Gilpin County reorganization and workforce reductions

Commissioners terminate 79 positions to try to balance the budget

By Randy Beaudette

An emotional reorganization and reduction in work force discussion was the highlight (or lowlight) of the June 30, 2020 meeting of the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC). Board-Chair Gail Watson called the Special online meeting to order at 9:00 am along with Commissioners Linda Isenhart and Ron Engels. County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate, and members from the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) joined in as needed.

Workforce Reductions

County Manager Abel Montoya presented recommendations concerning the Gilpin County reorganization and reduction of the workforce, a result of the financial crisis due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Several budgetary options were presented, from continuing with business as usual, to drastic reductions in employee salaries and services to the County residents. In the business as usual option, the Gilpin County budget could fall behind as much as $30 Million dollars over the next few years, so was not a favorable option. A more favorable option that would minimize the impact to the residents is one that utilizes strategic reductions across the board including some possibly affecting essential services. Permanent modifications effective immediately will be to terminate 79 County wide positions. It is not clear which positions will be cut, but it was clear that it affected all County Departments and the various pay grades. Other budgetary reduction items included a cut of $1 Million dollars in the Sheriff’s budget which may be partially supplemented by the recently applied for grant, a reduction of projects and programs resulting in a $172,000 savings, a delay in capital projects resulting in a $1.8 Million dollar savings, and all departments and elected officials are required to reduce their 2021 budgets by 3%. Total savings from the above measures equate to about a $4.45 Million dollar savings in the 2021 annual operating budget. Gilpin County Commissioners regretfully approved Workforce Reductions unanimously.

County Reorganization

The proposed reorganization Mr. Montoya suggested is to consolidate several County departments under one heading to achieve cost savings. Human Services will remain untouched with Senior, Youth, and Veteran Services all under that department. The biggest changes will be that Finance will be combined with Human Resources to form a new “People, Culture and Finance” Department. Community Development will combine with Public Works to form a new “Infrastructure and Development Services” Department. Commissioner Watson’s comment expressed her opposition to combining the departments due to the lack of financial experience of the Human Resources Director. The common sense approach is that the departments that were consolidated are so highly specialized that the newly appointed director will require an intense and lengthy learning process to understand the scope and detail involved in each department affairs. After a substantial discussion and several online questions Gilpin County Commissioners approved County Reorganization with a vote of two “for” and one “against.”

Parks and Recreation

County Manager Montoya also recommended the formation of a “Parks and Recreation (P&R) Special District.” This proposal removes the Parks and Recreation Department’s attachment to the County. The formation of a new district requires interested residents form a Parks and Recreation Commission that will oversee the management and financial aspects of that district. Once the Commission is formed, residents will be required to vote on the new P&R district, which will most likely result in a mil levy increase on property taxes. Until a Commission and Special District is formed, the Recreation Center will most likely remain closed the rest of the year due to costs associated with the P&R Department. Mr. Montoya assured the online participants the County will continue maintain the Recreation Center so the current infrastructure will not fall into despair due to neglect. Interested parties should continue to monitor the County website for details or contact County Manager Montoya along with the Commissioners to express your views or possibly consider a position on the newly formed Commission.

Position Approvals

Human Resources Director Lori Schrayer presented a list of new and combined positions now available due to the approved reorganization. Appraisal Associate (Grade 65), Facilities Maintenance Technician II (Grade 80), Business Analyst II (Grade 95), Child and Youth Grant Project Coordinator (Grade 80), Facilities Manager (Grade 105), Infrastructure Deputy Director (Grade 105), Senior Planner (Grade 105), Director of Infrastructure and Development Services (Grade 115), and People Culture and Finance Director (Grade 115). Mr. Montoya stated that these jobs will be posted internally to offer these positions to newly displaced County employees first before the positions are offered to the public. Appraisal Associate, Facilities Maintenance Technician, and Grant Project Coordinator were approved unanimously by the BoCC, but Business Analyst II, Infrastructure Deputy Director, Senior Planner, Director of Infrastructure and Development Services, and People Culture and Finance Director were approved with a vote of two “for” and one “against.”

Legal Status Report

County Attorney Brad Benning provided a weekly update on zoning matters and the status of those cases. There are three zoning cases in the court at this time 200 Hacker Drive (outdoor residential violation, unscreened debris piles, setback violation, and camping), 26 Hornblend Road (junk cars motion pending), 554 Old Hughesville Road (camping). A Notification of Violation has been sent to 19454 Hwy 119 (occupied illegal structures), and 211 Chalet Drive (outbuilding violation).

The Attorney’s office is also working on an Intergovernmental Agreement with Boulder County concerning law enforcement on a portion of the Tolland property that was donated to Boulder County as a recreation area. Boulder County is planning to develop a trail system on the property which is located near the Gilpin and Boulder County line.

County Manager’s Report

County Manager Abel Montoya announced that the final draft letter to DOLA for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act was sent to the Commissioners for final approval. Once the Board reviewed the letter, it was approved unanimously.

Gilpin County BoCC unanimously approved the Meeting Minutes, June 23 & 25, 2020.

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