Local governments struggle with hiring freeze option, alternativesSome counties and municipalities across Wisconsin have used hiring freezes to cut down on costs during the economic downturn. However, they're finding they can't afford to leave some positions unfilled.
By: Danielle Kaeding, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Some counties and municipalities across Wisconsin have used hiring freezes to cut down on costs during the economic downturn. However, they're finding they can't afford to leave some positions unfilled.
Ed Henschel, executive director of the Wisconsin City/County Management Association (WCMA) says a fair amount of their 250 members have resorted to hiring freezes to balance budgets. However, he says a hiring freeze is a quick fix and municipalities should examine all opportunities in order to eliminate duplicate positions, inefficient services, outsourcing to the private sector, or consolidating offices. Henschel adds municipalities need good strategic plans that fit into their budgets to get the “biggest bang for their buck.”
City officials in La Crosse are examining outsourcing work to a Twin Cities company in light of their city’s hiring freeze. City planning director Larry Kirch says filling certain positions may be more efficient and cost-effective than outsourcing. He cites two positions related to economic development, and others tied to trying to increase the tax base, increase jobs, promote La Crosse, fill in vacancies downtown, among others.
La Crosse Mayor Matt Harter says they’re examining all options, evaluating every position on a case-by-case basis.
Harter says 40 or so city positions remain unfilled.