Janesville52°

Whitewater freezes hiring

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Kayla Bunge
March 5, 2009
— Whitewater City Manager Kevin Brunner wants the city to "take a time out" from hiring amid concerns about rising demand for city services, falling revenues and an uncertain economy.

"It just makes sense to take a time out to figure out where things are going," he said.


That's why Brunner asked the Whitewater City Council to support his request for a hiring freeze on all permanent part-time and full-time city positions through Aug. 1.


The city council on Tuesday approved the recommendation with an exception: If any more positions for sworn police officers become vacant—in addition to the one position that currently is vacant—those positions would be filled.


Brunner told The Janesville Gazette the city is struggling to "make ends meet."


Brunner said a hiring freeze would give the city time to prioritize services and get a handle on its revenues while watching the direction of the economy.


Brunner said the city has openings for a police officer and a city planner, and other positions could soon become vacant as employees accept positions elsewhere.


The hiring freeze allows some flexibility so the city can maintain a minimum level of staffing. Each hiring will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, he said.


Brunner said he first mentioned the idea in his state of the city address Feb. 19. He said he later talked to some city council members, and many voiced concerns about maintaining city services.


"But they also understand the rationale here," he said. "We're not talking about cutting services. That's not the point.


"We just need to take a time out to see where things are going, to see how things are going to shake out."



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