Mayor Cooper announces hiring freeze across all city departments

Updated with additional details about positions affected.

Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper announced Friday that he is ordering an immediate hiring freeze to address the projected 2011 budget shortfall. Cooper said he made the decision based on the latest projections from the city’s interim finance director.

“Conditions at the end of the first quarter, coupled with the recent report from the Edmonds Public Facilities District showing that we may spend up to a $300,000 over our budget this year, are cause for concern,” Cooper said.

The announced hiring freeze, communicated in a memo to the Edmonds City Council Friday, will apply to every city department, including police and parks. “As we continue to rebuild for a strong future, it is important to maintain our reserves and make wise decisions even if they are painful and difficult,” Cooper said.

The freeze won’t apply to the City’s Finance Director position, the mayor said. Positions that will go unfilled include two positions in the police department, one in the clerk’s office, one in facilities, one in development services and two seasonal positions in parks.

“With unemployment over 9 percent, city government must use caution and be responsible with our citizens’ tax dollars,” Cooper said.

  1. I agree with you Ron…the economy has been in bad shape for 2 years…now all of a sudden he decides to put a freeze on hiring???? They always want to stick it to the property owners so they can operate as usual but I think public sentiment has changed and taxpayers are hurting too and from the sounds of it-the economy isn’t improving yet. I certainly will not vote for a levy under the current conditions both in the economy and the way this city is managed.

  2. It’s a good thing we are proceeding with a new finance director. The salary for a new director will be in the $100k range and the cost for the interum director when annualized is around $290k.

  3. It’s interesting to read all the responses and see how a few preceive to address the problems.
    Are any of you “know it all’s” going to run for office and get everything fixed?
    Or are you just going to snipe from the gallery.

  4. Mike, I have two questions for you.

    (1) Do you think that only candidates and elected officials are entitled to complain or offer suggestions about city government?

    (2) What do you think about people who complain about what others are posting, yet add no substantial content of their own?

  5. Ron B,

    In your words, “The voters have heard this crap for the last ten years – they aren’t buying it any more”. If memory serves, Mayor Cooper has been in office for about a year. In fairness to Cooper, he is taking a step to address problems that he inherited.

    I see this as an important first step to addressing the city’s expense problem. It remains to be seen what additional steps Mayor Cooper intends to take before the election in November.

  6. Bill and Paul:

    If you’re a regular reader of this site then you should be well aware that some specific and valid proposals for expense cuts have been made by some of us, including by Ron B. What we’ve seen from council so far is what Ron said in his last post: “Keep in mind he and our council members have not even been willing to discuss expenses to date – only how they are going to sell another levy to the voters.”

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