New city manager Pete Pyrzenski is asking the Commerce City Council to approve structural changes in the city’s police and utility departments, as well as its recreation and library structures.
The council will likely act on Pyrzenski’s recommendations at its regular meeting Monday night at 6:30 in the Commerce Room of the Commerce Civic Center, but they got a preview of his plans at this past Monday’s work session.
“We looked at consolidation, focusing on the effectiveness of each department and its efficiencies,” said Pryzenski as a slide show demonstrated the proposed new organizational structure for the departments.
Among the changes:
Police department: the elimination of the captain’s position, along with that of the forensic technician, the transfer of a detective to the uniformed patrol division, and the hiring of two uniformed patrol officers and a canine officer. “We will be recruiting for a minority officer. We will be recruiting for female officers,” the city manager said. Pyrzenski said the additional hires are necessary to bolster the night shift, and he indicated a desire to have officers assigned to the city’s wards to encourage people to get to know the officers.
Public Works: The department is taking over water and sewer construction duties, increasing its workforce from five to 17 employees to give it the resources to tackle more and varied projects. “It’s going to be very efficient for us,” Pryzenski promised, adding that the employees “are very excited” about the change.
Parks and recreation and library: Recreation director Scott Rodgers will also oversee the staff of the Commerce Public Library. Pryzenski pointed out that library and recreation personnel on their own have already started coordinating on activities, and said the move “lends itself to consolidating ideas, putting on a bigger scale and offering programs that we can take advantage of.” Basically, the move would allow the recreation department to “pull from eight library staff members,” who Pryzenski said “are excited” and “already engaged” in the plan. A recreation secretary position will be expanded to “recreation coordinator,” but the current secretary opted not to take that position, Pryzenski said.
Utility departments: Current Electric Department director Sammy Ingram will oversee all of the departments, whose directors will report to him.
The plan also calls for the eventual creation of a “community improvement director” to whom the Downtown Development Authority, Planning and Zoning, the Commerce Civic Center and code enforcement personnel would report. “We’ll bring that position on when we’re ready financially,” Pyrzenski said.
Those changes, the manager promised, will produce a net savings by the end of the year of $19,700, and will save the General Fund $120,000 over the next fiscal year.
Gift Cards Instead Of Christmas Bonuses
The current budget had a $35,000 line item for Christmas budgets, but Pyrzenski proposes to trim that expense to $4,600 by offering employees gift cards valued at $25 to $100, depending on employee tenure instead.
“With the uncertainty of collections at this point, I would not recommend going in and allocating Christmas bonuses at this time,” he told the council.
In addition, Pryzenski proposes establishing an “employee of the month” program, with the winners chosen by an “employee relations council” and given $100 gift cards.
Mayor Clark Hill noted that city employees have gone a long time without raises.
“At some point, we’re going to have to begin looking (at raises),” he said. “We can’t go seven years with no cost-of-living raise.”
Pyrzenski said the city “can’t make the commitment” at the present, but said, “If we hold the line and make it through February or March and are still charting as expected, we shouldn’t have a problem.”
Changes In YardSale Regulations
Also on the agenda for Thursday night are two proposed changes in the regulation of yard sales.
The first will do away with the 24-hour-advance requirement and will allow those wishing to hold sales to get a permit as late as 4 p.m. on the day before the event. The second would double the number of yard sales permitted at any address from two per year to one every quarter.
Other business on Monday’s agenda includes:
•approval of a $1,056 contract with Windstream for technology upgrades at City Hall
•approval of a $96,293 contract with Tim Nunn General Contracting to renovate bathrooms at Ridling Field, the swimming pool, the main recreation office, and at American Veterans Park
•renewal of alcoholic beverage licenses for 2013
•an amendment to the city zoning ordinance to allow bakeries under the home occupations classification
•discussion of a proposal to annex “islands” of unincorporated land into the city
•the appointment of Jim Davis, Gina Hagan and Adam Brown to the DDA to replace David Sanders, Chris Bray and Tricia Massey, whose terms are expiring and who do not wish to be re-appointed
•approval of a “memorandum of understanding” with the Department of Community Affairs related to the city’s continued participation in the Main Street program