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Reality Check: Why do so many Asheville city employees have interim titles?

"I think we have a pretty good system in place, but the bonds did drive the need to put some folks in leadership roles early, so that we could get the work done pursuant to the bonds," Human Resources Director Peggy Rowe said. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The City of Asheville currently has 47 employees with interim in their job title. About half of those work for the fire department, and the rest work in various city departments.

Some of the position shuffling has to do with the bonds voters passed in November. One Asheville resident told News13 the staff changes have made it harder to get help.

Vickie Gaddy has been pleading for help because of stormwater runoff.

"It's supposed to run that way down, and it doesn't," Gaddy said, showing News 13 her yard.

When it rains she said the water flows down a hill and right into her yard. One time it flooded her basement.

"It got too deep. It jumped the ditch. It was all in here, and it came down these walls, and it went down the basement steps, and it went into the basement, and flooded the basement," she said.

Just as Gaddy inched towards progress, the city's Stormwater Division Manager changed jobs.

"They were going to make a plan. They didn't, and then the next think I know, he's left," said Gaddy.

McCray Coates was the Stormwater Manager. He slid over to Interim Streets Division Manager when that division's manger, Chad Bandy, moved to Interim Program Manager for Transportation. The City's Human Resources Director Peggy Rowe says this is how the system should work.

"I think we have a pretty good system in place, but the bonds did drive the need to put some folks in leadership roles early, so that we could get the work done pursuant to the bonds," said Rowe.

Some of the changes started after voters approved $74 million worth of bonds. One of the biggest pieces to move was Water Resources Director Jade Dudas. He shifted to Interim Capital Projects Director, overseeing much of the bond spending. Even more recently Dundas moved to Interim Assistant City Manager.

"I've had a lot of experience in my career with capital projects with the construction of streets, the infrastructure, the water, sewer, storm sewer, vertical treatment plants, that sort of thing," said Dundas.

Gaddy voted for all three bonds, but she worries about the qualifications of some of the people moved to fill holes, specifically the employees who asked for her expertise.

"They said 'Mrs. Gaddy how do you think we should fix it?' I'm not an engineer," she said.

The city's HR Director expects the staff changes to slow down. Gaddy hopes that helps slow her stormwater runoff concerns.

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