Farmersville cracks hiring freeze

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For the first time since 2008, the City of Farmersville has added a position to city staff.

At its July 27 meeting, the Farmersville City Council lifted the hiring freeze that has been in effect since the housing market collapse.

“A hiring freeze has been in effect for the past several years and in order for the position to be filled, council must authorize moving ahead [with lifting the hiring freeze],” said Interim City Manager Mario Krstic.

The position had already been budgeted for as part of the City’s $32 million budget for fiscal year 2015-16, which was approved earlier this month. Krstic forecasted the need for a Public Works position over a year ago stating the Waste Water Treatment Plant would require additional operators and operators with more training. Instead, Farmersville is seeking a Maintenance 1 worker to rotate between various sites and duties throughout the City.

During budget hearings in June, Mayor Greg Gomez credited the City’s improving financial situation to the City filling a vacant position when it hired Finance Director  Steven Huntley in October 2013.

Since 2008, the only hiring the City has done was to fill vacant positions or to keep staffing levels in specific departments to remain in compliance with State and Federal grant requirements. The most recent example would be the hiring of a full-time fire chief and fire lieutenant last April. However, both of those positions were funded through a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant through FEMA and the Office of Homeland Security. The $453,294 grant will fund the salaries of the two positions for three years, giving the City an opportunity to grow revenues to retain the positions through the General Fund after the grant runs out. After being sworn-in on Feb. 28, 2014, John Crivello became the first fire chief in the City’s history. Since incorporating as a city in 1960, Farmersville’s police chief has served as both the fire and police chief.

The new Public Works position now remains the only vacant seat at City Hall. That distinction was previously held by the city manager, which had been vacant for two years before the hiring of John Jansons in June. City officials are hopeful next year’s budget will be even better with Jansons 10 years of experience in economic development. Prior to being hired by Farmersville, Jansons served five years as Director of the Department of Economic Development for the City of Hemet, a city of 81,000 people southeast of Riverside in Southern California.

With the hiring of Jansons, Mario Krstic will return to his role as the Farmersville Police Chief. Krstic has served as interim city manager since the retirement of former City Manager Renee Miller in May 2013.

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