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IID OKs hiring freeze by 3-2

September 26, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

LA QUINTA — A 60-day hiring freeze for all Imperial Irrigation District job openings with two exceptions was approved by a split vote Tuesday of the IID Board of Directors.

Under the freeze, effective Oct. 25 through Dec. 31, no new jobs will be created, no vacant jobs will be filled.

The exceptions are those positions in which job offers have already been made and the management position of the person who will coordinate the implementation of the recently completed efficiency study.

Voting for the freeze were directors Bruce Kuhn, Rudy Maldonado and Stella Mendoza. Voting against were Lloyd Allen and Andy Horne.

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Kuhn said it would be "cruel" to hire people now, and after deciding what numbers of employees the district should have under the efficiency study, to then fire them.

"It does away with the attrition process," he said.

The study says 199 jobs can be cut from the district.

Kuhn said there are 80 jobs currently not filled, with another 10 to be vacated through retirements this year. He said the district will take a giant step toward cutting the number of employees by 199 by using these 90 positions to meet the recommended reduction.

He said once the district evaluates where the cuts should be made and where numbers should be increased, those employees slated to be laid off could be cross-trained for the other positions.

Kuhn also urged district managers to allay the fears of employees by letting them know there will not be a wholesale lay-off. He said a 60-day freeze will not have a dire impact on a entity the size of IID.

Meanwhile, Horne suggested the board go back to a previous policy of requiring all department heads to appear before the board and justify any and all hires.

"We wouldn't create any new positions," he said, adding a hiring freeze is the same as a reduction in force.

Under the current policy, department heads seeking to fill positions up to a given number of employees have the issue placed on the consent agenda. To hire beyond the approved number would then require managers to justify the position before the board.

The $875,118 draft efficiency study states IID can save $31.6 million yearly with a one-time investment of $9 million. The report states the net present value of the savings is estimated at $217 million.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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