Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In Come The Waves: Government Job Layoffs?

From the Sacramento Bee:

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected an increase in building permit fees and instead directed staff members to cut $1.6 million from the Building Services Department budget through layoffs or by transferring employees to jobs in other county departments...The board held out hope that creative solutions would be forthcoming in the next two months that would minimize or avoid layoffs.
...
[Development Services Director Greg] Fuz had proposed a 35 percent increase in building permit fees to compensate for declining revenues caused by a slowdown in housing construction. The demand for building inspection services remains high, he said, but the decline in single-family home construction, the department's largest revenue generator, has created a funding gap.

In 2006-07, $1.6 million from the county's general fund was required to supplement the department's budget, and that figure would increase to $2.2 million in the coming fiscal year without cost cutting or fee increases, Fuz said.

Noting that the demand for services remains high and citing difficulties in recruiting employees in recent years, Fuz said he sought the fee increase to avoid disruption of current services and to be ready to handle an upturn in the housing market.

But representatives of area building industry associations urged the board to reject the fee increase, saying their members are laying off employees and struggling to stay in business.

14 comments:

Cmyst said...

I applaud the county board for a good decision.
When times are good (dot.com and housing bubble) government expands services and hires. But when the bubbles burst, government very rarely wants to cut back on those expansions. Citizens are just as much to blame for this, as they don't want to give up their "perks", either. But the reality is that if I lose 30% of my income, I have to cut back and so should government.

Gwynster said...

I'm really glad to see this. I hope Sacramento county is just as smart.

norcaljeff said...

Cmyst, I couldn't agree more. I just saw that LA County will raise their Chief's pay from $240K to $399K. None of us in the private sector get pay raises like this, why should they get anything better? Any why are we paying for their pension????

Mahala said...

An approval would have been a great way to further dampen construction growth and the economy. Good job.

smf said...

Mark this day in your calendar as the day where a government employee wants to make the right decision. Remarkable.

Now, you have to understand that there are two sets of inspection processes (simplified). First is with the plans, then finally with the finished building. There can be several years elapsed from the time the building process till it ends. So EDH has a nice time lag before the excess gets removed.

Now, where has the money gone? Their salaries, retirements, and other perks. Notice that not many talk about how the private sector gets paid more now? That's because they don't anymore.

It is fairly easy to get a salary over $100K in government service now, which does not include the other perks that come with it.

anon1137 said...

Yuba probes Horton homes
http://www.sacbee.com/103/story/191613.html

Apparently they may have used inadequate foundation bolts.

The Bee says Horton is one the top builders in Sac (the top one last year with 1163 sales); KCRA said in their report last night that Horton was nationally ranked near the bottom (2nd from the bottom?) in terms of quality.

I have a feeling that a good percentage of the stucco box subdivisions that have been slapped up during the past 5-6 years are going to be dilapidated ghettos in less than 10 years.

Gwynster said...

SMF,

Ummm maybe the city and county employees but I can tell you the rack and file at UC are paid quite a bit below even CSU wages. Maybe it's different in the building trades.

Now once you get into the upper admin area? That's a whole other ballgame. It's like comparing an established corporate attorney's salary with recruit straight out of a small law school.

Gov workers come in all stripes like any other profession. Some are paid crazy wages and other (like moi) get very little.

ps. I'd kill for a position over 100k, hell I'd kill for a position over 50k.

RMB said...

Gwynster,

Love your comments. I think you need to look around for a different job. I have no doubt the UC pays terrible, but that doesn't mean the rest of govt does.
I received some salary info on my small town and 18% of the workers were paid over 100K per year with the average somewhere around 68K per year. This does not include benefits and or retirement. If your mobile, you should have no problem finding a lucrative position in a small town govt job.

Gwynster said...

Thanks RMB,

We are looking still, out of the state. The only thing that holds me back that I'm an idealist and really believe in my work. If someone offers me a job in sponsored programs at another univ, I'll have my bags backed and be ready to move within a day.

As long as we are still in the area, we're staying put at UC. I would be very uncomfortable in private industry knowing how the local economy is about to get rocked.

I remember looking for a job after the dot.com bust. I took a 2/3 pay cut just to get a foot into UC. Yes, is hurt but it was better then collecting unemployment and I was contributing something to community instead of just sucking up resources - told you I was an idealist >; )

norcaljeff said...

Gwyn, there's not high paying jobs in the idealistic line of work :) I know from experience.

Gwynster said...

Damn I missed this piece, it was buried on the SacBee site

Housing activists tour homes
Rancho Cordova sales site is target of a rally.
http://www.sacbee.com/142/story/186981.html

"Everything you want. Everything you need.

That's the slogan for the Sorrento at Anatolia, a Rancho Cordova subdivision off Sunrise Boulevard.

But some think that slogan falls short in a region where few working-class people can advance into homeownership.

On Saturday, a few dozen protesters swept into Sorrento to remind developers about the wants and needs of those who cannot afford their half- million-dollar homes."

smf said...

"Gov workers come in all stripes like any other profession. Some are paid crazy wages and other (like moi) get very little."

That is true. But as others have mentioned, I was more surprised and upset about those who get paid so much as compared to others. Completely unfair IMHO.

"On Saturday, a few dozen protesters swept into Sorrento to remind developers about the wants and needs of those who cannot afford their half- million-dollar homes."

And these protesters represent the majority of people. And they are all literally priced out of the market.

Gwynster said...

"priced out" That would be me and my schloads of gov paycheck cash >; )

norcaljeff said...

Gwyn, UC pay doesn't look that bad to me :)~
http://tinyurl.com/3cplra