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Roseville Layoffs update

By: Megan Wood- The Press Tribune
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Roseville city employees began receiving layoff notices last week as city officials attempt to close the $6.5 million gap for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Megan MacPherson, Roseville communications manager, said that the city has seen a $21 million decrease in general fund revenue since 2007 and has reduced the city’s budget by $14.5 million. Before making layoff decisions city officials defunded a total of 89 positions, saving the budget $10 million. In addition, with the city’s early retirement incentive approaching May 15, there is a potential for 50 more positions to be left vacant. MacPherson said other cuts include suspension of 2009 raises, reduction of overtime and travel expenses, training, materials and supplies. “After all of those cuts and reductions we are still facing a $6.5 million gap,” MacPherson said. “The labor costs needed to be addressed, which is where we stand now.” The city is not currently releasing any information regarding the number of employees who will be laid off or which departments or services will be affected. “We are keeping as much information as possible regarding numbers and departments internal until the process is complete,” MacPherson said. “Out of respect for those affected and those still remaining.” According to Kevin Melin, former Roseville employee, approximately 35 employees could potentially be dismissed. “They were very vague with the things they told us," Melin said. “Some employees were given notice that their positions were cut, some weren’t.” Melin, who was told his position was terminated on Thursday morning, said he was both surprised and shocked that after nine years of service, he was out of a job. He said many city staff members had assumed the layoffs would not take place until this week. “No one expected them on Thursday. We were all stunned.” Melin said. Melin worked in the city’s communications division where he filmed and broadcasted city council meetings, committee meetings and weekly updates on the city’s local access channel. Melin said in his division of three employees, Melin and another colleague were suspended. Their supervisor’s position was retained. According to Melin, six city staff positions in various departments were terminated last Thursday. What the final number of layoffs will be is yet unknown due to some employees’ “bumping rights.” If a staff member has worked for the city for a number of years, has worked their way up to the position they currently hold and is facing termination they have the right to “bump” down to another position they previously held that is being retained. “Not everyone has bumping rights. It varies based on the employee and the positions they’ve held,” MacPherson said. “A person has five days to use their bumping rights so until the whole process is complete, we really won’t know how everyone’s affected.” Melin said that city development departments including planning, engineers in the public works department and central services were rumored to be losing people but that every department, with the exception of police and fire, was in jeopardy. “Obviously this was a difficult decision and one had to be made,” said Roseville Mayor Gina Garbolino. City Treasurer Russ Branson will present council with a budget update at Wednesday's city council meeting and budget hearings begin next month. The $6.5 million gap must be closed by the start of the 2009-2010 fiscal year, July 1. “These are difficult times and given the state of organization, these decisions were implemented,” Garbolino said. “My heart goes out to those affected.”