By Ted Schnell • BocaJump | Jan. 27, 2012
The city of Elgin on Friday said goodbye to 19 people, many members of the city administration, as a cost-cutting move to save $1.8 million of $2.8 million in planned cuts needed to balance the city’s 2012 budget and its 2012-16 financial plan.
City Manager Sean Stegall said Friday the city is eliminating 22 full-time and seven part-time positions, but many of those were vacant. Of the 29 positions being eliminated, 19 were filled, meaning 13 full-time and six part-time city employees actually were let go.
“It’s a sad day anytime you have to let people go,” said Stegall. “These actions, while difficult, are necessary to preserve the city’s long-term financial health and will not prevent the city from continuing to provide the same high level of service to the community.”
The layoffs were done Friday, he said, and the city administration in the coming weeks will reorganize to reassign administrative and other functions as a result of the departures.
Stegall praised three of the individuals whose positions were eliminated for stepping forward — essentially volunteering to be cut — after the city issued a memo to employees with an offer of a voluntary buyout with hopes of reducing the number of involuntary layoffs. Those three individuals will leave with two months of pay and six months of health insurance in exchange for stepping down.
Public Services Director David Lawry, Assistant Police Chief Bob Beeter and Senior Recreation Supervisor Deb Barr “stepped up and did it,” Stegall said. “I think that’s an important distinction … they volunteered to do something else with their careers.
“I am particularly grateful to the three employees who elected to take a voluntary buyout to help the organization meet its financial goals,” he continued. “I was able to tell those people … ‘You’re saving someone else’s job.’ That meant a lot.”
Another position being eliminated, that of assistant fire chief, comes after William “Mike” Baker’s retirement this month after serving 26 years with the city. The City Council recognized Baker for his service during its meeting Wednesday night.
Stegall said that of the 29 positions eliminated, 20 were non-bargaining-unit positions, many of which were administrative; the remaining nine were “bargaining-unit positions,” meaning they were not administrative positions.
The eliminated administrative positions include assistant purchasing officer; assistant fire chief; associate planner; civil engineer I; deputy police chief; Eastside Recreation Center program manager; development coordinator; public safety information officer; public services director; public works supervisor for community restitution; senior human resources adviser; senior recreation supervisor for community programming; water maintenance supervisor. In addition , seven nonunion positions were eliminated: four part-time parks maintenance laborers and three part-time seasonal laborers.
The nine bargaining-unit positions being cut include cemetery lead worker; code enforcement officer; clerk typist; two parks maintenance laborers; two police officers; and, two public safety telecommunications positions. Stegall said one police officer and one public safety telecommunication position already were vacant.
Friday’s staff reductions bring to about 99 the number of positions the city has eliminated since 2008, the onset of the Great Recession. Since 2008, when the city’s budget was $301 miilion, the city has cut spending by $31 million to $268 million.The personnel cuts this year could have been far worse. Of the budget scenarios reviewed by the City Council late last year, one called for draconian cuts of the equivalent of as many as 110 full-time positions.