For the first time in recent memory, the City of Verona appears to be eliminating a job.
The Personnel committee voted 3-0 Friday to do away with the economic development manager position, which was created less than two years ago. The city hired Verona resident Dayna Sarver for the job in June 2018.
The decision allows the Finance committee to program the change into the 2020 budget, so if the council agrees after its public hearing in November, it would be effective Jan. 1. It would save about $109,000 in salary and benefits in a budget year that is tighter than most.
City administrator Adam Sayre told the Press he notified Sarver of the plan last week after the Finance committee discussed staffing cuts.
He said it is not performance related.
“I don’t think there’s enough work to justify that FTE,” he said.
Sayre said the suggestion came up when Finance started looking for alternatives in early September.
“As the committee was looking at options, it was raised by staff,” he said. “We got down to about $400,000 left, and it was either you can borrow for it, or you’re going to have to make some significant reductions.”
Finance also has discussed eliminating a deputy chief position in the fire department that has been vacant for more than a year. With the retirement of chief Joe Giver last week, the new chief would be able to determine the staffing structure, Sayre explained.
The job was created in 2017 under the final budget of the Jon Hochkammer mayoral administration, led by administrator Jeff Mikorski, who was relieved of his duties in February. Since that budget was put together, the city has five new alders and an entirely new Finance committee. Sayre pointed out that Mayor Luke Diaz has signaled strong resistance to the use of tax-increment financing, which is the primary economic development tool cities have.
Sarver told the Press shortly after her hire she saw business retention and relationship-building with existing businesses at the heart of her job.
“I wasn’t involved in the creation of it,” Sayre said. “I’m uncertain what the vision was.”
Sayre said many of her duties can be folded into the now vacant job of planning and development director, which Sayre held until accepting a promotion in August.
Sarver will not get a severance beyond her three-month notice, Sayre said. She had been living in Verona for the past 15 years, much of which was spent as a stay-at-home mother, but had most recently been working for the City of Janesville in community economic development in the city’s downtown.