The proposed City of Greenville budget was balanced through multiple cuts in personnel and programs, and left Massoud Ebrahim among the remaining employees doing double duty.
Ebrahim told the City Council last week that he anticipates being able to be both a city manager and director of public works, at least for now.
“We are handling that position with the staff we have,” Ebrahim said. “I cannot speak for the future, but right now we’re fine.”
But Council member Dan Perkins said he could not help but be concerned.
“I just find it hard to believe you’re not going to rip yourself apart ... by doing these two very important jobs, which really are tough to do.”
Ebrahim said he expects the city will be able to add a new director of public works in about six months, but said the job is being adequately addressed by his staff.
“And that basically is due to our efficiency,” Ebrahim said, explaining it is a characteristic he also follows. “I don’t go to any meetings unless it is absolutely necessary.”
Building Official/Code Enforcement Manager Steve Methven agreed the approach has been successful so far.
“We do have a different way we’re working,” Methven said. “We’re very efficient.”
Perkins said he was worried over the elimination of a code enforcement officer. The currently unfilled position was not included in next year’s budget.
Methven said the staff isn’t able to address mowing or high grass issues as much, but is concentrating on building code violations at present.
“As far as cases, we’re getting to them,” Methven said. “It is amazing how quick these guys can run. I think we’ll get to as much work with two as we did with three.”
Finance Director Cliff Copeland said his department was able to handle the loss of an assistant finance director through reorganization, but explained it was nothing new.
“We’ve eliminated, I know, about two or three full time positions in the past two or three years,” Copeland said.
Library Director Paul Phelan said he was able to cut back on part time employees in order to meet a requested six percent reduction in the upcoming budget.
“That was the way to do it, was to cut salaries,” Phelan said, adding that a few of the lesser-attended programs at the W. Walworth Harrison Public Library were also eliminated or combined with other programs, but the library will maintain the current operating schedule.
“The hours of operation, we’re going to be there,” Phelan said. “On balance, I think we’re good with this.”
The budget also did not immediately include a parks and recreation Director. In July, Kimber Patterson was named Acting Director of Parks and Recreation. Patterson also manages the operations of the Ja-Lu Municipal Swimming Pool and the Greenville Municipal Auditorium.
In order to save half of the expected salaries of the positions, Ebrahim said the city will consider hiring a full time parks and recreation director in about six months, around the same time as a new public works director is named.
But the process of choosing Ebrahim’s public works replacement will begin early next year.
“We’ll probably going to start advertising in January,” Ebrahim said. “We’ll select someone, hopefully, prior to April of next year.”