Scott Thomsen

My organization — a municipally owned electric utility — has gone through two years of difficult budget cuts, including the “abrogation” of staff (layoffs). My division, communications, took a 30 percent budget cut and lost five people while the workload of communicating with our customers about our situation increased. It’s been a challenging time and the calls for further reductions continue.

It’s especially disheartening to hear allegations of how much fat there is in our operation that needs to be cut. To keep costs down, we have been forced to put off needed maintenance that has hurt the reliability of our distribution system. A significant investment is needed, but it’s a double edged sword. No one likes to pay for things like that, then when the system breaks they want to know why it wasn’t taken care of sooner.

Other departments in the city have been hit hard as well. One had to lay off more than 100 workers.

Our current budget proposal would bring some needed stability for the next two years. Our City Council will be voting on it next month. I’m waiting to see what they do before I can be totally confident about the near future.

What GovLoop can do is continue to provide the networking opportunities many government workers will need as they face layoffs, furloughs and the stress of doing more and more with less and less. Even in a tight economy, jobs do become available. Unfortunately for organizations that are holding down pay and putting the squeeze on employees, the folks who leave are likely to be your best and brightest.