Meadville Tribune

Local News

February 10, 2013

Citywide management succession plan in works for Meadville

MEADVILLE — After years of cutting expenses by reducing the number of employees and thereby eliminating traditional paths of career development, the City of Meadville has arrived at a crossroads.

At the present time, according to a report presented to Meadville City Council during its recent study session by City Manager Joe Chriest, the age of the average non-union city employee now exceeds 54 years. By the end of 2016, five management and five non-management employees will have met the city’s minimum retirement requirements. Specifically, they will be at least 60 years of age and have completed a minimum of 20 years of service.

In response to what he sees as a widespread absence of trained personnel ready to step into senior positions, Chriest is in the process of preparing a citywide management succession plan.

Implementation of one part of the plan, however, needs to start almost immediately. Before the end of the current year, both the chief and assistant chief of Meadville’s police department will be retiring.

Under normal circumstances, Meadville has a 21-member police force, including the chief and assistant chief. However, during years of budget discussions with the city, Chief Dave Stefanucci has steadfastly maintained that at 21, one below the department’s 2009 staffing level, he really needs to hire another police officer.

“I feel we have gone too far from what we need to make the schedules work,” Stefanucci wrote in a memorandum included as part of the 120-page budget proposal presented to Meadville City Council by Finance Director Tim Groves at the start of the 2013 budget season last November. “We have been pushing the men far beyond what they should be as far as working overtime to cover the lost manpower.” In addition, while officers leaving in 2012 took more than 90 years of experience with them, according to Chriest, 10 of the city’s 19 remaining uniformed officers have completed less than six years of service.

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