leaders have confirmed significant changes to the village’s community development department, including the elimination of one senior position, and plans to leave the director position unfilled.
The department, which deals with new developments in the village, as well as code enforcement, has been in flux since the former director, Jane Tompkins, . Trustees have discussed just what to do with the department in several closed-door meetings since.
Village leaders confirmed that the position of community development director will not be filled, and the senior planner position was eliminated. This, leaders say, is the only layoff planned, and leaves the department with three employees: a planner, a building inspector/code enforcement officer and an administrative assistant.
Jamie Belongia, the assistant to the village manager, has been placed in charge of the department, village leaders confirmed. It is unclear whether her salary will rise as a result of the additional duties. Village trustees said they would likely authorize the hiring of additional code enforcement officers as needed.
This is the first time Montgomery has eliminated positions since the budget cuts of 2009, in which six employees lost their jobs.
Trustee Stan Bond said the cuts were made because, with the real estate market still in flux, the demands for the community development department’s services have lessened. The move is also a cost-cutting measure, Bond said. Village officials confirmed that cutting the senior planner position will save $102,470 in salary and benefit costs.
Bond said the decision was not an easy one.
“Adjustments like this need to happen as the level of demand on the department expands and constricts,” he said. “The department has to respond to market realities.”
Village President Marilyn Michelini confirmed the changes, and said the remaining staff is “adequate for the amount of work coming across their desks.” She said she does not expect development to return to the level it was before the recession hit, and added that hiring a new community development director is “off the table totally.”
Trustee Andy Kaczmarek said he supported the changes, and added that the village would have the ability to expand the department again if development picks up.
“The people we have in the department are high quality and high caliber,” said Trustee Matt Brolley, “and will do positive things for our business and code enforcement operations.”
Trustees expect to get their first look at the FY 2013 budget next month. The fiscal year begins on May 1.