Neeley: City Reorganization Will Save $1.5 Million

City Manager David Neeley sent the following email to city employees this morning:

To all City of College Station employees:

As you know, our city organization has faced serious budget challenges in recent years, and we have responded with significant reductions. Over the last three years, more than $5.3 million were cut from the city’s operations and maintenance budget, which allowed us to avoid layoffs. Despite those efforts, this year it’s necessary to take some highly regrettable but unavoidable measures as part of a broader reorganization. Specifically, I’m reducing the size of our city staff by eliminating 27 full and part-time positions, including 11 that are currently filled, 13 that are vacant, and three that will be eliminated through either retirement or accepting new positions.

These decisions do not reflect the job performance of the affected individuals and I genuinely appreciate and respect their dedicated service. Our hard-working employees are our very foundation, and this difficult action is taken only as a last resort after an exhaustive review of our entire organization. It is one of the saddest and most painful decisions of my professional career, but I firmly believe it is the right decision for our long-term fiscal health.

We are deeply empathetic about the adverse impact this decision has on the affected employees and their families and will make every effort to assist them during this transition. These employees will be compensated through the end of September and will receive job placement and counseling services. In addition, they will be given priority consideration if suitable positions become available with the city.

The filled positions being eliminated are from Economic Development, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Information Technology, Police (no sworn positions), Human Resources and the Electric Department. This occurred after extensive consultation with department directors. As a result of this action, some employees will have expanded responsibilities, and we appreciate them accepting those challenges. 

As city staff began preparing the FY 2012 budget, we recognized a shortfall of more than $1.5 million. With no new revenue sources available and many of our services already cut significantly, our choices were extremely limited. The reductions will save more than $1.3 million from the general fund and almost $280,000 from the insurance, electric, water/wastewater and recreation funds. These were gut-wrenching decisions for the city management team because we understand the impacts they will have. 

I’m personally committed to transforming our operations for optimal efficiency, and the economic and budgetary realities accelerated many of those organizational changes. The reorganization of several departments will help us meet our legal requirement of balancing our budget and will improve our efficiency by refocusing our resources. I will send you additional details about the restructuring of the city organization in the coming days.

Despite these difficult times, I’m confident that together we can persevere and emerge stronger as an organization. Thank you for your continued dedication to delivering valued services and programs to our citizens and community. Because of your innovation and hard work, the City of College Station’s future remains bright. Again, I offer my sincere appreciation to the affected employees and wish the best for each of them.

If you have any questions about your specific job or department, please talk to your department director. For all other questions, comments or thoughts, please feel free to email me directly. I’ll respond to you just as quickly as I can.

David Neeley, City Manager