Friday, June 17, 2011

Personnel Changes announced by Orland Fire Protection District Board

Personnel Changes announced by Orland Fire Protection District Board

OFPD -- The OFPD Board announced two additional personnel changes at the Orland Fire Protection District this week, in an effort to drive down costs and spending.

As a part of an effort to get a stronger handle on hiring and personnel as we move forward to find ways to save money while preserving the OFPD's ability to perform with the highest quality of service, the OFPD Board has announced personnel changes. The changes so far have realized $91,000 in savings to taxpayers. The board feels that this can be done in part by doing a comprehensive examination of all aspects of the OFPD and by taking a different direction in HR. There will be some personnel changes that the board feels better aligns with these goals.

Joanne Chavez was released as Human Resources Director on Wednesday. Joanne is being replaced by Lucy McGlynn Murray as Human Resources Director.  Lucy began working  Thursday in the Headquarters building. This is a cost-cutting move, board officials said. Chavez's salary is $73,000 and McGlynn's salary will be $68,000.

The board also released Kathy Donofrio who headed the OFPD Public Education program. The change was made in an effort to cut costs. Ms. Donofrio's employment release was made Thursday.  Donofrio's salary is $47,000.

Board Chairman Jim Hickey said the Public Education position will remain open, at this time. Acting Fire Chief Raymond Kay said he is working within the parameters to develop a new public education program under the current budget constraints set by the board.

"There are two tracks for ways in which the board can make savings, cutting long term spending and identifying waste, and in reducing personnel costs. The personnel costs unfortunately take center stage because they can be realized in the short term while larger savings through the elimination of waste will take a focused look by the board at the district's overall budgeting and spending," Hickey explained.

"I believe a close review of the budget and operations of the OFPD by Cynthia Katsenes and our representation in Springfield by Cheryl Axley to identify grants and other ways to support the interests of our district will save far more for the taxpayers. That was the mandate that was given to us by the taxpayers and we are intent on meeting those demands," Hickey added. He said the change in law firms will also realize significant change over the coming year.

The total personnel cost-cutting savings is $91,000 and includes the reduction in salaries for the position of board executive secretary ($27,000 salary reduction) and the media consulting contract, ($12,000 fee reduction), Hickey said.

Kay and Hickey praised the work of both Chavez and Donofrio, thanking them for their public service.

"Public Service is about working in the service of the public and we all know that oftentimes these positions change in order that government can continually assess its direction," Hickey said. "We thank Joanne and Kathy for their service and wish both of them the best as they pursue other opportunities."