AUBURN — The effort to reorganize the municipal management structure is nearly complete, according to City Manager Glenn Aho.

Aho and Human Resources Director Deb Grimmig presented a spreadsheet detailing staffing reductions dating back to 2009. Overall, the city has eliminated 20 positions — ranging from administrative assistant jobs to the Community Services director — for a savings of $919,874 in wages.

The city has created 12 new positions for a total cost of $479,107 in new wages. Since most new jobs are lower paid positions with smaller benefit packages, the city has saved $812,457 since 2009 because of the restructuring.

“We had more office managers than we had fingers,” Aho said. “Where we can, we’ve replaced those with lower level people. Why would you pay someone $40,000 to $50,000 just to enter data?”  

Aho said he’s recommending the city no longer have an assistant city manager. He has replaced that $80,000 job with a team of three department managers. Those three team leaders work with other department heads in similar departments to foster communication, build team work and solve problems.

“One complaint that I heard before was that managers were too busy responding to problems to manage their departments,” Aho said. “But they’re supposed to manage resources. So when you have people with millions of dollars under their care and they say they don’t have time to manage, doesn’t that sound any alarms?”

Police Chief and acting Assistant Manager Phil Crowell will be returning full time to his police position by the end of the fiscal year, Aho said. Crowell is the leader for the city’s public services team, which includes, Police, Fire and 911.

Deputy Public Works Director Denis D’Auteuil is the team leader for the Public Services team, which includes the Public Works, Economic Development, Community Development, Planning and Permitting, Engineering and Parks and Recreation departments.

Renee Bogart, manager of the Information, Communication and Technology department, is the leader of the Public Administration team. That includes the Assessing, Finance, City Clerk, Human Resources and Health and Social Services departments.

Each team leader gets a 10 percent stipend added to their annual salary. Crowell gets an additional $8,996 as long as he is team leader,  D’Auteuil gets an additional $7,200 and Bogart gets $6,051. Those stipends go away if they stop acting as team leaders.

“Team leaders are not expected to be experts in all the functions, but they’re supposed to help the members of their teams do strategic planning and managing,” Aho said. 

It’s also designed to free up Aho.

“Before, I was like the middle part of the hour-glass,” Aho said. “Everything had to go through me. I couldn’t work with the City Council or with the city of Lewiston or do any strategic planning because I was so mired in the weeds.”

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