Grass Valley hiring to fill layoff void |

Grass Valley hiring to fill layoff void

After laying off seven employees in mid-February as part of its staff reorganization plan, Grass Valley is currently hiring to fill five newly vacant jobs, in an attempt to compensate for the laid-off positions.

City Manager Bob Richardson said they aim to fill the positions as soon as possible, and currently have sitting staff taking on more responsibilities to compensate, some working later than usual.

“Management is stepping in and doing a huge amount of front counter work,” said Richardson. “It allows all of us to be acquainted with all job duties and functions because there’s a lot that happens there … It helps us understand if we’re doing things as efficiently as we can. It’s good for management to learn all of the job functions from the ground up. We’re doing that now.”

On Feb. 3, Grass Valley City Manager Bob Richardson delivered layoff notices to seven city employees as part of a staff reorganization plan that provides roughly $300,000 annually in projected cost savings for the city’s general fund through 2019.

“Management is stepping in and doing a huge amount of front counter work. It allows all of us to be acquainted with all job duties and functions because there’s a lot that happens there …”Grass Valley City Manager Bob Richardson

Layoffs for the five full-time city hall positions, and two part-time police civilian jobs were made official on Feb. 10, when city council members approved the reorganization plan.

The employees were promptly terminated the next day, receiving three weeks severance pay, more than a month of medical insurance, and a cash-out of accumulated leave.

The reorganization plan was created to combat foreseeable budgetary pressures, including increases in CalPERS employer contributions to the tune of $2.2 million over the next four years, and post-employment benefits that will see the city’s unfunded liability of $3.2 million increasing to $200,000 a year.

According to city documents, Grass Valley was also experiencing a loss of revenue and a decreased need for staff due to the dissolution of the city’s redevelopment agency.

Community Development Director Tom Last said the layoffs have given him extra responsibilities at city hall’s front desk, though he has been able to prioritize his schedule.

“It’s a great learning opportunity to understand all the details of working with customers,” said Last. “We just had our second round of interviews for the Associate Senior Planning position and I’m hoping we get somebody hired for that, it would help us out tremendously.”

The city is currently hiring for a full-time senior planner, an evidence technician, two community service analyst positions, and a part-time records technician. Estimated annual costs for those positions will be around $235,000, though those expenditures were already factored into the city’s $300,000 net annual cost savings.

Grass Valley Police Lt. Alex Gammelgard said they are hiring for a part-time position that will handle the job responsibilities of two part-time employees who were laid off in February.

“We’ve been able to put measures in place to staff our front counter currently, and we’re looking for ways to do that effectively in the long term,” Gammelgard said. “We’re not fully there yet.”

Richardson said the city does not plan to serve additional layoffs and is focused on the economic development aspects of the reorganization plan, which includes a new tourism campaign, and the recruitment of direct sales manufacturing businesses.

“It’s now time for us to move forward with direct recruitment of (businesses) in the city,” Richardson said. “My first year here was really to restructure internal operations, and we’re just about complete with everything we wanted to get done. Now it’s time to work on the external side of things.”

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To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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