State

Oakdale to lay off parks director, two building inspectors

OAKDALE — The city will lay off its director of Parks and Recreation and shift the department's functions to other departments as part of a budget-driven reorganization.

The restructuring includes two other layoffs — a senior building inspector and a fire and building inspector II — and hiring a private firm to operate the city's building division services.

The city will transfer its after-school program to the Oakdale Joint Unified School District in August.

In addition to the three layoffs, the city will reduce the hours of two part-time clerks.

The city will create one job under the reorganization — a municipal utilities manager, to be hired in spring. City Manager Steve Hallam said the position would fill the vacant position of superintendent of utilities.

The reorganization, to be completed by July 1, will save the city's general fund $100,000 annually, Hallam said. The general fund pays for basic city services, such as public safety.

The $100,000 is part of the city's efforts to cut at least $900,000 from its $9 million general fund for the budget year that starts July 1.

Hallam said residents should not notice any changes in city services.

"It's our goal that this will be seamless," he said.

Like other Northern San Joaquin Valley cities, Oakdale is being squeezed by the recession and the decline in tax-generated revenue. The city has cut $2.3 million from its general fund budget in the past couple of years.

Hallam said he has started negotiations with the city's labor groups for the coming budget year.

City workers agreed last year to cut their pay 5 percent, saving the general fund $215,000. The agreement ends June 30.

"We could be looking at additional layoffs (in the upcoming budget year) if employees don't agree to extend the wage concession," he said. "There is so little left to cut."

Parks and Recreation Director Cheryl Bolin has been with the city for more than three years, Hallam said. Bolin, who made more than $106,000 last year, will be laid off April 15.

She is attending a conference in Sacramento this week and did not return a return a phone call left with her staff.

Transfer of services

Hallam praised Bolin's work and accomplishments but said tough economic times require tough decisions. "She's done a lot of great things," he said.

The reorganization calls for the city to transfer park maintenance and park and facility rentals to Public Works, which will be renamed Municipal Services.

The city's recreation programs will shift to the Community Development Department, which will be renamed Community Development and Services.

The city and school district have agreed to transfer the city's after-school recreation program to the district in August, when the new school year starts.

Hallam said the city's approximately two dozen part-time recreation leaders and five part-time site supervisors will work for the school district.

The city says its building division is no longer self-sufficient because of the housing downturn of the past couple of years.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or 578-2316.

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