fueled outrage as the city was looking at ways to make cutbacks. ABC News reports that “Under the new contract, new hires will have a pension worth up to 50 percent less. The guards will also increase the amount they pay toward those pensions from 3.5 to 9 percent.” Officials pointed out that the city simply could no longer afford to give lifeguards the same "public safety" pensions offered to police officers and firefighters. The LA Times reports:
“Full-time lifeguards in Newport Beach were facing the prospect of layoffs in the proposed 2011-12 budget, so they offered to trade pension cuts for saving jobs. Ultimately, all of the lifeguard spots were spared, although one will spend time doubling as the Police Department's crime prevention officer. The new budget eliminates some of the lifeguard overtime and special pay as well. In all, the reworked pension deals and budget cuts will save the city about $700,000, officials estimate.”
To make ends meet, the city is looking to outsource where it can and Mayor Michael Henn called on City Manager David Kiff to keep looking for more jobs to outsource. In response to plans to outsource legal services, City Atty. David Hunt has announced that he would rather resign so that three to six members of his staff will not have to lose their jobs. Hunt was asked to create an outsourcing plan and several in-house attorneys would have faced layoffs for a savings of over $500,000, but Hunt commented, “Their direction is a perfectly valid choice. It's simply not a model I care to execute.” His departure date is effective September 23rd.