City works to restore lost staff, services
Department heads will give detailed briefing March 11 at 6 p.m.
The city of Paso Robles is bouncing back from the recession, Paso Robles City Manager Jim App reports, so city staff has been working with the council over the last couple of years to restore lost staff and services that were cut due to lost revenues.
The recovery objectives were established by the council in late 2013 and included:
- Increase general facility maintenance capacity
- Enhance public safety, specifically establish a drug and gang take force
- Promote economic development, specifically refocus the economic strategy and purchase property for future downtown parking
When the initial cuts were made, which included not replacing some positions as they were vacated, 106,000 hours of man hours were saved annually.
“There has been a significant [reduction] of workers,” App said, adding that as revenue has increased, the city kept its recession employee level. The city is still short 90,000 man hours of its 2007 service levels. The cost to restore city’s staffing and services to pre-recession levels would cost $7 million in recurring yearly expenses plus more than $3 million in one-time project costs. Those costs do not include costs to implement the city’s Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan, App said.
The following staff positions and services have been restored to date:
- One police officer
- Street sweeping
- Building inspector
- Drug/gang task force
- Four maintenance workers
- Street median maintenance
- Emergency services training
- Human resources/risk management specialist
- Part-time library and senior center staff
- Budgeting, accounting and finance system
App said he asked each department head to outline in five phases how to get their departments operating at pre-recession levels.
“I told [the directors] it’s not feasible to do them all at once,” App said. “These are their recommendations in numeric form. … These certainly
aren’t all things you should fix today. You can’t fix today. This is purposely an overview, big picture.”
App requested that the council schedule a workshop to last four to five hours for the department heads to brief the officials in detail about each of their plans to restore staffing and services to pre-recession levels. The council selected Wednesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. as the workshop date in council chambers. App said that the length of the workshop will depend on how many questions the council asks.
“I think it’s very important for members of the public to remember and know the number of jobs you have had to cut,” Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee member Larry Iaquinto said. “It’s really, really hurt the services provided to the community.”
Both Mayor Pro Tem Fred Strong and Councilman Steve Gregory said that the city was able to make it through the recession with less of a visible impact to the public because of the number of volunteers that stepped up.
“We have a great community of volunteers and we have a daunting task to restore things with very little resources,” Gregory said.
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