As with many municipalities, COVID -19 has affected the Town of Windsor both in economic terms as well as services. Six weeks have passed with town facilities closed and programs and events cancelled. Those facilities and programs included the temporary closure of the Community Recreation Center and the cancellation of major sports programs such as youth soccer and all town-sponsored events were cancelled for May. That said, cancellations and decreased revenues had the potential to impact some full-time positions and several part-time employee assignments. Knowing that, Town elected leaders and staff committed to avoiding employee layoffs until absolutely necessary. To date, the Town of Windsor has temporarily reassigned 32 part time positions and placed 9 employees on temporary furlough.
Town Manager Shane Hale explains “There is a great source of pride that the town has never laid anyone off due to financial reasons—it may eventually be unavoidable, but it isn’t something that we are taking lightly. In addition, without knowing how long the stay at home order would be in effect, it made little practical sense to furlough or lay people off when we could be tasked with rehiring them shortly thereafter.” He continued by stating that “part-time positions have historically been the most difficult to fill.”
With the intent of keeping current staff employed with an eye on the bottom line, town staff has provided a plan to repurpose the current part time staff into positions that would normally be hired as part-time seasonal positions beginning May 4. For instance, some part time staff from the Community Recreation Center will be repurposed as a parks maintenance staff. The plan dramatically reduces seasonal hiring and realizes costs savings from vacant full-time positions as well as contractual savings by doing work in house with part-time employees. The savings for the month of May has a net effect of $118,553. The plan can be carried into June or beyond if necessary, with similar savings, as necessary.
“By repurposing employees, the town will continue be able to provide services, will realize cost savings, and will maintain its impeccable record of never having laid off employees during an economic downturn,” exclaims Hale.