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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS
DATE: SEPTEMBER 16, 2003
SUBJECT: STAFFING IN THE PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
The Public Works department is organized into three functions: administration, maintenance and project management. The project management function is responsible for the City’s engineering programs and construction projects. Currently two Senior Engineers, and one Engineering Technician staff this function.
Due to the number and size of projects assigned to the department, during the budget process in July 2002 staff requested, and the City Council approved, a new Senior Engineer position. Recruitment for the position, however, did not take place. This is because staff was not certain that the increased workload was a permanent condition, and a new permanent City employee could not be justified for what could be a temporary condition.
During the budgeting process in July 2003, the new Senior Engineer position was deleted from the budget due to the uncertain fiscal outlook at the state level and the fact that capital projects were being deferred.
Although a new permanent city employee may not be justified, the need for staff assistance in the Public Works Department remains. Several projects assigned to the department are not assigned to a project manager, and the workload on existing staff is expected to remain at their current level for the next 18 months. In the past when this occurred the department utilized the services of an engineering firm. If such a plan were followed at this time, due to the high costs of engineering services - $90 per hour – and the relatively long term need for services – 18 months – costs for the needed services would be approximately $180,000 per year, or $270,000 for the 18-month period.
Staff investigated how other cities meet their temporary staffing needs and found a method to provide the needed services in a more cost effective manner.
Staff recommends that the City recruit a limited term full-time employee to meet its current staffing needs. Under such a plan a new City employee would be hired with the understanding that their employment would be for a term of 18 months. Staff proposes a salary equal to that of Senior Engineer, and that the new position not require an engineering degree, in an attempt to expand the applicant pool. See attached job description.
Under such a plan the fully burdened annual salary for a new limited term employee would be approximately $100,000, significantly less than the cost of consultant services.
The new employee would likely be assigned the following projects:
Adopting the staff recommendations will result in hiring a new limited term, full time city employee in the Public Works Department to meet a temporary staffing need.
Take no action. This will result in delays of several capital projects.
Request staff to hire a consultant to fill its staffing need. This will result in additional expense for the City.
The proposed position is not budgeted, and as such an amendment to the City’s FY 03 – 04 Budget is required. The funding source is the General Fund.