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The city of San Diego has instituted a hiring freeze, Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone said in a memo yesterday to department directors. The memo also hints at more draconian measures to balance the city’s budget, which is projected to have a deficit of more than $100 million next year.

Goldstone said Friday’s decision by the city’s independent retirement board not to decrease the city’s payment to the pension fund, along with prior budget cuts, were reasons for yesterday’s move.

“As such, effective immediately I am imposing a complete and absolute hiring freeze for all vacant General Fund supported positions and am requiring all non-General Fund departments to limit their hiring to candidates who already work for the City,” Goldstone wrote. “Any exceptions to this will require my personal review and approval.”

The decision, the memo said, includes the cancellation of all future police and fire academies, though current recruits can be hired.

Goldstone wrote that he expects that his decision will affect levels of service this year. And he formalized earlier statements that city employees should expect layoffs.

“I suspect that the City’s workforce will be significantly less in fiscal year 2011 and we need to begin thinking about what services and programs we do or do not provide and at what levels,” he wrote.

— LIAM DILLON

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