Horrified co-workers held vigil at the site where 29-year-old maintenance worker Huy Pham died Thursday.
"Only one City Council member stayed out at the scene, and she was the one who voted against these layoffs," said Jennifer Muir, spokeswoman for the Orange County Employees Association, which represents 18,000 workers.
Pham was summoned to his supervisor's office Thursday afternoon to receive his pink slip but instead walked to the top of City Hall and jumped off toward the parking lot. He landed on a sidewalk and was dead at the scene, police Lt. Bryan Glass said.
"He was off because he had broken his ankle," co-worker Helen Nenadal told AOL News. "He had been in contact with his co-workers, so he knew exactly what was going on. I had a conversation with him two weeks ago, and he said, 'Helen are they really going to do this?' and I said, 'Yes, it's really happening.' "
Nenadal said Pham was a very conscientious worker who knew how to repair tile, cement and wood. He had been on the job four years and worked primarily in City Hall and the Police Department.
After the employees received their pink slips, they were told to go back to work, and many were asked to prepare proposals to hire their replacements, Muir said.
"Basically, they were telling them that 'you are being laid off, but you have to dig the grave and then wait to see if you are going to be the one to be fired,'" Muir said. "All of this was done without any studies to see if it would really save money."
Before the vote to reduce 213 of the city's 472 employees, the workers agreed to increase pension contribution, add a lower pay tier and take furlough days.