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  2.5.       
Meeting Date: 09/14/2021  

Information
Title:
Discuss Community Development Staffing
Purpose/Background:
The purpose of this case is to discuss and receive a consensus from the City Council on two separate personnel matters in the Community Development Department. 

Permit Technician Leave of Absence
The City has two part-time Permit Technicians.  One of the two is anticipated to be out of the office for six to twelve weeks beginning this week or next week.  Staff has explored many options for filling the temporary gap in coverage in order to ensure the busy Building Division can keep up on its work. Subject to pending City Council approval, staff explored options such as contacting a former City of Ramsey Permit Technician, reaching out to several current part-time employees for possible assistance with coverage, temporary reassignment of current full-time staff or shifting of duties, and utilizing the current Administrative Services Intern (Happy Days Intern) to assist in the Building Division.   All but the last mentioned option were not viable for a variety of reasons.   

Administrative Services Director Lasher consulted with the City Administrator, Interim Deputy City Administrator/Finance Director, Interim Community Development Director/City Engineer, as well as with Ms. Laubach, the current Happy Days Intern.  Staff recommends that the City Council, by consensus this evening, give staff permission to terminate Ms. Nicole Laubach in her current Happy Days Intern role, effective immediately and rehire her as a temporary Building Division Intern to provide coverage during the aforementioned leave of absence. 

If this action is approved, a case authorizing this action would be brought forward for formal approval at the September 28th City Council meeting.   It should be noted, Ms. Laubach is currently working 40 hours per week at $14.00 per hour.  The approved intern wage scale is $13.00 to $18.00 per hour, D.O.Q.  With a reduction from 40 to 20 hours per week, Ms. Laubach requires $18.00 per hour and would accept an offer based on that pay.  Ms. Laubach exceeds the minimum qualifications of the Intern position, has already passed the City's pre-employment checks, is familiar with the City's processes and has proven to produce high quality work.  She is set to graduate in December with her Bachelor's of Science in Business Management. Staff feels that Ms. Laubach's qualifications and skill set warrant $18.00 per hour.  Staff recommends this action in order to provide coverage in the Building Division over the next six to twelve weeks. 

Pending Retirement of the Community Development Assistant
Background: Ms. JoAnne Shaw is currently the City's Community Development Assistant and is working sixteen hours per week.  She will be retiring from the City on November 4, 2021. The 2022 budget includes funding to fill the lost hours.  In March 2020, Mr. Brian McCann was hired as a Planning Technician with the intent to learn Ms. Shaw's role.  Mr. McCann has taken on a portion of Ms. Shaw's role, and the workload in the Planning Division over the last nineteen months has exceeded staff's ability to encompass the full role.  There are many tasks (attached) that simply will not get done without replacing or back filling the hours lost by Ms. Shaw's departure; these tasks are listed on the left of the attached document.  With that said, staff proposes downgrading Ms. Shaw's current position from a Community Development Assistant (higher pay grade)  to an Administrative Assistant (lower pay grade).    

The Finance Director has calculated the net savings (of this downgraded position) in 2022 to be $2,405. This is based on hiring an Administrative Assistant at step 1 for twenty hours per week. Staff proposes hiring a twenty hour per week Administrative Assistant to work Monday - Friday, from 8:30 to 12:30 (approximately).  This schedule would complement customer service coverage while another part-time employee is off duty, providing for uniform counter coverage. 

Staff is seeking a consensus to approve a recruitment for a twenty-hour per week Administrative Assistant.  
PURPOSE

The purpose of this case is to aide the Community Development Department frame its 2020 Budget Requests as it relates to two primary topics. Staff is seeking broad policy direction to help focus alternatives leading up to a draft budget.
  1. Replace hours lost due to requested phased retirement of Community Development Assistance
  2. Provide sufficient resources to address the demands of the City's Code Enforcement Program - Zoning Code Enforcement and Case Management
BACKGROUND

The Community Development Department is made up of three primary divisions.
  1. Planning (and Zoning)
    1. Long Range Planning
    2. Development Review
    3. Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Liaison
  2. Economic Development
    1. Business Retention and Expansion
    2. Business Subsidy Requests
    3. Business Licensing
  3. Building Inspections
    1. Building Permits
    2. Property Maintenance Code Enforcement
    3. Septic Administration
This case is specific to the Planning Division, although has implications to the other divisions and other departments as well. The Planning Division consists of the following Staff, with the assistance of the Community Development Director.
  • City Planner (Senior Planner in 2020) - Division Manager
    • Planning Commission Staff Liaison in 2020
  • City Planner - Environmental Focus
    • EPB Liaison
  • Community Development Assistant - Phased Retirement Request
  • Consulting Planner (WSB) - 20 hours per week
  • Planning Intern - Seasonal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PHASED RETIREMENT REQUEST

The Community Development Assistant has been with the organization for over 20 years. This position plays an integral role in land use application management, insuring site plans and plats are routed through the appropriate review process. In addition, this role has provided significant backup to the Building Inspection Division when staffing levels were much lower in that division and prior to recent technology upgrades. As a side note, the Building Division will already be losing 20 hours per week in Staff Support due to the reassignment of the Engineering Administrative Assistant exclusively to the Engineering Department. This Staff Member had previously been assigned 20 hours per week in the Building Division on a temporary basis. 

The Community Development Assistant has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a phased retirement would be an appropriate tool to support a seamless transition of this role's primary functions. The Community Development Assistant has requested phased retirement for 2020 and 2021 working two days a week at 16 hours per week.

Approval of the Phased Retirement Option (PRO) was recently extended by the Minnesota Legislature. The City Council is not obligated to approve the phased retirement option, but it is a tool that can be used in overall budget discussions. Retirement of this individual is inevitable at some point in the near future, and Staff would desire to capitalize on the institutional knowledge to its fullest extent.

CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT

Staff is falling increasingly behind in code enforcement cases for zoning code enforcement as the number of complaints and intensity of cases increases. Community Development handles code complaints for home-based businesses, issues with buildings and structures, and enforcement in commercial and industrial districts. The Police Department handles long-grass complaints and junk vehicle complaints. The Police Chief also manages all appeals to Notices of Violations.

Community Development Staff has several dozen open cases at the moment, with several dozen other open cases likely needing administrative closure (violation corrected or unfounded, lacking data entry). With several prominent cases escalating recently, Staff has found it difficult to maintain the current workload. The published 14 Day Correction Period is closer to 30 Days or more. Additionally, a large majority of Staff Time is consumed by development review of land use applications. Staff has had to tap all resources of all team members to ensure development projects walk through the Planning Commission, EDA, and City Council process in the time prescribed by State Statute and expected of our Applicants. Staff has had to postpone work on projects such as the Comprehensive Plan Update, Highway 47 Plan, and Zoning Code Update due to development review and code enforcement obligations.

ALTERNATIVES

The proposed phased retirement gives Staff and City Council an opportunity to think differently about the positions within the division.

Planning Technician - Current Staff Proposal

Staff is currently evaluating replacing the Community Development Assistant with a Planning Technician. This new position would split its time between Reviews Coordinator - coordinating land use applications and Code Enforcement Management - Key Contact.

Talking Points
  • Entry Level Position/Low Cost/High Benefit
  • Likelihood of high turnover (advancing career, lower salary, type of activity)
  • Large help for routine type code enforcement cases
  • Need for other Staff to handle larger, more complex code enforcement cases
Senior Level Staff and/or Separate Positions

This alternative would replace the Community Development Assistant with an Administrative Assistant doing more routine administrative assistance. In addition to that, the City would hire a separate code enforcement staff member dedicated to that activity.

Talking Points
  • Robust administration and timely resolution to code enforcement cases
  • Ability to handle more complex code enforcement cases, reducing burden on other team members
  • Stability in Land Use Application process
  • Less likely for high level of turnover
  • Could combine both into a single position and have many of the same benefits above
In order to keep this discussion at the strategic level, Staff has left many of the mechanics out of this case report. Staff will be able to dive into more detail during discussion.
PURPOSE

The purpose of this case is to aide the Community Development Department frame its 2020 Budget Requests as it relates to two primary topics. Staff is seeking broad policy direction to help focus alternatives leading up to a draft budget.
  1. Replace hours lost due to requested phased retirement of Community Development Assistance
  2. Provide sufficient resources to address the demands of the City's Code Enforcement Program - Zoning Code Enforcement and Case Management
BACKGROUND

The Community Development Department is made up of three primary divisions.
  1. Planning (and Zoning)
    1. Long Range Planning
    2. Development Review
    3. Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Liaison
  2. Economic Development
    1. Business Retention and Expansion
    2. Business Subsidy Requests
    3. Business Licensing
  3. Building Inspections
    1. Building Permits
    2. Property Maintenance Code Enforcement
    3. Septic Administration
This case is specific to the Planning Division, although has implications to the other divisions and other departments as well. The Planning Division consists of the following Staff, with the assistance of the Community Development Director.
  • City Planner (Senior Planner in 2020) - Division Manager
    • Planning Commission Staff Liaison in 2020
  • City Planner - Environmental Focus
    • EPB Liaison
  • Community Development Assistant - Phased Retirement Request
  • Consulting Planner (WSB) - 20 hours per week
  • Planning Intern - Seasonal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PHASED RETIREMENT REQUEST

The Community Development Assistant has been with the organization for over 20 years. This position plays an integral role in land use application management, ensuring site plans and plats are routed through the appropriate review process. In addition, this role has provided significant backup to the Building Inspection Division when staffing levels were much lower in that division and prior to recent technology upgrades. As a sidenote, the Building Division will already be losing 20 hours per week in Staff Support due to the reassignment of the Engineering Administrative Assistant exclusively to the Engineering Department. This Staff Member had previously been assigned 20 hours per week in the Building Division on a temporary basis. 

The Community Development Assistant has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a phased retirement would be an appropriate tool to support a seamless transition of this role's primary functions. The Community Development Assistant has requested phased retirement for 2020 and 2021 working two days a week at 16 hours per week.

Approval of the Phased Retirement Option (PRO) was recently extended by the Minnesota Legislature. The City Council is not obligated to approve the phased retirement option, but it is a tool that can be used in overall budget discussions. Retirement of this individual is inevietable at some point in the near future, and Staff would desire to capitalize on the institutional knowledge to its fullest extent.

CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT

Staff is falling increasingly behind in code enforcement cases for zoning code enforcement as the number of complaints and intensity of cases increases. Community Development handles code complaints for home-based businesses, issues with buildings and structures, and enforcement in commercial and industrial districts. The Police Department handles long-grass complaints and junk vehicle complaints. The Police Chief also manages all appeals to Notices of Violations.

Community Development Staff has several dozen open cases at the moment, with several dozen other open cases likely needing administrative closure (violation corrected or unfounded, lacking data entry). With several prominent cases escalating recently, Staff has found it difficult to maintain the current workload. The published 14 Day Correction Period is closer to 30 Days or more. Additionally, a large majority of Staff Time is consumed by development review of land use applications. Staff has had to tap all resources of all team members to ensure development projects walk through the Planning Commission, EDA, and City Council process in the time prescribed by State Statute and expected of our Applicants. Staff has had to postpone work on projects such as the Comprehensive Plan Update, Highway 47 Plan, and Zoning Code Update due to development review and code enforcement obligations.

ALTERNATIVES

The proposed phased retirement gives Staff and City Council an opportunity to think differently about the positions within the division.

Planning Technician - Current Staff Proposal

Staff is currently evaluating replacing the Community Development Assistant with a Planning Technician. This new position would split its time between Reviews Coordinator - coordinating land use applications and Code Enforcement Management - Key Contact.

Talking Points
  • Entry Level Position/Low Cost/High Benefit
  • Likelyhood of high turnover (advancing career, lower salary, type of activity)
  • Large help for routine type code enforcement cases
  • Need for other Staff to handle larger, more complex code enforcement cases
Senior Level Staff and/or Separate Positions

This alternative would replace the Community Development Assistant with an Administrative Assistant doing more routine administrative assistance. In addition to that, the City would hire a separate code enforcement staff member dedicated to that activity.

Talking Points
  • Robust administration and timely resolution to code enforcement cases
  • Ability to handle more complex code enforcement cases, reducing burden on other team members
  • Stability in Land Use Application process
  • Less likely for high level of turnover
  • Could combine both into a single position and have many of the same benefits above
In order to keep this discussion at the strategic level, Staff has left many of the mechanics out of this case report. Staff will be able to dive into more detail during discussion.
PURPOSE

The purpose of this case is to aide the Community Development Department frame its 2020 Budget Requests as it relates to two primary topics. Staff is seeking broad policy direction to help focus alternatives leading up to a draft budget.
  1. Replace hours lost due to requested phased retirement of Community Development Assistance
  2. Provide sufficient resources to address the demands of the City's Code Enforcement Program - Zoning Code Enforcement and Case Management
BACKGROUND

The Community Development Department is made up of three primary divisions.
  1. Planning (and Zoning)
    1. Long Range Planning
    2. Development Review
    3. Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Liaison
  2. Economic Development
    1. Business Retention and Expansion
    2. Business Subsidy Requests
    3. Business Licensing
  3. Building Inspections
    1. Building Permits
    2. Property Maintenance Code Enforcement
    3. Septic Administration
This case is specific to the Planning Division, although has implications to the other divisions and other departments as well. The Planning Division consists of the following Staff, with the assistance of the Community Development Director.
  • City Planner (Senior Planner in 2020) - Division Manager
    • Planning Commission Staff Liaison in 2020
  • City Planner - Environmental Focus
    • EPB Liaison
  • Community Development Assistant - Phased Retirement Request
  • Consulting Planner (WSB) - 20 hours per week
  • Planning Intern - Seasonal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PHASED RETIREMENT REQUEST

The Community Development Assistant has been with the organization for over 20 years. This position plays an integral role in land use application management, ensuring site plans and plats are routed through the appropriate review process. In addition, this role has provided significant backup to the Building Inspection Division when staffing levels were much lower in that division and prior to recent technology upgrades. As a sidenote, the Building Division will already be losing 20 hours per week in Staff Support due to the reassignment of the Engineering Administrative Assistant exclusively to the Engineering Department. This Staff Member had previously been assigned 20 hours per week in the Building Division on a temporary basis. 

The Community Development Assistant has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a phased retirement would be an appropriate tool to support a seamless transition of this role's primary functions. The Community Development Assistant has requested phased retirement for 2020 and 2021 working two days a week at 16 hours per week.

Approval of the Phased Retirement Option (PRO) was recently extended by the Minnesota Legislature. The City Council is not obligated to approve the phased retirement option, but it is a tool that can be used in overall budget discussions. Retirement of this individual is inevietable at some point in the near future, and Staff would desire to capitalize on the institutional knowledge to its fullest extent.

CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT

Staff is falling increasingly behind in code enforcement cases for zoning code enforcement as the number of complaints and intensity of cases increases. Community Development handles code complaints for home-based businesses, issues with buildings and structures, and enforcement in commercial and industrial districts. The Police Department handles long-grass complaints and junk vehicle complaints. The Police Chief also manages all appeals to Notices of Violations.

Community Development Staff has several dozen open cases at the moment, with several dozen other open cases likely needing administrative closure (violation corrected or unfounded, lacking data entry). With several prominent cases escalating recently, Staff has found it difficult to maintain the current workload. The published 14 Day Correction Period is closer to 30 Days or more. Additionally, a large majority of Staff Time is consumed by development review of land use applications. Staff has had to tap all resources of all team members to ensure development projects walk through the Planning Commission, EDA, and City Council process in the time prescribed by State Statute and expected of our Applicants. Staff has had to postpone work on projects such as the Comprehensive Plan Update, Highway 47 Plan, and Zoning Code Update due to development review and code enforcement obligations.

ALTERNATIVES

The proposed phased retirement gives Staff and City Council an opportunity to think differently about the positions within the division.

Planning Technician - Current Staff Proposal

Staff is currently evaluating replacing the Community Development Assistant with a Planning Technician. This new position would split its time between Reviews Coordinator - coordinating land use applications and Code Enforcement Management - Key Contact.

Talking Points
  • Entry Level Position/Low Cost/High Benefit
  • Likelyhood of high turnover (advancing career, lower salary, type of activity)
  • Large help for routine type code enforcement cases
  • Need for other Staff to handle larger, more complex code enforcement cases
Senior Level Staff and/or Separate Positions

This alternative would replace the Community Development Assistant with an Administrative Assistant doing more routine administrative assistance. In addition to that, the City would hire a separate code enforcement staff member dedicated to that activity.

Talking Points
  • Robust administration and timely resolution to code enforcement cases
  • Ability to handle more complex code enforcement cases, reducing burden on other team members
  • Stability in Land Use Application process
  • Less likely for high level of turnover
  • Could combine both into a single position and have many of the same benefits above
In order to keep this discussion at the strategic level, Staff has left many of the mechanics out of this case report. Staff will be able to dive into more detail during discussion.
PURPOSE

The purpose of this case is to aide the Community Development Department frame its 2020 Budget Requests as it relates to two primary topics. Staff is seeking broad policy direction to help focus alternatives leading up to a draft budget.
  1. Replace hours lost due to requested phased retirement of Community Development Assistance
  2. Provide sufficient resources to address the demands of the City's Code Enforcement Program - Zoning Code Enforcement and Case Management
BACKGROUND

The Community Development Department is made up of three primary divisions.
  1. Planning (and Zoning)
    1. Long Range Planning
    2. Development Review
    3. Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Liaison
  2. Economic Development
    1. Business Retention and Expansion
    2. Business Subsidy Requests
    3. Business Licensing
  3. Building Inspections
    1. Building Permits
    2. Property Maintenance Code Enforcement
    3. Septic Administration
This case is specific to the Planning Division, although has implications to the other divisions and other departments as well. The Planning Division consists of the following Staff, with the assistance of the Community Development Director.
  • City Planner (Senior Planner in 2020) - Division Manager
    • Planning Commission Staff Liaison in 2020
  • City Planner - Environmental Focus
    • EPB Liaison
  • Community Development Assistant - Phased Retirement Request
  • Consulting Planner (WSB) - 20 hours per week
  • Planning Intern - Seasonal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PHASED RETIREMENT REQUEST

The Community Development Assistant has been with the organization for over 20 years. This position plays an integral role in land use application management, insuring site plans and plats are routed through the appropriate review process. In addition, this role has provided significant backup to the Building Inspection Division when staffing levels were much lower in that division and prior to recent technology upgrades. As a side note, the Building Division will already be losing 20 hours per week in Staff Support due to the reassignment of the Engineering Administrative Assistant exclusively to the Engineering Department. This Staff Member had previously been assigned 20 hours per week in the Building Division on a temporary basis. 

The Community Development Assistant has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a phased retirement would be an appropriate tool to support a seamless transition of this role's primary functions. The Community Development Assistant has requested phased retirement for 2020 and 2021 working two days a week at 16 hours per week.

Approval of the Phased Retirement Option (PRO) was recently extended by the Minnesota Legislature. The City Council is not obligated to approve the phased retirement option, but it is a tool that can be used in overall budget discussions. Retirement of this individual is inevitable at some point in the near future, and Staff would desire to capitalize on the institutional knowledge to its fullest extent.

CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT

Staff is falling increasingly behind in code enforcement cases for zoning code enforcement as the number of complaints and intensity of cases increases. Community Development handles code complaints for home-based businesses, issues with buildings and structures, and enforcement in commercial and industrial districts. The Police Department handles long-grass complaints and junk vehicle complaints. The Police Chief also manages all appeals to Notices of Violations.

Community Development Staff has several dozen open cases at the moment, with several dozen other open cases likely needing administrative closure (violation corrected or unfounded, lacking data entry). With several prominent cases escalating recently, Staff has found it difficult to maintain the current workload. The published 14 Day Correction Period is closer to 30 Days or more. Additionally, a large majority of Staff Time is consumed by development review of land use applications. Staff has had to tap all resources of all team members to ensure development projects walk through the Planning Commission, EDA, and City Council process in the time prescribed by State Statute and expected of our Applicants. Staff has had to postpone work on projects such as the Comprehensive Plan Update, Highway 47 Plan, and Zoning Code Update due to development review and code enforcement obligations.

ALTERNATIVES

The proposed phased retirement gives Staff and City Council an opportunity to think differently about the positions within the division.

Planning Technician - Current Staff Proposal

Staff is currently evaluating replacing the Community Development Assistant with a Planning Technician. This new position would split its time between Reviews Coordinator - coordinating land use applications and Code Enforcement Management - Key Contact.

Talking Points
  • Entry Level Position/Low Cost/High Benefit
  • Likelihood of high turnover (advancing career, lower salary, type of activity)
  • Large help for routine type code enforcement cases
  • Need for other Staff to handle larger, more complex code enforcement cases
Senior Level Staff and/or Separate Positions

This alternative would replace the Community Development Assistant with an Administrative Assistant doing more routine administrative assistance. In addition to that, the City would hire a separate code enforcement staff member dedicated to that activity.

Talking Points
  • Robust administration and timely resolution to code enforcement cases
  • Ability to handle more complex code enforcement cases, reducing burden on other team members
  • Stability in Land Use Application process
  • Less likely for high level of turnover
  • Could combine both into a single position and have many of the same benefits above
In order to keep this discussion at the strategic level, Staff has left many of the mechanics out of this case report. Staff will be able to dive into more detail during discussion.
PURPOSE

The purpose of this case is to aide the Community Development Department frame its 2020 Budget Requests as it relates to two primary topics. Staff is seeking broad policy direction to help focus alternatives leading up to a draft budget.
  1. Replace hours lost due to requested phased retirement of Community Development Assistance
  2. Provide sufficient resources to address the demands of the City's Code Enforcement Program - Zoning Code Enforcement and Case Management
BACKGROUND

The Community Development Department is made up of three primary divisions.
  1. Planning (and Zoning)
    1. Long Range Planning
    2. Development Review
    3. Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Liaison
  2. Economic Development
    1. Business Retention and Expansion
    2. Business Subsidy Requests
    3. Business Licensing
  3. Building Inspections
    1. Building Permits
    2. Property Maintenance Code Enforcement
    3. Septic Administration
This case is specific to the Planning Division, although has implications to the other divisions and other departments as well. The Planning Division consists of the following Staff, with the assistance of the Community Development Director.
  • City Planner (Senior Planner in 2020) - Division Manager
    • Planning Commission Staff Liaison in 2020
  • City Planner - Environmental Focus
    • EPB Liaison
  • Community Development Assistant - Phased Retirement Request
  • Consulting Planner (WSB) - 20 hours per week
  • Planning Intern - Seasonal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PHASED RETIREMENT REQUEST

The Community Development Assistant has been with the organization for over 20 years. This position plays an integral role in land use application management, insuring site plans and plats are routed through the appropriate review process. In addition, this role has provided significant backup to the Building Inspection Division when staffing levels were much lower in that division and prior to recent technology upgrades. As a side note, the Building Division will already be losing 20 hours per week in Staff Support due to the reassignment of the Engineering Administrative Assistant exclusively to the Engineering Department. This Staff Member had previously been assigned 20 hours per week in the Building Division on a temporary basis. 

The Community Development Assistant has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a phased retirement would be an appropriate tool to support a seamless transition of this role's primary functions. The Community Development Assistant has requested phased retirement for 2020 and 2021 working two days a week at 16 hours per week.

Approval of the Phased Retirement Option (PRO) was recently extended by the Minnesota Legislature. The City Council is not obligated to approve the phased retirement option, but it is a tool that can be used in overall budget discussions. Retirement of this individual is inevitable at some point in the near future, and Staff would desire to capitalize on the institutional knowledge to its fullest extent.

CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT

Staff is falling increasingly behind in code enforcement cases for zoning code enforcement as the number of complaints and intensity of cases increases. Community Development handles code complaints for home-based businesses, issues with buildings and structures, and enforcement in commercial and industrial districts. The Police Department handles long-grass complaints and junk vehicle complaints. The Police Chief also manages all appeals to Notices of Violations.

Community Development Staff has several dozen open cases at the moment, with several dozen other open cases likely needing administrative closure (violation corrected or unfounded, lacking data entry). With several prominent cases escalating recently, Staff has found it difficult to maintain the current workload. The published 14 Day Correction Period is closer to 30 Days or more. Additionally, a large majority of Staff Time is consumed by development review of land use applications. Staff has had to tap all resources of all team members to ensure development projects walk through the Planning Commission, EDA, and City Council process in the time prescribed by State Statute and expected of our Applicants. Staff has had to postpone work on projects such as the Comprehensive Plan Update, Highway 47 Plan, and Zoning Code Update due to development review and code enforcement obligations.

ALTERNATIVES

The proposed phased retirement gives Staff and City Council an opportunity to think differently about the positions within the division.

Planning Technician - Current Staff Proposal

Staff is currently evaluating replacing the Community Development Assistant with a Planning Technician. This new position would split its time between Reviews Coordinator - coordinating land use applications and Code Enforcement Management - Key Contact.

Talking Points
  • Entry Level Position/Low Cost/High Benefit
  • Likelihood of high turnover (advancing career, lower salary, type of activity)
  • Large help for routine type code enforcement cases
  • Need for other Staff to handle larger, more complex code enforcement cases
Senior Level Staff and/or Separate Positions

This alternative would replace the Community Development Assistant with an Administrative Assistant doing more routine administrative assistance. In addition to that, the City would hire a separate code enforcement staff member dedicated to that activity.

Talking Points
  • Robust administration and timely resolution to code enforcement cases
  • Ability to handle more complex code enforcement cases, reducing burden on other team members
  • Stability in Land Use Application process
  • Less likely for high level of turnover
  • Could combine both into a single position and have many of the same benefits above
In order to keep this discussion at the strategic level, Staff has left many of the mechanics out of this case report. Staff will be able to dive into more detail during discussion.
PURPOSE

The purpose of this case is to aide the Community Development Department frame its 2020 Budget Requests as it relates to two primary topics. Staff is seeking broad policy direction to help focus alternatives leading up to a draft budget.
  1. Replace hours lost due to requested phased retirement of Community Development Assistance
  2. Provide sufficient resources to address the demands of the City's Code Enforcement Program - Zoning Code Enforcement and Case Management
BACKGROUND

The Community Development Department is made up of three primary divisions.
  1. Planning (and Zoning)
    1. Long Range Planning
    2. Development Review
    3. Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Liaison
  2. Economic Development
    1. Business Retention and Expansion
    2. Business Subsidy Requests
    3. Business Licensing
  3. Building Inspections
    1. Building Permits
    2. Property Maintenance Code Enforcement
    3. Septic Administration
This case is specific to the Planning Division, although has implications to the other divisions and other departments as well. The Planning Division consists of the following Staff, with the assistance of the Community Development Director.
  • City Planner (Senior Planner in 2020) - Division Manager
    • Planning Commission Staff Liaison in 2020
  • City Planner - Environmental Focus
    • EPB Liaison
  • Community Development Assistant - Phased Retirement Request
  • Consulting Planner (WSB) - 20 hours per week
  • Planning Intern - Seasonal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PHASED RETIREMENT REQUEST

The Community Development Assistant has been with the organization for over 20 years. This position plays an integral role in land use application management, ensuring site plans and plats are routed through the appropriate review process. In addition, this role has provided significant backup to the Building Inspection Division when staffing levels were much lower in that division and prior to recent technology upgrades. As a sidenote, the Building Division will already be losing 20 hours per week in Staff Support due to the reassignment of the Engineering Administrative Assistant exclusively to the Engineering Department. This Staff Member had previously been assigned 20 hours per week in the Building Division on a temporary basis. 

The Community Development Assistant has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a phased retirement would be an appropriate tool to support a seamless transition of this role's primary functions. The Community Development Assistant has requested phased retirement for 2020 and 2021 working two days a week at 16 hours per week.

Approval of the Phased Retirement Option (PRO) was recently extended by the Minnesota Legislature. The City Council is not obligated to approve the phased retirement option, but it is a tool that can be used in overall budget discussions. Retirement of this individual is inevietable at some point in the near future, and Staff would desire to capitalize on the institutional knowledge to its fullest extent.

CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT

Staff is falling increasingly behind in code enforcement cases for zoning code enforcement as the number of complaints and intensity of cases increases. Community Development handles code complaints for home-based businesses, issues with buildings and structures, and enforcement in commercial and industrial districts. The Police Department handles long-grass complaints and junk vehicle complaints. The Police Chief also manages all appeals to Notices of Violations.

Community Development Staff has several dozen open cases at the moment, with several dozen other open cases likely needing administrative closure (violation corrected or unfounded, lacking data entry). With several prominent cases escalating recently, Staff has found it difficult to maintain the current workload. The published 14 Day Correction Period is closer to 30 Days or more. Additionally, a large majority of Staff Time is consumed by development review of land use applications. Staff has had to tap all resources of all team members to ensure development projects walk through the Planning Commission, EDA, and City Council process in the time prescribed by State Statute and expected of our Applicants. Staff has had to postpone work on projects such as the Comprehensive Plan Update, Highway 47 Plan, and Zoning Code Update due to development review and code enforcement obligations.

ALTERNATIVES

The proposed phased retirement gives Staff and City Council an opportunity to think differently about the positions within the division.

Planning Technician - Current Staff Proposal

Staff is currently evaluating replacing the Community Development Assistant with a Planning Technician. This new position would split its time between Reviews Coordinator - coordinating land use applications and Code Enforcement Management - Key Contact.

Talking Points
  • Entry Level Position/Low Cost/High Benefit
  • Likelyhood of high turnover (advancing career, lower salary, type of activity)
  • Large help for routine type code enforcement cases
  • Need for other Staff to handle larger, more complex code enforcement cases
Senior Level Staff and/or Separate Positions

This alternative would replace the Community Development Assistant with an Administrative Assistant doing more routine administrative assistance. In addition to that, the City would hire a separate code enforcement staff member dedicated to that activity.

Talking Points
  • Robust administration and timely resolution to code enforcement cases
  • Ability to handle more complex code enforcement cases, reducing burden on other team members
  • Stability in Land Use Application process
  • Less likely for high level of turnover
  • Could combine both into a single position and have many of the same benefits above
In order to keep this discussion at the strategic level, Staff has left many of the mechanics out of this case report. Staff will be able to dive into more detail during discussion.
PURPOSE

The purpose of this case is to aide the Community Development Department frame its 2020 Budget Requests as it relates to two primary topics. Staff is seeking broad policy direction to help focus alternatives leading up to a draft budget.
  1. Replace hours lost due to requested phased retirement of Community Development Assistance
  2. Provide sufficient resources to address the demands of the City's Code Enforcement Program - Zoning Code Enforcement and Case Management
BACKGROUND

The Community Development Department is made up of three primary divisions.
  1. Planning (and Zoning)
    1. Long Range Planning
    2. Development Review
    3. Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Liaison
  2. Economic Development
    1. Business Retention and Expansion
    2. Business Subsidy Requests
    3. Business Licensing
  3. Building Inspections
    1. Building Permits
    2. Property Maintenance Code Enforcement
    3. Septic Administration
This case is specific to the Planning Division, although has implications to the other divisions and other departments as well. The Planning Division consists of the following Staff, with the assistance of the Community Development Director.
  • City Planner (Senior Planner in 2020) - Division Manager
    • Planning Commission Staff Liaison in 2020
  • City Planner - Environmental Focus
    • EPB Liaison
  • Community Development Assistant - Phased Retirement Request
  • Consulting Planner (WSB) - 20 hours per week
  • Planning Intern - Seasonal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PHASED RETIREMENT REQUEST

The Community Development Assistant has been with the organization for over 20 years. This position plays an integral role in land use application management, ensuring site plans and plats are routed through the appropriate review process. In addition, this role has provided significant backup to the Building Inspection Division when staffing levels were much lower in that division and prior to recent technology upgrades. As a sidenote, the Building Division will already be losing 20 hours per week in Staff Support due to the reassignment of the Engineering Administrative Assistant exclusively to the Engineering Department. This Staff Member had previously been assigned 20 hours per week in the Building Division on a temporary basis. 

The Community Development Assistant has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a phased retirement would be an appropriate tool to support a seamless transition of this role's primary functions. The Community Development Assistant has requested phased retirement for 2020 and 2021 working two days a week at 16 hours per week.

Approval of the Phased Retirement Option (PRO) was recently extended by the Minnesota Legislature. The City Council is not obligated to approve the phased retirement option, but it is a tool that can be used in overall budget discussions. Retirement of this individual is inevietable at some point in the near future, and Staff would desire to capitalize on the institutional knowledge to its fullest extent.

CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT

Staff is falling increasingly behind in code enforcement cases for zoning code enforcement as the number of complaints and intensity of cases increases. Community Development handles code complaints for home-based businesses, issues with buildings and structures, and enforcement in commercial and industrial districts. The Police Department handles long-grass complaints and junk vehicle complaints. The Police Chief also manages all appeals to Notices of Violations.

Community Development Staff has several dozen open cases at the moment, with several dozen other open cases likely needing administrative closure (violation corrected or unfounded, lacking data entry). With several prominent cases escalating recently, Staff has found it difficult to maintain the current workload. The published 14 Day Correction Period is closer to 30 Days or more. Additionally, a large majority of Staff Time is consumed by development review of land use applications. Staff has had to tap all resources of all team members to ensure development projects walk through the Planning Commission, EDA, and City Council process in the time prescribed by State Statute and expected of our Applicants. Staff has had to postpone work on projects such as the Comprehensive Plan Update, Highway 47 Plan, and Zoning Code Update due to development review and code enforcement obligations.

ALTERNATIVES

The proposed phased retirement gives Staff and City Council an opportunity to think differently about the positions within the division.

Planning Technician - Current Staff Proposal

Staff is currently evaluating replacing the Community Development Assistant with a Planning Technician. This new position would split its time between Reviews Coordinator - coordinating land use applications and Code Enforcement Management - Key Contact.

Talking Points
  • Entry Level Position/Low Cost/High Benefit
  • Likelyhood of high turnover (advancing career, lower salary, type of activity)
  • Large help for routine type code enforcement cases
  • Need for other Staff to handle larger, more complex code enforcement cases
Senior Level Staff and/or Separate Positions

This alternative would replace the Community Development Assistant with an Administrative Assistant doing more routine administrative assistance. In addition to that, the City would hire a separate code enforcement staff member dedicated to that activity.

Talking Points
  • Robust administration and timely resolution to code enforcement cases
  • Ability to handle more complex code enforcement cases, reducing burden on other team members
  • Stability in Land Use Application process
  • Less likely for high level of turnover
  • Could combine both into a single position and have many of the same benefits above
In order to keep this discussion at the strategic level, Staff has left many of the mechanics out of this case report. Staff will be able to dive into more detail during discussion.
PURPOSE

The purpose of this case is to aide the Community Development Department frame its 2020 Budget Requests as it relates to two primary topics. Staff is seeking broad policy direction to help focus alternatives leading up to a draft budget.
  1. Replace hours lost due to requested phased retirement of Community Development Assistance
  2. Provide sufficient resources to address the demands of the City's Code Enforcement Program - Zoning Code Enforcement and Case Management
BACKGROUND

The Community Development Department is made up of three primary divisions.
  1. Planning (and Zoning)
    1. Long Range Planning
    2. Development Review
    3. Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Liaison
  2. Economic Development
    1. Business Retention and Expansion
    2. Business Subsidy Requests
    3. Business Licensing
  3. Building Inspections
    1. Building Permits
    2. Property Maintenance Code Enforcement
    3. Septic Administration
This case is specific to the Planning Division, although has implications to the other divisions and other departments as well. The Planning Division consists of the following Staff, with the assistance of the Community Development Director.
  • City Planner (Senior Planner in 2020) - Division Manager
    • Planning Commission Staff Liaison in 2020
  • City Planner - Environmental Focus
    • EPB Liaison
  • Community Development Assistant - Phased Retirement Request
  • Consulting Planner (WSB) - 20 hours per week
  • Planning Intern - Seasonal
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PHASED RETIREMENT REQUEST

The Community Development Assistant has been with the organization for over 20 years. This position plays an integral role in land use application management, insuring site plans and plats are routed through the appropriate review process. In addition, this role has provided significant backup to the Building Inspection Division when staffing levels were much lower in that division and prior to recent technology upgrades. As a side note, the Building Division will already be losing 20 hours per week in Staff Support due to the reassignment of the Engineering Administrative Assistant exclusively to the Engineering Department. This Staff Member had previously been assigned 20 hours per week in the Building Division on a temporary basis. 

The Community Development Assistant has a wealth of institutional knowledge, and a phased retirement would be an appropriate tool to support a seamless transition of this role's primary functions. The Community Development Assistant has requested phased retirement for 2020 and 2021 working two days a week at 16 hours per week.

Approval of the Phased Retirement Option (PRO) was recently extended by the Minnesota Legislature. The City Council is not obligated to approve the phased retirement option, but it is a tool that can be used in overall budget discussions. Retirement of this individual is inevitable at some point in the near future, and Staff would desire to capitalize on the institutional knowledge to its fullest extent.

CODE ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT

Staff is falling increasingly behind in code enforcement cases for zoning code enforcement as the number of complaints and intensity of cases increases. Community Development handles code complaints for home-based businesses, issues with buildings and structures, and enforcement in commercial and industrial districts. The Police Department handles long-grass complaints and junk vehicle complaints. The Police Chief also manages all appeals to Notices of Violations.

Community Development Staff has several dozen open cases at the moment, with several dozen other open cases likely needing administrative closure (violation corrected or unfounded, lacking data entry). With several prominent cases escalating recently, Staff has found it difficult to maintain the current workload. The published 14 Day Correction Period is closer to 30 Days or more. Additionally, a large majority of Staff Time is consumed by development review of land use applications. Staff has had to tap all resources of all team members to ensure development projects walk through the Planning Commission, EDA, and City Council process in the time prescribed by State Statute and expecte
Timeframe:
30 minutes
Funding Source:
2020 Budget Discussion
Responsible Party(ies):
Colleen Lasher, Administrative Services Director 
Outcome:
Based on discussion.

Attachments
Gap List

<
Form Review
Inbox Reviewed By Date
Bruce Westby Bruce Westby 09/09/2021 01:01 PM
Kurt Ulrich Kurt Ulrich 09/09/2021 02:05 PM
Form Started By: Colleen Lasher Started On: 08/09/2021 12:25 PM
Final Approval Date: 09/09/2021

    

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