Development workers offered voluntary leavesA slowdown in the housing market has the city of Rosemount looking for ways to cut staff hours in its community development department without eliminating jobs.
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
A slowdown in the housing market has the city of Rosemount looking for ways to cut staff hours in its community development department without eliminating jobs.
On Monday community development director Kim Lindquist offered employees in the department an opportunity to take a voluntary reduction in hours. There were no immediate takers, but Lindquist said she hopes three or four employees will volunteer to take a day off each week.
“I think they’re going to think about it,” Lindquist said this week. “It’s a lifestyle decision so we’ve given them some time to decide and review with their families.”
Lindquist raised the possibility of the leaves at a city council work session last week. She asked council members to continue insurance benefits for any employee who accepts the voluntary reduction. There was no formal vote, but council members supported the idea.
The reductions are not a matter of balancing the city’s budget. City administrator Dwight Johnson said the budget will be fine no matter what happens. But Lindquist said with few development plans coming in and not many new homes to inspect there’s not enough work to go around.
Construction-related work has been down for several years in the community development department. The city had just 88 new residential units last year, down from 237 in 2008 and 143 in 2007. Until now the department had kept employees busy with big projects like an update of the city’s comprehensive plan, but with those projects done the department doesn’t always have enough going on to keep everyone busy.
That could change soon. Lindquist said the city has been getting “nibbles” from developers and there are other signs housing construction will pick up again either later this year or early next year. But even if it does it’s not likely to make a significant difference during this summer’s construction season. Lindquist said her plan would be to evaluate the situation again in a year to see if employees who have accepted a voluntary reduction can be brought back to full time.
“We don’t know when the economy is going to get better,” Lindquist said. “Hopefully sooner than later.”
Lindquist said if no employees accept voluntary reductions she would consider layoffs.