PEORIA — The City of Peoria has consolidated the Planning & Growth Management, Inspections, and Economic Development departments into the newly-christened Community Development department. City Manager Patrick Urich has appointed Ross Black as director. Black was formerly the interim Planning & Growth Management director. According to a recent Issues Update:
The three [former] departments had a combined total of 51 employees during the 2011 budget year. The 2013 budget authorizes the new department to have a total of 37 employees; a 27% reduction in staff. With new procedures that have already been put in place and with an ongoing program targeted at identifying and implementing efficiencies, the new Community Development Department will be able to provide enhanced service to the community with far fewer employees than in past years.
The new Community Development Department will continue to provide the same suite of services that were provided under the prior three departments. These services include planning, zoning, mapping & analysis, neighborhood development, grants management, code enforcement, building inspections, economic development, and real estate management.
The new department will also have two assistant directors. Joe Dulin, former interim Inspections director, will fill one of the positions. The other position, which will focus on economic development, is expected to be filled by early second quarter.
My Take: So we’ve combined three departments, but we still have three management-level employees, each overseeing one of the three former areas. Sounds like an exercise in semantics. And does anyone really believe that we’re not going to see a drop in service as a result of this supposed 27% reduction in staff? Speaking of this “reduction,” isn’t it interesting that they compared proposed 2013 staffing to 2011 levels instead of 2012 (current) levels? Curious as to what the 2012 levels are? I’ll tell you: 33. So the new 2013 level of 37 employees is actually an increase of four employees, or 11%. (It’s better at budget time to give the impression you’re cutting, even if you’re not really.)
Nevertheless, that’s way down from ten years prior:
|Department||FY 2002||FY 2012||Change||Pct|
|Planning & Growth||25||12||-13||-52%|
These decreases in staffing are going so well that the City (in addition to adding staff while pretending they’re cutting it further) is now seriously considering outsourcing code enforcement due to lack of performance. This must be part of that “new and strong foundation upon which we can build for the future of our city” that Mayor Ardis talked about in his State of the City address this past January.