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Staffing Is Top Priority In Budget Requests As Cincinnati Officials Expect Cuts

Jay Hanselman

Several city of Cincinnati departments say staffing shortages are at critical levels. Four departments made budget presentations to a City Council committee Monday.

Markiea Carter is interim director of the Department of Community and Economic Development. She says they're consistently asked to do more with less.

"I think it's important to see the actual people impact that this has," Carter told council members. "[In] 2012 we had 15 FTE's (full-time employees) in our housing divisions — right now we have 10. That's significant. That's five individuals that are not available to support our housing efforts."    

Carter hopes for increased funding to hire more staff. That could include a dedicated team to help the United Way implement contracts for human services, something the city hasn't had since 2010.

The Department of Economic Inclusion hopes for enough funding to fill some vacant positions.

Interim Director Jennifer Mackenzie says monitoring contracts for the inclusion of women and minority-owned businesses takes a significant amount of time.

"Because we want to make sure that the inclusion is not just on paper, we want to make sure that our firms are getting meaningful opportunities to participate in these contracts."

Mackenzie says one position in the department has been left vacant for five years as a way to meet past budget targets.

The Department of City Planning is requesting an additional city planner position to take on additional community engagement responsibilities.

The Citizen Complaint Authority, which investigates certain policy actions and citizen complaints, also requested a funding increase to add five staff members.

All four departments described themselves as "small but mighty" and are the latest in the city's months-long budget process.

City administrators are asking departments to plan for an up to 8% reduction for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

See all four budget presentations below: 

Community and Economic Deve... by WVXU News

Economic Inclusion Budget P... by WVXU News

City Planning Budget Presen... by WVXU News

CCA Budget Presentation by WVXU News

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.