PTC cuts 4 more jobs in building dept.

Thu, 04/02/2009 - 8:52pm
By: John Munford

PTC cuts 4 more jobs

Despite concerns about a reduction in building safety and service levels, the Peachtree City Council tonight approved eliminating four positions from the city’s building department.

The move, combined with the retirement of Assistant City Manager Colin Halterman, will save approximately $400,000, officials have said. The move comes as the city is facing what months ago was projected as a $3.5 million shortfall in the 2009-2010 budget, and the city saved $940,000 by eliminating 23 landscaping and maintenance positions last month.

Plan examiner Art Bernard, who is one of the employees whose job is being eliminated, addressed council before its vote on the matter. He suggested having fewer staff would lead reviews to be sped up, perhaps at the sacrifice of building safety.

“If you hurry up to get the job done, guess what you get? Inferior inspections,” Bernard said.

McMullen noted that building official Tom Carty would be resuming Bernard’s role as plan examiner and that a stormwater employee would also be available to help pick up the slack when building inspections pick back up again. That stormwater employee previously handled building inspections and has the necessary training to do so, McMullen said.

And when large-scale projects start getting underway again, McMullen said he would recommend at that time the city hire a temporary building inspector to handle those duties.

Bernard also challenged the city’s figures on commercial building activity, noting that he has 25 commercial projects being overseen. For example, Bernard said one particular inspection on a project such as the Hilton Garden Inn took three inspectors all day to complete.

“The statistics presented do not reflect the actual workload in man hour correlations,” Bernard said.

Bernard added that he didn’t say the cuts weren’t necessary, but he felt they were “too deep.”

McMullen noted that the recommended staff cuts were developed by having two different people devise a new organizational chart for developmental services, which includes the building department. One of the plans was developed by acting developmental services director David Rast and the other was put together by the former Fulton County developmental services director as a favor to McMullen.

Ironically both new organizational charts were exactly the same, McMullen noted.

Several other developers spoke, noting how important the city’s building inspectors are in increasing building safety both in structure and design.

McMullen said he has told Rast that if there are any problems with the smaller workforce such as getting backlogged as inspections, he wants to be informed about it.

Mayor Harold Logsdon said the decision wasn’t easy, “but we’ve got to balance our budget.”

The vote to approve the job eliminations was unanimous.

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Submitted by windowpane on Sat, 04/04/2009 - 11:44pm.

Can someone tell me what Colin did? He always seemed to be smiling at any meeting I attended w/ him. I thought it was because he was happy to have a job.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Tue, 04/07/2009 - 4:44am.

This was after they found 2 city employees using city equipment at some other location to conduct their personal business. Not sure exactly what they were doing but it was on Colin's watch and he was clueless about it. When they determined that firing him would result in a huge lawsuit, they kicked him upstairs to the newly created just for him job of Asst. City Manager so he could get his years in and retire quietly.

You notice they aren't replacing him.

Somehow this is all probably Steve Brown's fault, but I can't prove it.

CCB's picture
Submitted by CCB on Sat, 04/04/2009 - 8:14pm.

Their not done yet. I have to admit, even I'm wondering whether the city can make a decent go of it with all the job cutting.

A bunch of us who support Harold are kind of sad about the way things are going. Art did a darn good job and I always enjoyed working with him. If he ever found something on your drawings, he'd let you know in a professional way.

Thanks for the great work Art and good luck.

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Sat, 04/04/2009 - 8:21am.

It is a shame that Bernie and the Council are doing this to him. I predict that there will be further cuts and none of them will involve any positions "close" to the council or Bernie. This is the beginning of the end. What a shame!

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Sat, 04/04/2009 - 12:57pm.

Art inspected my fence he seemed like prety decent guy. We should fire Bernie and promote Art.

matt.barnes's picture
Submitted by matt.barnes on Sat, 04/04/2009 - 12:59pm.

On the other hand... Not having any inspectors might be a good thing. Because it will make building anything in PTC such a pain in the butt that developers won't be interested in working here.

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