Dougherty County officials preparing department managers for possible 'Reduction in Force' scenario

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- Dougherty County department managers have been asked to examine their departments for a possible reduction in force of county employees, County Administrator Richard Crowdis said Wednesday.

Crowdis confirmed that department managers are preparing for a RIF on May 31, and are currently undergoing training.

Crowdis said there is no set reduction goal, but that those decisions are being left up to the various department managers.

"It is manager driven. There is not a required percentage," Crowdis said in an email to The Albany Herald on Wednesday.

The county last underwent a reduction in force in 2004, but that was largely limited to cutting vacant positions, Assistant County Administrator Mike McCoy said.

Anyone whose job was eliminated would be eligible for future employment if the county's finances improve.

The word of possible work force reductions comes on the same day that Crowdis made a proposal to the County Commission's finance sub-committee to reduce the amount of funding that the commission gives outside agencies.

According to documents provided by the county on Wednesday, Crowdis' recommendation is to reduce funding to the Dougherty County Board of Health by $100,000; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission by 3.5 percent; to eliminate funding for the Flint RiverQuarium; reduce by 5 percent funding for the Department of Family and Children's Services; to cut 5 percent off the Albany Area Community Service Board, and slightly reduce funding to the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission.

Crowdis and the finance team also recommended to the committee that the county reduce its annual contribution to employee retirement plan by $700,000.

Currently, the plan is 80 percent funded, which documents state is above average for many local governments. The city of Albany's retirement plan, for instance, is funded at between 66 and 68 percent, officials say.

Other cost reduction recommendations are:

-- Eliminating a floating personal day for employees as an authorized holiday that was added in July 1998.

-- Delaying construction of phase 2 of the Radium Springs Gardens Project.

-- Discontinuing total public access to the "Q Public" Tax website which provides tax data on properties in the county.

-- Reducing the mowing schedule.

-- Closing Elliot Drive Park.

-- Suspending street lighting improvements program.

-- Considering reorganization of county departments.

-- Eliminating annual bedding and decorative plants around government buildings.

-- Reviewing the county vehicle take home program.

On the flip side of these recommendations to cut are revenue enhancement suggestions that Crowdis and the finance team are recommending. Those largely include creating or increasing fees for services.

The recommendations include:

-- Establishing a $75 event fee to use Riverfront Park.

-- Increasing library fees.

-- Hiring a consultant to review categories for opportunities for revenue enhancement.

-- Increasing park shelter rental fees to $40 per day.

-- Charging $680 to install driveways.

-- Charging a "Cost of Service" fee for EMS ambulances used at school system athletic events.

-- Increasing EMS rates.

-- Establishing a donation fund for replacing trees and flowers at Radium Springs Gardens.

-- Selling surplus properties.

-- Charging a service fee for non-emergency after-hour call-ins for facilities management.

-- Charging fees to other law enforcement units to use the Sheriff's Office's AFIS (fingerprint) services.