Dec 12, 2012 11:13 PM by David Ortiviz

County Commissioners approve hiring freeze

Is Pueblo County's government too big for its size? Per capita the county's staffing levels are among the highest in the state and county commissioners are taking action weeks before a new board takes over.

Pueblo County has a population of about 160,545 people and 1,064 county employees. By comparison Douglas County has nearly twice that population (297,485) and almost the same staffing level (1,061 county employees).

Also, El Paso County is operating with about three employees for every 1,000 residents. Pueblo County is double, six employees per 1,000 residents.

The county's Finance Director Calvin Hamler brought this concern at recent budget hearings. This week when County Commissioners approved next year's $197 million budget, they signed-off on a county-wide hiring freeze.

"It does seems the county may be over-staffed in terms of per capita representation for the county population," said County Commissioner Jeff Chostner. "I think there is an effort to probably take a look at and reduce the size of manpower.

They're not talking about lay-offs. Hamler recommends reducing staffing levels through attrition, so leaving positions vacant as workers resign or retire.

Of course the hiring freeze could change. Next month the current commissioners will be replaced by a new board, which could set its own agenda.



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