Editor, Ceres Courier,
Kudos to the Ceres City Council for taking the first step towards bringing the city's budget back inline and accepting the fact that the city should operate within its means.
There's no doubt that this is going to be a tough job for new City Manager Toby Wells, whose charged with the task of developing the plan to make sure expenses don't exceed the city's revenues primarily through a re-structure of the organization. Not everyone will be happy in the end.
It's time for a re-organization - in fact, it's long overdue.
Times have changed since the current model was implemented. At that time, budgets were fat, the economy was good and multi-layers of management were a common theme in municipal government.
But, after seven years of an economic downturn, the city needs to look at streamlining operations, reducing inefficiencies and generating revenues through its facilities. Easier said than done.
Giving back employee concessions, thawing out step freezes and hiring a deputy police chief translates into layoffs. Like Mayor Chris Vierra said, "You can't have your cake and eat it too."
People are going to lose their jobs in order to balance the city's budget - no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Personally, I agree with Councilmember Linda Ryno: I would much rather have three cops on the street than a deputy chief in the office.
If Chief Art de Werk thinks it's "such a bad idea" that the deputy police chief's position is necessary and that a continued absence could expose the city to greater liability due to a "lack of proper management oversight," then it makes me question what he is doing in his role as Police Chief and Director of Public Safety. He was absent for nearly two months and the PD has operated without a deputy police chief since March...all seems fine.
For years Ceres operated under a Police Chief and a Fire Chief. Many municipalities still do today. Perhaps the lack of proper management currently stems from the top of public safety. Why else would we have a police lieutenant running the Parks and Recreation Department?
We cannot have a city manager that is also the public works director and the city engineer and expect him to do all three jobs effectively. We tried that with a police chief, and apparently I was overwhelming him (Ceres Courier, March 14).
With all this said, please note that this is my personal view and does not reflect the views of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce or its Board of Directors.
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