More Monkey Business with Admin Layoffs

Well, we called this move. In our October 1 tag-team presentation to Council during Business from the Floor, Alicia, Quené, and I closed with these words:

While it is clear that none of this will undo the wrongs that have been done, perhaps bringing it into the light will prevent similar bad acts from occurring during the impending layoffs. And we certainly hope we do not see elimination of the additional Admin Assistant positions created to protect the new HR Analyst. That would be the Executive Team’s ultimate backhand to the rules set forth in the Municipal Code. As Councilmember Stone would say, “Disgusting.”

Sure enough, the following day, the new layoff seniority list was published. And what did it include? Elimination of one of the two brand new Admin Assistant positions created in July to protect the least senior member of the citywide admin staff. The net result is that yet another senior admin staff member will take a double hit, from Admin Analyst I to Admin Assistant to Police Records Technician II, complete with a second pay cut. The protected employee is now two full classifications higher than her.

Here is an old chart showing the various positions within the Administrative Career ladder (we do not have the new one, if it even exists) so you can follow along: Admin Career Ladder

We suppose the next logical move will be to reclassify the remaining ‘extra’ Admin Assistant position to Office Assistant, to get back to a zero sum game. But stand by, there’s more…

Also notable among the current admin layoffs is the elimination of the two remaining Office Assistant III positions. The more senior of these two employees will be transferred from Engineering and demoted to an existing .74 FTE Office Assistant II position in Fire; this will reduce both her pay and her hours.

(As an aside, the current occupant of the position in Fire was just bumped in July from Admin Assistant in Planning, down two full classifications to Office Assistant II, with a double pay cut and a bonus 26% reduction in hours. She will be bumped all the way out the door during this round. Nice…)

The less senior Office Assistant III currently serves as receptionist and clerical support for the City Manager and City Clerk. In fact, after the July layoffs, she is the only general clerical employee on the entire 3rd floor. The new layoff seniority list demotes her to Office Assistant II and reduces her from full-time to half-time, resulting in a reduction of both pay and hours, but leaving her in her current job.

Now, we know and like all of these women, so our opinions about the position shifts are not intended to be personal. We are, however, going to go out on a limb and make a call as to what will come next with that 3rd floor position.

This gets a bit convoluted, so please bear with us. If you are trying to wrap your head around the not-really-very-fun games that are being played internally, this is important stuff.

Here’s the first question: Do any of you believe that a single half-time, low-level clerical employee can provide sufficient support for both the City Manager and City Clerk offices? Something is beginning to smell…

Because we are former employees, we know where to look for information that might appear meaningless to anyone on the outside. We requested and received the current year’s Personnel Allocation Worksheets (PAWs), which are documents used to prepare the budget. These documents do not reflect current staffing; rather, they anticipate staffing as it will exist at some point during the fiscal year.

There is no Office Assistant position whatsoever in either the City Manager or City Clerk PAWs. Instead, there is a brand new job classification of “Executive CSA” that we think probably means Customer Service Assistant or something of that nature. The Executive CSA is budgeted 50% each to City Manager/City Clerk, as is the current position; however, the budgeted salary is 5% higher than the top pay for the Office Assistant III classification. The smell is getting worse…

So you might be asking yourself at this point, why demote the only 3rd floor general clerical employee and cut her hours by half? The answer lies in the personnel reduction rules set forth in Chico Municipal Code Section 2R.72.

Had the 3rd floor Office Assistant III position been left intact, the more senior of the two employees would have had bumping rights to it [a position she previously held for many years], and the less senior employee would have been bumped out to Fire. Of course, that would be unacceptable in this new era of personalities before positions, so the 3rd floor position had to be adjusted, at least temporarily, to be less desirable than the position in Fire. That would be the only way to achieve the desired effect of keeping the less senior employee on the 3rd floor. Have you caught a whiff of it yet?

After the July layoffs were completed, we watched in dumbstruck awe as the least senior admin employee in the entire City, who had been protected from layoff by creation of additional Admin Assistant positions, got promoted without notice or an opportunity for others to compete. As we mentioned in our earlier post, this move put her in a higher classification than other qualified employees with far more seniority.

Our guess is we will see that happen again, once this round of layoffs is complete. We bet five bucks the 3rd floor position will be restored to full-time and reclassified to the new “Executive CSA” position, from which the incumbent cannot be bumped. That would really stink.

More of the new efforts at transparency and morale building….


Photo credit:


Posted on October 10, 2013, in Layoffs, Truth vs Lies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I could not be more disgusted than I currently am. Until I read your next post, that is. Unbelievable that they are getting away with this.

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