Today’s budget lesson for the council

2 Apr

The city council is fiddling with the Mayor’s proposed budget.
That’s the way it works.

The Mayor submits an operating and capital improvement budget to the council and it hold hearings, makes deals and eventually has its way,

In a perfect world, the proposed budget is what the Mayor says he needs to run the city and the council makes some changes to reflect its desires.

It’s not a perfect world.

Departments pad the number a bit because it knows the council will cut important areas not understanding what it might mean.

One target every year is vacant positions.

They become a target because the council sees them sitting there empty and the money – in its mind – can go elsewhere.

They don’t understand the civil service system.

Ladies and gents, we present Civil Service 102 – vacant positions.

If you work for the city and you quit tomorrow, it can be as much as 4-9 months before your job is filled with someone else.

For example: the department head notifies the Human Resources Department that there’s a vacancy in one of his divisions for a such-and-such type worker.

The HR people look it up and see how many people applied for that type of work, were qualified (passed the tests) and might be still available.

The list with the top scorers is sent back to the department and then each as to be sent a letter asking if they are still interested in the position.

In many cases those folks gave up waiting a long tome ago and found other work.
If they say yes an interview is set up, usually with 4 or 5 senior staff members.

You have to have at least 3 interviewees.

If you don’t have enough on the list or enough still wanting the job, it’s time to advertise.
Even if someone is chosen by the interview panel, there’s still a long torturous road ahead.

As we said – it can take months sometime.

So, you quit, the position is vacant.
The department puts the money for it in the budget so they can find someone else.
Sometimes they find ’em fast, sometimes not.
But the money has to be there.

The council takes it out – you aren’t hiring and the job stays unfilled.

That’s why you can’t go cutting vacant positions willy-nilly to save money.

Class dismissed.

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