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updated: 1/27/2012 8:11 PM

Elgin lays off 16, eliminates 29 positions overall

16 laid off, 3 take buyouts, 10 to remain vacant to save money

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  • Deputy Police Chief Bob Beeter took a buyout as part of Elgin's job cuts.

      Deputy Police Chief Bob Beeter took a buyout as part of Elgin's job cuts.

  • Public Services Director David Lawry took a buyout as part of Elgin's job cuts.

       Public Services Director David Lawry took a buyout as part of Elgin's job cuts.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • GEORGE LECLAIRE/gleclaire@dailyherald.comPublic Information Officer Sue Olafson was among 16 people laid off.

      GEORGE LECLAIRE/gleclaire@dailyherald.comPublic Information Officer Sue Olafson was among 16 people laid off.

 
 

The city of Elgin eliminated 29 positions Friday in order to balance the city's 2012 budget and put the city in an "excellent financial condition," officials said.

Altogether, 16 people were laid off -- 10 full-timers and six part-timers. And three others took a voluntary buyout, City Manager Sean Stegall said. The other 10 eliminated positions were vacant, he said.

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The workforce reduction will result in savings of about $1.8 million as part of a total general fund reduction of $2.8 million, Stegall said.

Public Safety Information Officer Sue Olafson and Community Restitution Work Coordinator Ed Swierbinski were among those who lost their jobs, Stegall said.

Deputy Police Chief Bob Beeter, Senior Recreation Supervisor Deb Barr and Public Services Director David Lawry opted to take buyouts, he said.

"We did a survey of all of our employees to see what the interest was (in buyouts), and these were the three that were interested," he said.

The 20 nonunion positions eliminated include assistant purchasing officer, assistant fire chief, associate planner, civil engineer, development coordinator, Eastside Recreation Center program manager, public works supervisor for community restitution, senior human resources adviser, water maintenance supervisor, and seven part-time laborers.

Eliminated union positions include cemetery lead worker, code enforcement officer, clerk typist, public safety telecommunicators, and parks maintenance laborers. Also, two police officers' positions were eliminated; one was vacant while the other would have become vacant shortly due to a retirement, Stegall said.

In a news release, Stegall said it was a "sad day" for Elgin. "These actions, while difficult, are necessary to preserve the city's long term financial health and will not prevent the city form continuing to provide the same high level of service to the community."

Later, he added: "My thoughts are with the people that are impacted by this. They were all quality people."

Stegall said he'll be introducing a reorganization plan in the next couple of weeks.

"We've done this several times. Like every other organization in this country, more people will have to continue to work harder and harder to pick up the slack of what is left off," he said.

Some positions will be consolidated, while some employees will take on additional duties, he said.

Stegall said he has been working on a workforce reduction plan for the last couple of months. "We focused on areas where the city is most easily able to keep the services intact with fewer people," he said. "There is no science to it."

In December, the city council approved a $268 million budget that contained a reduction-in-force program, with the details left to the city manager, Stegall said. "This was the last piece of the financial puzzle; we're in excellent financial condition now."

This was the third time in five years the city eliminated positions for budgetary reasons, Stegall said.

City Councilman John Prigge said it was a difficult process. "You can't make these cuts and not have it be felt from the citizens all the way up to us as council members," he said.

The city council held a closed-door session on Wednesday, and personnel issues were on the agenda.

• Daily Herald staff writer Tara Garcia Mathewson contributed to this report.

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