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Thread: Cutbacks and layoffs: are you concerned?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    Cutbacks and layoffs: are you concerned?

    I have heard of a couple of planning staff cut backs, probably due to the economy and housing crash. How are things looking in your neck of the woods?
    WALSTIB

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Although I am not graduating in Spring with my incoming class there are definitely less opportunities for a freshly minted planner this year than there was last year at this time. I am finishing in December and am wondering what my outlook is going to look like, fortunately I have a decent job but its not what I want to do long term.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    My municipality is currently under a hiring and promotions freeze. This sucks for me in particular because I was the last person to be hired in our department before the freeze was implemented and if it should come down to staff cuts, I would probably be among the first to go.

    Luckily, we have a few part-time people who have announced they are going to retire soon and I think that would probably free up a little money and make staff cuts less likely. And there are also a couple full-time folks who are rumored to be retiring before the end of the year.

    I finish my master's degree this fall and am hoping that the hiring freeze has been lifted by that time so that I would be able to get promoted or moved into a more challenging position but the scuttlebutt around the county is that the freeze is going to be a long one. If it's still in place at the start of 2009, I may have to begin looking elsewhere.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    Dan

    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    I've down and out with the flu for the better part of the past month, but I did hear about Dan losing his job. Planning jobs are really hard to come by in NE Ohio. When I lost my last job in '01 I was a lineman (stood in the unemployment line) for six months and was just about to tap my IRA's when I landed this position. Looking for work was a long, grueling and at times disheartening process. Not for sissies.
    WALSTIB

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    We do not have any cutbacks in the jurisdiction I work for, but the budget I requested for the next two years is really bare bones. The City of Atlanta just shed over 400 jobs and decided to terminate another 400 open position. They are in a rough patch financially due to the current housing market as well as some mishaps made by their Finance staff. I feel for my collegues who work there right now, morale is very low.
    Satellite City Enabler

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    My municipality is currently under a hiring and promotions freeze. This sucks for me in particular because I was the last person to be hired in our department before the freeze was implemented and if it should come down to staff cuts, I would probably be among the first to go.
    You might be surprised. The lay offs I mentioned in the other thread, 71 people where I used to work, were almost all long-term employees, many of them having been there 15-20 years or more. I haven't heard of even one person with less than 5 years being included.

    Our local school district, and several state universities, have announced that they will be laying off staff and eliminating unfilled positions before the next school year. Again, many long-term employees, even teachers, will be getting the ax.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Should I be nervous?

    My municipality is not looking at cutbacks, and I''m pretty secure in the position I'm in -- even considering our union is working sans contract right now (who knows when those negotiations will even get close?!).
    Now, I've been keeping my eyes open for other opportunities. Should I be worried about applying elsewhere and accepting a job, only to be low man on the totem pole if cutbacks come along soon?
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    What me worry?

    Quote Originally posted by RandomPlanner... View post
    Should I be worried about applying elsewhere and accepting a job, only to be low man on the totem pole if cutbacks come along soon?
    It's health always to be worried. I tell young planners that the first thing to do when you get a job is update your resume.
    WALSTIB

  10. #10
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    We have finished next fiscal year's budget. No lay offs are proposed but it's a bare bones budget. We've been in a hiring freeze for about a year with the exception of essential staff. I'm still authorized to fill a vacant transportation planner position.

    Edit: The 2% across the board raise remains in the budget.
    I think that one of the great signs of security is the ability to just walk away.

  11. #11
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I've shared my plight with some of the other moderators, but I'll throw it out here now.

    Our department is in a state of upheaval. We are not experiencing cutbacks; we are just losing employees left and right. As of today, we have the following positions vacant:

    Director (vacant for eight months)
    Chief Planner (vacant for a month)
    Senior Planner (vacant for nine months)
    Planner (vacant for nine months)

    THe City Manager also ran off in December; our new CM started four days ago.

    Our department at full staff is seven real planners, a department secretary and our community development (CDBG) manager. Right now, we have only three real planners, and one of them is the interim director. It is budget preparation season right now, which means there's only two of us running the planning side of things in a fast-growing, highly regulated (by Texas standards), city of 50,000.

    As the remaining Senior Planner, have absorbed the workload of the Chief Planner, other Senior Planner, part of the Planner, and some of the DIrector duties. No raise. No compensation. No nothing. Our Interim Director, though I like him, has done a bad job with workload distribution, morale, personnel issues, etc.

    I applied for the internal posting of Chief Planner yesterday. If they don't automatically hire me quickly after it closes (all indications are that they will), then I'm applying for the Director position in the Town Next Door. I may apply for it anyway because I like the staff there (I've developed strong professional relationships with them and one has asked me to apply).

    I feel awful, because I am in a much better position than planners in many other states. Central Texas is doing its usual thing of bucking real estate trends. My advice to planners facing layoffs that are willing to relocate, is to look toward Texas.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    We're doing Ok here. No cutbacks. It's a small office (8 people), and I hired for two new positions last year. One of them is a temporary position that I expected to last for only a year due to the housing crunch, but it was funded again for the coming fiscal year. One reason is that our city has been very conservative in its budgeting and hiring, so we have not burned through all of our money. We have been accumulating a surplus for when the budget crunch comes and are in good shape. The crunch is expected to come around 2011, but by then we should have new revenue sources available to take up some (most) of the slack. Urban Renewal sunsets in 2014 and that will give us a major boost in revenue (they skim off the top of the allowed total property tax rate).

  13. #13
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Despite the housing slow down and our location right in the middle of the Colorado foreclosure captial, we have a very conservative finance group and actually are better off than most communities in the area despite our lack of sales tax revenues.
    In fact, they created my position in the midst of all this last fall and I am here for a while (or at least until I go crazy...)

    Admittedly, some days have been boring, but there is plenty of work as developers are passing the time "speculating" on properties and inquiring about every detail....
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    We are going ok here. In fact I just replaced my Development Official with no problem. In other places I've been reduced to part-time. I ended up working full-time in an adjacent jurisdiction and continued on part time at the other place. I've also been forced to lay-off people and had severe budget cuts in my previous job. We also kept a position open at the same place because of lack of work.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    We havea hiring freeze with 3 vacancies- not great but not as bad as some places. We just got an influx of funding for FY 09 so I think the hiring freeze will be lifted.

  16. #16
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    California is at the bottom of the recession and with a State deficit our municipality was forced to cut 5% from each department's expenditures (which was 2 planning positions for our department)

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