City Manager John Glascock announced he will propose the City of Columbia reduce its workforce by 78.5 full time positions (11 of which are currently filled), part time positions, and temporary help budgets, effective October 1, as part of the 2021 budget. As of June 25, there were 159 full time vacant positions in the city workforce.
The workforce reduction will reduce the personnel budget by $3.8 million, $1.3 million of which is in the General Fund and $2.5 million in Enterprise and Internal Service Funds.
"This is one of the hardest decisions department directors and I have made in recent years. We know how deeply we are affecting valued team members and their families when we reduce positions which are currently filled. We also know that we are asking our already overworked team members to take on even more responsibility, often without additional compensation," Columbia City Manager John Glascock said. "As I mentioned in the State of the City address last month, I asked directors to submit to me budgets which included a ten-percent reduction in spending. With the uncertainties of revenues in the next six months to year, these reductions are prudent to ensure the financial health of the city."
The workforce reduction proposals are dependent on council approval.
In addition to reducing the workforce, after several months of discussion and study, Glascock will recommend to the council that the city not renew the contract with Columbia Public Schools to provide four School Resource Officers (SROs). The current contract expires June 30. In light of conditions posed by the health emergency, CPD determined that transitioning some or all of the SRO positions to the Community Outreach Unit better serves Columbia's interest in community policing. Community Outreach Officers regularly connect with students both at school and out of school, as they circulate through neighborhoods.
On July 24, City Manager Glascock will present his draft budget to the City Council and the public. On August 13, the council will hold a budget work session to discuss budget issues and receive updated financial information from staff. In August and September, a series of public hearings will take place prior to the council adopting a final budget. Citizen input is critical to the budget process and can be done by attending and speaking at one of the public hearings or by contacting council members.