Bexley axes department head jobs; no other cuts expected

Bexley is eliminating two department head positions, in technology and building services, but Mayor John Brennan, who took office in January, does not anticipate any further personnel cuts this year.

Brennan has decided to eliminate the positions of director of technology, held by Bill Minckler, and director of building services, held by David Long.

Minckler’s salary is $82,642 a year, and Long is paid $74,302 a year.

Both positions are being cut as a cost-saving measure for a city that faced a $1 million budget deficit in 2008.

Neither position existed when he served on City Council 12 years ago, Brennan noted, and council has been pushing for budget reductions.

"I’ve spent three months looking at this and saw these as the areas where we could try to be frugal and trim," Brennan said.

He expects that most of their duties will be handled by remaining employees.

The "nuts and bolts" work of keeping the city’s technology system running is handled by Russ Halsey, with Minckler taking on the strategic planning, Brennan said.

Long supervised building projects in the city and made code enforcement inspections. These and other duties will be given to current staff.

Even with repairs ongoing at Jeffrey Mansion, and the city moving toward the construction of a new police station, Brennan is confident that the remaining staff, including Service Director Bill Harvey, can handle the workload.

The effective dates of termination have not been determined.

Brennan does not anticipate much savings this year, as both employees are being offered severance packages, which they have three weeks to accept.

But he anticipates that this move, along with other budget reductions, will cut into the deficit figure.

"I saw fat when I came in, and I would be remiss" not to act on his campaign pledge to reduce spending, Brennan said.

The city has been reducing its hiring of outside consultants as another cost-cutting effort, Brennan said.

City Council President Matt Lampke pointed out that the city is using its new attorney as a prosecutor in mayor’s court, and the operation is expected to break even rather than running in the red.

"The city needs to look at any cost-saving measures it can," Lampke said.

The technology department was one area Lampke said he considered for reductions during his mayoral campaign.

Brennan has had discussions with council members about cost-cutting, Lampke said, adding that the authority to eliminate unclassified positions rests with the mayor.

Brennan said he has assured employees in the service department and other areas that no further jobs cuts are planned.

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