WatchSonoma Watch

Santa Rosa prepares layoffs in wake of redevelopment’s end


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 kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com.

15 Responses to “Santa Rosa prepares layoffs in wake of redevelopment’s end”

  1. Money Grubber says:

    Another day of news not reported by the Press Democrat.

    The City of Los Angeles, yesterday, announced that although it had promised pay raises to 20,000 public employees… uh…. the City cannot make good because its out of cash.

    They are also laying off 350 court employees within two months. Why? Because the government cannot understand how to manage their money. Stupid, greedy bureaucrats.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. bear says:

    Nobody started their comment with the statement I requested: “I have a job, I spend money in the local economy, and I pay the taxes I owe.”


    I support all jobs. If you want to debate how they’re created, I’ll listen.

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  3. Jim Bennett says:

    Set the Free Market free, let the market develop jobs and fill THEIR DREAMS, not your oppressive ‘Smart Growth’ nightmares.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  4. Canthisbe says:

    “When you all get around to actually studying economics, you might admit that every job is a good job”
    Not if you get higher than an F or “Fail” in econ.
    “In total, the DOE’s Loan Program Office, which oversees loan guarantees, reports that as of September 26, 2011, the $38.6 billion in funds set aside under the program are supposed to create some
    65,000 jobs. That works out to about $600,000 per job. Although that figure itself is quite large, according to a review of the DOE’s records by the Washington Post, however, of the approximately $19 billion loaned out so far, a total of 3,545 jobs have been
    created. That comes to over $5 million per job.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  5. Bobby says:

    These jobs could have been saved if the city wasnt spending over $1.5 million to cover up there wrongful termination lawsuit of Police Capt. Mitchel. Its time to fire the city attorney who is using tax payer dollars to fund her personal agenda. Fire the city council members to that just voted behind close doors to spend another $100,000 so the city isnt exposed.

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  6. Canthisbe says:

    “Intended for “economic development,” R[e]D[evelopment] A[gencies]s quickly became the bread-and-butter of almost every pay-to-play construction project in the state. Developers would give money to local politicians, and those politicians would use the RDAs, and their powers of eminent domain, to obtain land for their campaign contributors on the cheap.

    Developers then made millions building upscale shopping malls like Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. Everybody won … except the free market and taxpayers.”


    Classic example of big government taking a good idea and then expanding it, abusing and exploiting it for personal gain at the expense of the people.

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  7. taxpayer says:

    Welcome to the real world.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 6

  8. Follower says:

    There’s only ONE type of “job” I can think of were “every job is a good job” and the only time it has anything to do with economics is when there’s a hooker involved.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

  9. Fiscal Conservative says:

    There is nothing more humiliating to a family that to lose the ability to provide for themselves.
    I have sympathy for all american families that are struggling through the colapse.

    I think we will be better off with the redevelopment agency desolved. For the past 20 years I have heard about the great redevelopment of our town and nothing positive happens. When the funding is lost, every special interest in the County comes forward and tells that they have been eating at the taxpayer hog trough and soon won’t be so fat, so please help them with donations?

    I simply want my hard earned taxes to pay for the basic services that are needed, not special interests, agenda’s and social re-engineering.

    Thumb up 29 Thumb down 5

  10. Jim says:

    Why is this news? Private businesses lay off people all the time when the business hits hard times. Government created the hard times for themselves by creating unnecessary departments and unneeded employees. There are thousands upon thousands of government workers that are completely unnecessary. These four positions, or five as the article says (have to include a ‘vacant’ position as a cut for some reason) should have been eliminated decades ago.

    The part the isn’t mentioned is the pension these people have “earned”. So even though their positions have been eliminated, as long as they are vested, the MORON taxpayers will continue to pay these people for years to come. no mention of that in the article.

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  11. Harry Callahan says:

    Crocodile tears are flowing for these city employees to be laid off. Only government can come up with 5 layoffs when 4 actual employees are being laid off.

    Why is the director of the department being retained when the department is being eliminated?

    All of this is slight of hand by the government. Private sector companies lay people off every day and the world goes on. The laid off find jobs or go on unemployment. We don’t read articles in the paper about how it all impacts workflows and causing chaos.

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  12. Backfire says:

    All the stories are propaganda.

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  13. bear says:

    Let’s hear it! Another waste of taxpayer funds unemployed!

    When you all get around to actually studying economics, you might admit that every job is a good job.

    People with jobs spend money at local businesses and pay taxes.

    Before you pile on, I want every one of you to begin your comment with: “I have a job, I spend money in the local economy and I pay the taxes I owe”

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  14. Follower says:

    “People have worked together to provide services and programs to the community (re-distribute their neighbors’ wealth) for years, and it’s ending,” Gouin said.

    It’s almost too good to be true!

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 10

  15. Money Grubber says:

    The re-development agencies are gone.

    Get on with the layoffs without your usual government moaning and whining.

    And when the voters deny Gov Jerry Brown his tax increases next November, be prepared to cut again. You should be working on that right now.

    You government idiots are so lazy its pathetic.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 17

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