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Cuts run deeper than expected in Tampa building department

TAMPA — Layoffs in the city's construction services division are much more severe than originally expected.

The final tally: 26 employees.

That's 10 more than Cyndy Miller, director of the Growth Management and Development Services Department, said would lose their jobs when she presented a plan to reorganize the division earlier this year.

Worsening declines in construction activity made the additional cuts necessary, Miller said in a memo sent to council members late Friday.

Activity is down 40 percent from 2007 levels, Miller said.

"We were especially concerned when we saw commercial activity, which had been holding its own in 2008. Now, we're seeing a decrease in activity," she added.

The size of the department has been cut from 93 full-time positions to 62. Five people whose positions were eliminated have retired or transferred to other jobs in the city.

"It's sad and unfortunate that anybody needs to lose their jobs. I wish instead of taking that approach that we could have looked at a universal pay cut of 5 percent or something like that," said Council member John Dingfelder.

The job cuts are part of an attempt to make the division self-sustaining, with permit fees covering operating costs.

"We had hoped to be self sufficient during 2010. Now it's going to take (longer) for that to occur, even with the cutbacks," Miller said.

After hearing of the job losses, Council member Joseph Caetano said it's not realistic or practical to expect the division to generate enough revenue to cover costs.

"I don't think it's going to be possible," he said. "I'm not happy with it."

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Cuts run deeper than expected in Tampa building department 06/19/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 19, 2009 11:20pm]
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