TRPA lays off five employees as part of reorganization strategy
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Five people andamp;#8212; occupying two full-time and three part-time positions andamp;#8212; were cut from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency June 10 as part of one of the most significant staff reorganization in the agency’s more-than-40-year history.All of the positions were eliminated as part of a strategic plan to help the agency streamline, achieve its environmental goals, increase operational efficiency and better serve the public, said TRPA spokeswoman Julie Regan on Thursday.Implementation of the strategic plan will be critical to the agency moving forward, Regan said.andamp;#8220;We just didn’t believe the former structure was the business model that we needed for future success,andamp;#8221; Regan said.The people cut were the last remaining employees in the TRPA’s planning and evaluation branch, which has seen employees reassigned to other branches during the past eight months, Regan said.Eliminating the branch will allow the TRPA to combine their short-range and long-range planners into a single planning branch to improve the agency’s effectiveness, Regan said. In the past, long-term planners did not come into the plan review process until midway, sometimes causing delays, Regan said.The five jobs cut focused on single aspects of the environment, like air quality, soils, recreation and vegetation. The strategic plan calls for recruiting people with interdisciplinary backgrounds to three new full-time positions.andamp;#8220;By recruiting people who have a broad range of skill sets in natural resources, we’re hoping we’ll be more efficient in the plan-review process,andamp;#8221; Regan said.The TRPA will also hire a chief operating officer, who will be in charge of developing new performance standard for employees under the strategic plan. That hire won’t take place for several months, Regan said.Deputy Director Jerry Wells’ job title has been changed to special projects director under the plan to allow him to focus a greater amount of time on the TRPA’s regional plan update, Regan said.Under the strategic plan, acting branch chiefs have also been appointed from within the agency to temporarily fill the roles of some of the TRPA’s most tenured employees who have moved to the agency’s regional plan update team, including John Hitchcock, Paul Nielsen and Lyn Barnett.andamp;#8220;We felt that was the best change we could make to ensure that the plan was complete,andamp;#8221; Regan said.Although the planning agency may see some immediate savings as a result of the cuts, the strategic plan is likely to have little discernible effect on the agency’s budget in the long term, Regan said.The agency’s Governing Board has given direction to Executive Director Joanne Marchetta on the strategic plan during the past year, and do not need to approve the organizational changes.Also as part of the strategic plan, the board will consider approval of an ethics policy for TRPA staff at their regular meeting on Wednesday. The TRPA has never had an official ethics policy.The Governing Board meets starting at 9:30 a.m. at TRPA’s South Shore offices. The meeting is expected to continue into Thursday. For a full meeting agenda, visit: http://www.trpa.org.
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