A commission of civic leaders will recommend next week that 6,000 employees be eliminated from the District's 48,000- member work force, including 2,100 mid-level managers, to help solve the city's mounting fiscal crisis.
As part of the cuts, the mayoral panel also will urge the city to abandon plans to hire 1,000 new police officers and reduce the size of its police force by 600 positions, because the District employs far more uniformed officers than comparably sized jurisdictions.
The recommendations potentially are among the most controversial findings of the Commission on Budget and Financial Priorities, appointed a year ago by Mayor Marion Barry to devise solutions to the city's budget deficits.
Congress, troubled by the District's soaring homicide rate and drug-related violence, ordered the city last year to hire 1,000 new police officers and appropriated the necessary money. Mayor-Elect Sharon Pratt Dixon has promised to increase the number of police officers in the community.
The 44-member commission is scheduled to release its report at a news conference Monday. The Washington Post was provided with an embargoed copy this week, but decided to report on the findings after WRC-TV (Channel 4), citing sources, reported last night on some of the commission's recommendations.
Alice M. Rivlin, the commission's chairwoman and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, declined to comment last night.
In the nearly 150-page report, the commission draws a bleak picture of rampant inefficiency throughout the D.C. government and warns of dire fiscal consequences unless immediate steps are taken to shrink city government and raise new revenue.
"The District of Columbia has only two choices," the commissioners wrote. "It can act now to develop and execute a plan for bringing revenues and expenditures into balance in an orderly, constructive way. Or it can ignore the problem until insolvency forces drastic and arbitrary cuts in public services, massive layoffs of employees, and emergency arrangements for financial bailout."
Not all of the commission's recommendations deal with cuts. The report urges the city to increase annual spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure from $175 million to $350 million, while endorsing proposals by the D.C. Committee on Public Education for longer school days, higher teacher salaries and expanded early childhood development programs.
Commission members include former defense secretary Robert S. McNamara, Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. President Delano E. Lewis, former D.C. school superintendent Floretta D. McKenzie, former Republican National Committee chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf, American University Professor James J. Fyfe and Patrick V. Murphy, director of the Police Policy Board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and former commissioner of the New York City police department.
Yesterday, Rivlin and other panel members briefed Barry, advisers to Dixon, Capitol Hill officials and executives of the federal Office of Management and Budget.
Several commissioners dissented from some of the findings. The two labor leaders on the commission -- William Lucy, international secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and Joslyn N. Williams, president of the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO -- objected to the report's call for increased privatization of D.C. government services.
Lucy said many of the recommendations "unfairly target District employees," rather than offering "a reasoned mix of revenue increases and expenditure reductions."
The commission report rejects tax increases as a primary solution to the city's budget deficit, which is projected to be as much as $200 million this fiscal year. Left unchecked, the deficit could mushroom to $700 million by fiscal 1996, according to the report.
The report outlines a series of possible options if the city finds it needs new tax revenue, including a gross receipts tax on all businesses, a professional services tax and a restructuring of the residential property tax system to phase out the homestead exemption.
One of the major themes of the report is the inadequacy of the city's financial support from the federal government, whose payment to the city has remained constant in the last five years at $430 million, or less than 15 percent of the city's $3.8 billion annual budget.
The commission report contends that the federal government has treated the city unfairly. "It has imposed special costs on the District and severely restricted the District's revenue raising capacity without providing adequate compensation," the report states.
The chief problem created by the federal government, according to the report, is that the city is prohibited from collecting tax revenue from residents of Maryland and Virginia who work in the District. The prohibition, written into the city's 1974 Home Rule Charter, costs the city as much as $1.2 billion in tax revenue.
If Congress declines to alter the charter, the report recommends that it raise the federal payment to a level equivalent to 30 percent of the District's revenue. That would amount to $760.2 million in fiscal 1992.
The commission performed an extensive review of the city's staffing and found that city government employs 40 percent more staff per 10,000 people than the average for 12 other cities studied.
This finding led the commission to recommend deep cuts in the D.C. bureaucracy, including about 950 management and administrative positions deemed excessive in the Departments of Human Services and Public Works and other city departments. The report also recommends cutting 800 people from the administration of the school board.
The commission said reductions could be made in public safety agencies through better deployment of firefighters and police officers. The commission recommended that the Fire Department use four-person engine companies instead of five-person companies -- a move proposed repeatedly by the Barry administration but blocked by Congress.
The commission also called for restraining the growth of the police department, based on research indicating that the city has more police officers per capita than any other urban police department in the United States. The police department has 6.5 officers per 1,000 citizens, compared with an average of 3.2 officers for all urban departments serving communities of more than 250,000, according to the report.
"It is not clear that there is a direct relationship between the number of police and crime rates," the report said. "Increasing the number of officers appears to relocate rather than eliminate crime."