More layoffs by parishJan 11th, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: News
Ten more parish employees have been laid off, as parish government continues to downsize the workforce to a more affordable size going into the new year.
Chief Administrative Officer Jerry Graves Jr. confirmed the layoffs and said that the Public Works, Road, Water and Sewage, Tourism and Human Resources departments saw cuts.
“Right now we have about 10 people who’s last day is Friday (January 11),” Graves explained.
St. Bernard Parish Government is now down to approximately 423 employees. In 2012, 82 employees
were eliminated to combat the parish’s budget shortfall as many residents criticized parish government for being inflated. Pre-Katrina the parish had nearly 65,000 residents with 528 parish employees. The current
population is around 40,000 but in 2012 there were 505 employees.
Parish President Dave Peralta alluded to a reduced workforce to better suit the parish’s reduced post-Katrina population at the December 14 council meeting.
“While downsizing the organization has been a painful endeavor for everyone involved, there is unfortunately more work to be done in terms of “right-sizing” St. Bernard Parish Government for the post-Katrina environment,” said Peralta. “The Administration will make every effort to bring employees
back to the organization as our financial situation and operational needs dictate.”
Graves explained that the administration looked throughly at several options before making the final decision to eliminate employees. He said that some positions were able to be saved by identifying grant funding to pay their salaries.
“We tried to minimize the number of layoffs by transferring people to Hazard Mitigation and
CDBG projects, where their salaries could be paid for by grants.” Some of the projects, he explained include
the Safe Harbor project, which consists of installing a series of docking piles every 20-40 feet along the Violet Canal, and possibly in Caernarvon, for the purpose of mooring fishing vessels during storm events;
as well as the the water plant.
“We were able to do that with a few positions, but unfortunately, not for everyone,” said Graves. “We are going to do additional projects that we haven’t identified yet.”