In a move that contradicts the Oakdale City Council’s pledge to evaluate privatization proposals and bids before making any changes, the City of Oakdale issued layoff notices to two public works employees that were in Segment Two of the privatization plan discussed at last Monday’s council meeting.
City Engineer Dave Myers and Public Works Administrative Analyst Anthony Smith were given 30-day notices informing them that their positions had been eliminated by the city.
“We’ll basically be giving those responsibilities to others,” said Interim City Manager Stan Feathers. “Frankly, this is a budget issue. We need to look at what will be trimmed and doesn’t need to me done.”
Mayor Pat Paul said she was aware of the layoffs and the negative image it presented after giving assurances at the July 2 council meeting that none of the moves would be made without making comparisons first.
“Frankly, these two (positions) shouldn’t have been lumped in with the others,” Paul said on Friday when contacted by phone. “These were ‘upper management’ jobs. An internal study showed we were top heavy.”
Operating Engineers Business Representative Michael Eggener disputed that Smith was a “management employee” and said that he was in the same bargaining unit as the rest of the line-level public works employees.
“On its face, this is contrary to what was said in open session,” said Eggener about the layoffs and “Segment Two” of the proposal being implemented. “City leaders had an ‘all hands’ meeting with public works yesterday (July 5) and told us no layoff notices would come out until after the RFP process.”
Feathers said that Operations Manager Dee Tatum would oversee the public works department.
With Myers’ departure, engineering duties will be contracted out as needed.
For more of this story, look to the July 11 edition of The Leader.