Mayor promises no drop in services despite job cuts

Even though the 2019 budget calls for seven fewer city employees next year, the mayor promises to not let city services slip.

With a challenging budget mandate to staff seven fewer positions next year, city officials say services should remain steady.

“We will provide the same quality of service,” Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said.

The seven employees were lost through retirements or by not refilling vacancies, otherwise known as attrition, the mayor said. Departments impacted included police, codes and streets and parks.

City Councilman Randall J. Allison said the employee cuts shouldn’t affect services very much.

But, he noted, going beyond this will require council and the administration to work on a plan that is researched, filled with information, thought out and executed.

While the police department is down by four officers, incoming police Chief Jody Miller indicated not much impact will be felt.

“Overall,” he said, “operations will be steady.”

“We will be taking on a few more assignments and responsibilities,” Miller said.

Mainly, though, the level of protection and patrol won’t be impacted, he said.

The department starts the year with 48 officers. The 2018 budget paid for 51 officers.

While the complement has been fluid, Miller said he and incoming Assistant Chief Don Mayes will have some additional challenges in the department with two administrators instead of three.

A police captain position was eliminated.

Codes also will see fewer positions in 2019.

“It’s much more of a challenge,” said Joseph Gerardi, codes administrator.

Codes is down two officers, he said. It means the department goes from six enforcement officers to four.

It may result in certain checklist items not getting done as quickly as before, Gerardi said.

It enlargens the area for each of the codes officers, he said.

“People are going to have to understand that certain services will be impacted,” he said.

At streets and parks, Adam Winder, general manager of the department, assumes responsibilities of general manager and assistant general manager of the department of 26.

The staff doesn’t change, but Winder said he will remain on call for emergencies, weather-related events and other responsibilities of the department.

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