Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took the action Thursday after the council delayed action on job cuts for 30 days, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"We're living beyond our means, we have difficult choices to make, we must protect our economic future," Villaraigosa said. "Unfortunately, instead of making progress, we are headed in the wrong direction. That ends today."
"If you think I'm not going to move ahead, you don't know me well," he told reporters. "I don't do this because I want to; I do this because I must."
Villaraigosa said he would use powers laid out in the City Charter to eliminate jobs. Many workers would be moved into vacant positions in departments not affected by the budget crisis, his office said.
The city's budget shortfall is $212 million this year and will be at least $484 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1, the Times reported.