Santa Rosa is preparing to lay off four workers in response to the dissolution of its redevelopment agency.
Under a plan to be presented to the City Council Tuesday, the city’s economic development and redevelopment departments would be reorganized to eliminate five full-time positions, one of which is vacant.
An administrative assistant who spends half her time on city’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program will also see that work disappear, though there is a part-time opening in the human resources department she is expected to fill.
The changes have been difficult ones for staff, said Dave Gouin, director of economic development and housing.
“People have worked together to provide services and programs to the community for years, and it’s ending,” Gouin said.
Another change will be the elimination of the department’s deputy director position. Cheryl Woodward, deputy director of economic development and housing who oversaw the city’s parking programs, is retiring in August, and her position will be cut after she leaves. A new position of parking coordinator will be created at a lower salary, while some of her other functions will shift to other employees in the department.
Additional details about the cost savings of the reorganization will be outlined to the council on Tuesday, Gouin said.
Alice Miller, a redevelopment specialist who has worked for the city for about five years, said the changes are taking their toll on employees.
“The morale is in the tank,” Miller said.
Miller, 62, is one of the four employees who’ve been told they are likely to be laid off at the end of the year.
An environmental consultant hired in part because of her knowledge of federal environmental regulations, Miller worked on affordable housing issues and helped manage a federal loan that helped clean up the Airfield Park site.
Miller said she’s not sure what she’s going to do next.
Employees who get laid off can “bump” less senior employees working in similar or lower positions, but Miller hasn’t been with the city long enough to bump anyone, she said. In cases where that is expected to happen, Miller predicts future challenges as people learn new jobs, Miller said.
“It’s going to cause chaos in the work flow,” she said.
The City Council will hold the first of three study sessions Tuesday to discuss the impact of the loss of its redevelopment agency, which occurred Feb. 1 following a state Supreme Court ruling.
You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.