Special City Council meeting set to discuss resignations, morale

In the midst of a $1.68 million budget shortfall, two Jefferson City officials have decided to step down.

On Tuesday, the city announced the resignations of Public Works Director Roger Schwartze and Communications Manager Michelle Gleba. Schwartze’s resignation becomes effective April 1, while Gleba’s resignation will be effective March 26.

Schwartze said he had decided to resign because of the city’s financial troubles.

“Obviously the city’s got a severe budget crisis,” Schwartze said. “We may not be able to avoid layoffs so I’m starting with myself.”

The city is struggling to deal with a nearly $1.7 million budget shortfall that was revealed Feb. 25. The City Council is considering a number of proposed cuts, including cuts to every department, cuts to economic development services and cuts to city-funded events. Furloughs and layoffs could be possible as the council has directed staff to look for an additional $150,000 to $400,000 in cuts, on top of the $1.68 million in cuts detailed in the proposed plan the council will consider Monday.

Schwartze said he is not eligible to partake in the city’s early retirement program, which provides incentives for employees to retire. Gleba also said she is not eligible for the early retirement program.

At the moment, the city plans to leave both positions vacant, though an interim public works director is expected to be named soon. The city is discussing a hiring freeze to last until the end of fiscal year 2014.

“I’ve certainly enjoyed working for the city,” Schwartze said. “It’s a tough budget situation. I’m just trying to help them out.”

Gleba said she is looking forward to focusing on new opportunities.

“I have truly enjoyed working for the city,” Gleba said.

At a special City Council meeting Monday, 3rd Ward Councilman Bryan Pope questioned the merits of having a communications manager, asking why it was necessary to have someone employed to manage Facebook and Twitter.

“We don’t have the nerve to maybe look at some other line item employee categories that are certainly not as important as public safety,” Pope said Monday.

Schwartze began working with the city Jan. 3, 2012, and earned a salary of $99,000. Gleba began working with the city in March 2010 and earned a salary of $57,000.

City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus and Mayor Eric Struemph did not return messages for comment.

The City Council has scheduled a special meeting for 8 a.m. Thursday to discuss budget issues, resignations and morale.

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