Orem feels growing pains, but still working under budget

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    By Melinda Fitzgerald

    Orem City adopted its 2000-2001 budget May 2 amidst discussion about personnel spending.

    Despite large amounts of funds used for personnel, Orem City says its spending is below average.

    “We are very lean and mean when it comes to personnel spending compared to most cities of about the same size because of our dedication to technology,” Phil Goodrich director of Administrative Services said.

    Nearly 40 percent of all city expenditures and 70 percent of general fund expenditures go towards personnel expenses.

    “The community in Orem is growing faster than city employees. There are less employees per population,” Jim Reams, city manager, said.

    Several individuals expressed concern about Orem City’s “lean and mean” personnel policy.

    “I’m worried about staff burnout,” Council member Bill Pepperone said.

    “I think we need to continue to consider staff issues and increase as needed. We have not matched the growth, we have been so conservative on hiring new employees,” Pepperone said.

    “I’m not sure if you’re doing us a favor by not increasing personnel,” Lyman Durfee said.

    Establishment of one new position within the budget, a public information officer, inspired discussion of personnel issues. This new position will focus on the City newsletter, City web page and upgrades of Channel 3.

    “This public information officer seems to be an unnecessary appointment for tasks that are already taken care of. This seems unnecessary for doing something that very few people use,” Bob Wright said.

    Opposing viewpoints were expressed about the hiring of new personnel and the information officer position.

    “Orem is too lean and too mean. We should not look at hiring just one employee per year, but five to 10,” Paul Washburn said.

    Council members discussed and tabled the issue, and adopted the proposed budget without changes to personnel spending.

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