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One week before budget, Newton mayor Setti Warren announces layoffs

Posted by Sarah Thomas  April 14, 2011 02:54 PM

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Mayor Warren won't be formally presenting his budget until next week, but today his office announced that four city employees will be laid off as the city tries to close its budget gap.

"The first priority of my administration has been to get our fiscal house in order. We need to make sure we are spending every dollar wisely and we are as efficient as we can be," Warren said in the announcement. "These decisions are never easy and I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the years of service these employees have given to our great city."

The four layoffs will be an assistant city solicitor, an assistant design engineer, a part-time office worker in the Fire Department, and a public health nurse. Warren said in an interview that all employees and their respective unions had been informed.

"The positions were determined by department heads, working with the city's chief financial officer to find areas where there could be more efficiency," Warren said in the interview. "The layoffs will not effect the city's ability to maintain level services."

Warren also said that these layoffs were the only layoffs expected in this budgeting cycle. Warren will be presenting the city's budget on April 20.

In total, 18 city employee positions are being reduced or eliminated. Eight positions are either already vacant or filled by someone who is retiring, while the remaining six are filled with people who will be offered other jobs when their positions are eliminated.

The following is a complete list of the current full-time employees and vacant positions being reduced or eliminated.

Currently Occupied Positions:

Purchasing - consolidated Senior Press Operator and Mail Clerk position by creating efficiencies in Press Operator's time and "shortening" mail delivery time – eliminated one position. The incumbent will be offered a currently vacant position.

Assessing Dept - Streamlined Excise Processing function – eliminated a part-time position. The incumbent will be offered a currently vacant part-time position in the library.

Eliminated one position – Assistant City Solicitor. The position will be replaced with part time Telecommunications/Contract Specialists.

Planning Department - Streamlined administrative functions by use of technology - eliminating part-time administrative position. The incumbent will be offered a currently vacant part-time position in the library.

DPW - Streamlined management of DPW crews - eliminating one assistant superintendent. The incumbent will have the ability to ‘bump’ into a vacant working foreman position.

DPW – Created efficiencies in the Engineering Department – eliminating one Asst. Design Engineer position.

DPW – Streamlined street sweeping throughout the City – eliminating two positions. Both incumbents will be offered other vacant positions in DPW.

Fire Department – Eliminated one part-time administrative function. Fire Personnel Workers’ Compensation will now be handled by the Human Resources Department.

Health Department – Eliminated one Public Health Nurse. Warren's statement said that the service has been underutilized.

Vacant Positions:

Eliminated Special Projects/Office Manager position in Human Resources. This position has been replaced with a Manager of Payroll and HR Information Systems.

Information Technology – Eliminated one Network Administrator position. This position has been vacant for two years. The needs of the IT department will be re-evaluated under the IT Advisory Committee.

DPW – The newlyautomated solid waste program is now fully operational. Therefore, the budget eliminates one vacant management position.

DPW – Eliminated one Fleet Mechanic. The position has remained unfilled through this fiscal year.

Health Dept – Eliminated one administrative position. Administrative efficiencies will be realized as the city moves to computerization of health inspectors. The incumbent will retire in May 2011.

Library – The city's “Open Reserves” policy has enabled library patrons to retrieve reserved books without the assistance of library personnel. Therefore, one Senior Library Assistant vacant position was eliminated at the circulation desk.

Parks & Recreation – Two Grounds Maintenance positions have been eliminated resulting from 2 recent retirements. DPW and Parks/Rec have increased cross utilization of each other’s services.

For more information visit newtonma.gov.

Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m.thomas@gmail.com.

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