Point Fermin lighthouse curator gets pink slip

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Postby Bill Edwards » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:14 am


Point Fermin lighthouse curator gets pink slip
By Donna Littlejohn Staff Writer
Posted: 03/10/2010 05:50:09 PM PST

By the end of the month, San Pedro's Point Fermin Lighthouse will be without a curator.

Kristen Heather, the full-time historic site curator for the Point Fermin Lighthouse, said she received her two-week notice at a meeting Tuesday.

Los Angeles city officials anticipate as many as 4,000 job cuts - but Heather appears to be the first pink slip actually delivered.

"As far as I can tell, I'm the only one," she said Wednesday. "Right now, I'm just referring everyone to (Councilwoman) Janice Hahn's office because I know she's been working very hard on the issue.

"I don't want to see this curator - or any other of our museum curators - let go," Hahn said in a statement issued Wednesday. "I'm going to ask Rec and Parks to find other ways to save money before we start laying these curators off. "It was my understanding that people were not supposed to be getting their pink slips until a layoff strategy was presented to the City Council, which so far, hasn't happened."

Other Harbor Area museums set to experience key layoffs include the Banning Residence and Drum Barracks museums in Wilmington, and the Cabrillo Marine and Los Angeles Maritime museums in San Pedro.

Heather was instrumental in overseeing the lighthouse become a public museum in 2003.

- Donna Littlejohn
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Bill Edwards
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Postby wheland » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:39 am

Sorry to hear this- not surprised, though.

Things like this are happening all over- not just at lightouses.

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Postby Bill Edwards » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:41 pm

Oops, they took the pink slip back!

http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_14699138? ... breeze.com

Oops: LA didn't mean to lay off lighthouse curator
By Donna Littlejohn Staff Writer
Posted: 03/18/2010 07:09:47 AM PDT

Two weeks after issuing a pink slip to the curator of San Pedro's Point Fermin Lighthouse, the city reversed itself, saying the layoff notice was sent "in error."

The city of Los Angeles did not provide an explanation to Lighthouse Historic Site Curator Kristen Heather as to why the pink slip was reversed and a call to the Department of Recreation and Parks was not returned.

The back-pedaling, however, followed confirmation that the Port of Los Angeles reimburses the city for the position's salary and benefits, making it a "budget neutral" item in the city's spending plan each year.

Heather said she was relieved by Tuesday's e-mail notice canceling her impending layoff, but added: "I'm sick to know that other people are getting laid off."

The news, in fact, isn't as positive so far this week for the Cabrillo Marine Museum in San Pedro.

The museum's full-time volunteer coordinator received a pink slip on Tuesday.

While that post is also reimbursed by the Port of Los Angeles, unlike Heather's it is a civil service job. That means the city could transfer someone with more seniority into the post as a series of personnel "bumps" push out newer employees in favor of those with longer tenure.

"I am an `at will' employee, exempt from civil service," Heather said explaining her unique classification.

Port media representative Phillip Sanfield confirmed last week that the historic site curator position at the Point Fermin Lighthouse is reimbursed by the port because the facility is on Tidelands Trust property.

The same holds for posts at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, both targeted for layoffs as well.

Last month, a list of potential layoffs indicated that three of the four historic site curators in the Harbor Area were in line to be cut.

Now, that list has been pared down to one of four.

That leaves historic site curators at the Banning Residence and Drum Barracks museums and the Fort MacArthur Museum in San Pedro as still vulnerable.

None of the salaries for those positions are reimbursed by the port because the facilities are not on Tidelands Trust property, as is the lighthouse and marine aquarium.

On Wednesday, Heather sent an e-mail to supporters and volunteers who had come to her defense after she received her pink slip on March 9.

"Hello everyone, I just wanted to let you know that yesterday I was given an error letter in regards to my layoff letter," stated the e-mail that was provided to the Daily Breeze by a lighthouse volunteer. "The letter stated that my layoff was sent in error, which means that the March 23 last day date is no longer effective."

The city did not provide an explanation to Heather as to why the pink slip was reversed.

Layoff lists continue to be in flux, according to a high-ranking official with the city's Department of Recreation and Parks.

"The city's in an economic crisis," said Vicki Israel, assistant general manager of the department that oversees the museums and other recreational facilities and programs. "Every department has been told they have to reduce their work force, and this is apparently just the beginning of what's going to happen."

City officials have been focused on the budget crisis now for many weeks as they look ahead to the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

"We are still working on a plan. This is all new to us, too," Israel said. "It's totally out of our hands. The city's Personnel Department notifies our department."

Some 300 Recreation and Parks employees, she said, already have taken early retirement incentives in the past two weeks.

Israel said the early retirements and anticipated cuts will impact area parks, with consolidations expected of the various regional offices for Recreation and Parks. Currently, there are four regions, including the Pacific Region in Harbor City that serves the Harbor Area.

Israel said plans are being discussed to pare those regions down to only two - east and west divisions.

"We will reduce some services, we're looking at it every day," she said. "We have 415 parks (citywide) to take care of along with 175 recreation centers and programs and swimming pools.

"It's a hard time for everybody in every position," she said. "We're just trying to do our best."

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