City personnel costs have risen to FY 2012 levels

The difference in how Mayor Ashton Hayward has managed his personnel costs between his first and second terms is stark.

In his first full budget year (FY 2012), Mayor Hayward and his chief of staff, John Asmar, had each department submit plans to cut back their budgets. Even then his total payroll was $36.491 million and his total personnel costs were $62.1 million. (This figures are available in the FY 2017 budget proposal)

In FY 2013, City Administrator Bill Reynolds tackled the budget and helped Hayward cut the payroll by about $1.2 million.

In FY 2014, the city transferred its 36 library employees to the county under City Administrator Colleen Castille. Payroll dropped to $33.98 million and total personnel cost was $59.19 million.

During his first term, Hayward’s goal was to cut personnel costs, and the reduction became an accomplishment he touted in his re-election campaign.

Since then, the size of city government and its payroll no longer appear to be priorities. Mayor Hayward often refers to how the city has fewer employees than when he took office, but fails to mention how his personnel costs have creeped back up.

In FY 2015, the triumvirate of CFO Dick Barker, COO Tamara Fountain and Asst. City Administrator Eric Olson took over after Castille resigned. Hayward named Olson his city administrator in March 2015. Fountain resigned in late July 2015. Payroll jumped to $34.36 million, total personnel costs to $60.71 million.

In FY 2016 budget, the payroll and total personnel costs jumped nearly $2 million. Pay raises were doled out without an objective job performance evaluation system in place. People were hired without experience and paid as if they had it –and often compensated at levels higher than their more veteran predecessors. We’ve already reported how overtime at the fire department has far exceeded its original budget.

The proposed FY 2017 budget has further payroll increases.

Even though Mayor Hayward has 67 fewer employees than he had in FY 2012, his proposed payroll budget is only $84,503 less than six years ago. His overall personnel costs are up $890,620 over the same period.

The total personnel cost per city employee have increased from $73,855 per authorized employee in FY 2012 to $81,339 for next year.

The median household incomes of the people served by the city is $46,424.

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