Layoffs Not Needed in Poulsbo

Brynn Grimley writes:

Wednesday was the last day city of Poulsbo employees could sign up for a voluntary separation agreement offered by Mayor Becky Erickson. The voluntary option was offered to limit the number of layoffs needed to balance the city’s budget heading into 2011.

A total of 13 people signed up for the voluntary program, which provides better incentives to leave the city than the severance package offered to employees under union contracts.

Erickson determined in August the city would need to eliminate 10.81 full time equivalent positions. Because more people signed up to leave than what the city needs, lay offs will not be necessary. That means the Poulsbo police officer whose position was on the chopping block at the end of last month when only 10 employees signed up for the program will not be laid off.

Because Erickson received more applications than needed, she will spend the next week determining who goes and who stays.

The city will need to meet its targeted 10.81 staff reduction, but Erickson doesn’t want to approve all 13 departures if that means the city will be left needing to hire some of the positions back because staffing was cut too deep.

She told the council Wednesday she planned to review the impact each employee’s departure would have on the city — including the cost of paying a lump sum for insurance and the predetermined salary amount per employee with the savings the city will realize.

Erickson will report back to the council at its Sept. 8 meeting with a status update.

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