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Thread: Question about Public (Municipal) Planning

  1. #1
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    Question about Public (Municipal) Planning

    Hey all,

    Random (and stupid, but I'm only a sophmore in college so bear with me...) question for y'all.

    Do city planners (meaning those that work directly for a municipality in Current, Advanced or whatever planning departments) work under "billable hours" as do consultants?

    Meaning that do planners record their every activity during the day (presumably on a time card or similar) and how many hours it took to complete the task, which is then used to bill "clients" (the city council, grants or wherever funding comes from)?

    Or do planners, receiving their funding from various public coffers, simply conduct their work as dictated, using whatever time neccessary to complete the task (with respect to deadlines of course), and go about their way?

    Just curious.

  2. #2
    maudit anglais
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    Typical planning answer: It depends

    One public sector job I had, I had to record time spent on various activities - mainly for attendence reasons (we had flex-time), but also for strategic reasons to document how much time we spent on development review v. projects.

    Right now, I'm paid by the hour but I don't keep track of anything.

    I wouldn't think a public-sector planner would work under a "billable hours" scenario, unless of course part of their job description was to bring in grant money, etc.

  3. #3
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    Cool deal - thanks for the info!

  4. #4

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    Not usually. Most (that I am familiar with) work for a salary. Although, our junior level THEORETICALLY works for an hourly wage and is compensated for overtime.

    My very first job in Tennessee, we DID have to fill out a time card and estimate the hours spent on each project or activity.

    I assume you are talking only about public sector employment.

    Edit: Our development review (planning) fees are based on an estimate of the average number of hours a planner spends on a typical project of each application type.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    It varies by department and projects.

    Our county planning department tracks time spent on projects by the 1/2 hour in a program that allows us to then bill for reimbursable costs associated with grants we administer.

    While we do track work with do with/for our municipalies, we don' t bill them.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Exempt or non-exempt that is the question....

    Most Planners that work for a City or County or State or Feds..... will be considered exempt (FLSA defines this...as professional positions). Exempt employees tend to be on salary and are expected to work extra hours. While exempt employees may sign a time sheet, it mostly shows 8-5 every day, even on days when you were at a night meeting for 6 hours. Non-exempt employees tend to be secretary/clerk/planning techs/admin. ast. and so on.... They are required keep accurate hours and when they go over in hours, they will get overtime or comp time (leave during work hours). Exempt employees sometimes get Administrative leave for extra hours worked (mostly not more than 1 day a month in my experience) or they get higher salaries based on the number of anticipated hours worked (if your smart you'll look for this prior to hire). Also, I think flex hours should be built in to exempt employee schedules.....

    Private Sector- Contract Employment or any mix and match of all of the above (similar to exempt, but you can specialize your schedule)

  7. #7
    Member
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    Thank you all for the thorough (and prompt!) responses. You answered my question completely!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    The last departmetn I worked for billed hourly for developer projects, and wrote off (i.e. taxed) for general administration and citizen contact time.

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