Employment notebook: 37 more separations from city of Bloomington in last four months

Earlier this year, when Bloomington’s city council deliberated on increasing the local income tax (LIT) paid by all county residents, part of the pitch from the administration included a need to pay city employees more, to stem the tide of their departures.

The data provided at the time by mayor John Hamilton’s administration included the number of city employees who have left their jobs over the last few years, and the year-to-date numbers for 2022.

The nearly 100 departures in 2021 was a dramatic jump from the roughly 60 departures a year for the previous six years. And the 36 departures up April of this year put Bloomington on a pace to match the big number from 2021. The city of Bloomington has about 850 employees.

Based on a B Square review of online payroll records, the trend for departures has continued over the last four months, as another 37 people have left their jobs at the city of Bloomington. That brings the year-to-date total to 73.

The number of departures in the last four months includes some high-level positions—some, but not all, due to retirement.

Deputy police chief Joseph Qualters retired at the end of June, with more than 35 years of service. Police lieutenant Jeffery Canada’s retirement came in the first week of June after more than 33 years of service.

Assistant director of small business development in the department of economic and sustainable development, Jane Kupersmith, resigned in early July to take a position at Catalent.

Since April, the city of Bloomington utilities (CBU) has lost assistant directors in four different areas—finance, transmission and distribution (T&D), engineering, and operations.

In addition to the CBU assistant director of finance, CBU’s accounting office lost its manager who had nearly 32 years of experience.

The administration’s argument that more revenue was needed in order to retain employees was one factor that persuaded city councilmembers to approve the LIT increase in early May. The plan for use of the additional LIT revenue to the city included about $1.16 million a year to “offer incentives to attract and retain talented City employees…”

Departmental presentations to the city council on the 2023 budget are just four weeks away. They’re scheduled for the four evenings from Aug. 29 through Sept. 1.

The administration’s latest numbers for employee departures will likely be one of the data points requested by city councilmembers, if the numbers aren’t included in the materials they receive for the departmental presentations.