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City of Miami looks to shrink its staff - KOAM TV 7

City of Miami looks to shrink its staff

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The City of Miami, Oklahoma held a luncheon today to address budgetary problems and changes for the next fiscal year.

City employees received a note about today's meeting last month.  It mentioned 'positive processes' in order to reduce the city's workforce in the next year, in which they hope to absorb over 20% of the city's approximate 220 employees.

During the holiday luncheon employees learned about pension shortages, early retirement, hiring freezes and eventual exit incentives.

"We don't get new replacement infrastructure on an ongoing basis, so we're attempting to create capacity in our budget so that we can devote more of our funds to capital improvements," says the City Manager of Miami, Jeff Bishop.  "One of the ways we are going to do that is by shrinking the size of our workforce."

Bishop says ideally he would like to absorb around 50 jobs.  He says those jobs will not come from places like public safety.  Instead they would likely come from areas such as Public Works.
Jerry Campbell is a Public Works employee and says it's too soon to tell how the roughly 20% employee absorption will affect his work.

"It just kind of depends on how they structure it," Campbell says.  "If you get enough help, I can see it working."

In addition to figuring out how the city would get by with a smaller staff, the city is also facing problems with it's pensions.  Currently, due to poor investment performances over the past few years, the city can fund only 66% of it's entire liability.

Bishop says the city is looking at several options to fix the problem.

"One option is to increase the money they contribute or increase the amount the city contributes, but that's a budget issue and would require a budget capacity that we don't have," says Bishop.

Bishop says other options include not doing it themselves anymore and joining with larger pension funds.  But, at least for now, Cambell's not too concerned about that.

"I haven't even looked into that - I've got too many years to go," Campbell says.

To sweeten the deal for employees to attend the mandatory meeting on the budget the city offered an extra $100 on top of holiday bonuses.

Some exit incentives would be offered for separation of employment.  For example, Bishop says the city may offer a cash bonus for the amount of half of their annual salary.

He also says new hires would likely come internally to help reach their job reduction goals.

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