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Council Approves City Employee Cap

To keep operations lean and make new hires transparent, Tuesday night, Springfield aldermen approved a proposal to cap the number of employees on the city's payroll at 1,500 or less. Beyond that threshold, requests for additional hires would have to go before city council for approval.

Alderman Joe McMenamim sponsored the ordinance and said there are currently around 1,463 employees--about 60 fewer than what's budgeted for. This is saving the city $6 million in salaries and benefits.

Despite the lower head count, the argument is the ordinance encourages lean operations for future administrations. The savings would be put toward reserves at a time infrastructure repairs are needed.

"The various departments of city government will compete for what room for growth there is," Ward 7 Alderman Joe McMenamin said. "That's healthy, too. Every department of city government will have to justify what added payroll, what added head count, they want to have. Whether it's public works, police or fire. City Water, Light, and Power will have its own cap, so they won't be competing with the other departments of government."

Mayor Mike Houston said the ordinance is not necessary, and administration has reduced employment within city government.

Also Tuesday night, aldermen approved plans for the Legacy Sports Complex. That's expected to go up in a 70-acre lot on Springfield's south side. Three baseball and softball organizations are already eying the complex for future tournaments.  Construction is expected to break ground this spring.

Also discussed at Tuesday night's meeting: city leaders plan to release tapes of meetings that took place behind closed doors. They revolve around why a CWLP employee got to keep his job after he used company equipment to cut down a family member's tree. The tapes are expected to be released today.

 
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