Shouldn't A Reduced Workload Mean A Reduced Workforce?
Oakland's and Emeryville's Redevelopment Agencies are both being dissolved on February 1st, the largest contraction of government commission in a generation. Both cities are facing a surplus of labor owing to the sudden elimination of a major source of government work, administering the agencies. In response, Oakland will be laying off 105 full time employees on February 3rd and Emeryville will...wait for it...stay exactly the same.
City Manager, Pat O'Keeffe reports that there will be no staff reduction as a result of the closing of the Redevelopment Agency until at least July 1st, the start of the new fiscal year for the city. Mr O'Keeffe says the staff positions that were formerly wholly or partially charged with redevelopment work will be retained and tasked with "other work" at City Hall. Their salaries, previously paid with Redevelopment Agency funds will now be paid out of Emeryville's General Fund.
Is this to be the fate of the
Both Mr O'Keeffe and Ms Turner cautioned Emeryville residents should not expect a large reduction in staffing at City Hall after July 1st owing to the started but not yet completed redevelopment projects that will go forward even after the February dissolution. Also they tell us to wind down the Agency will require significant labor over two years.
We don't know if these explanations are reasonable but we find it dubious that a massive government agency that has undertaken the function of 95% of our town, much larger than in Oakland we should add, that there shouldn't be at least a small reduction in staff as a consequence of its sudden demise, all the provisional explanatory reasons notwithstanding. It seems to us that simple bureaucratic inertia, the well documented self protective impulse of bureaucratic regimes and their tenacious resistance to shrink on their own accord is likely at play here.
Further, we find it implausible that the number of staffers needed to wind down the Redevelopment Agency is precisely the same number as it took to conduct its multi-year business of building our town.
Emeryville residents should only have the size of government that they need and common sense tells us that the end of the Redevelopment Agency with all its historic workload should mean a reduced workforce at City Hall. We realize that Emeryville and Oakland are not the same but the difference between the two cities as they wind down their redevelopment agencies is stark. Citizens would be well advised to keep a close eye on the bureaucrats at City Hall as the era of redevelopment comes to a close in Emeryville.