Chehaw takes on personnel operations - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Chehaw takes on personnel operations

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

February 2, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Parks at Chehaw is taking over management of employees there. It's a move that could help the park become more self-sufficient. For years, the city has hired, fired, and implemented pay increases and benefits for employees who work at the Park. Now Chehaw leaders will take on that responsibility, and they believe it will actually save them money in the long run.

It's been a tough year for the Parks at Chehaw. Visits are down by about 10%, which means the park isn't bringing in as much revenue. In an effort to cut costs, executive director Doug Porter will now take on an additional responsibility, payroll.  He said, "If you're trying to run a business, you can't delegate out the largest part of your operation to some other entity."

But for years, that's how it's been. The city has hired, fired and acted as the human resource manager for all Chehaw employees, including Porter. Now the Authority will have more control over personnel, which will give them more financial flexibility.

Porter said, "We haven't had a say in how the salaries are set, what the benefits are, if there's a cost of living increase going into effect, we had no choice in the matter, it just would happen."

Porter says the move will save the park money, which will help in their drive to self sufficiency. Mayor Willie Adams says it's a move in the right direction. "The authority was created to be independent," he said.  "To me, I vision this as being a move to get things all under one umbrella as it probably should have been in the beginning."

Porter said, "We want to get better at what we do and we think by managing our own resources, our own Human Resources, we'll be able to control that better."

The park will undergo a restructuring which will include a change in insurance plans offered to employees, as well as changes in retirement plans.

Chehaw currently receives $1 Million a year from the city and are under contract to receive that money for the next five years. Porter has been given an indication that the city will likely cut the amount they give to Chehaw at the end of this contract, and that's why he's taking steps now to reduce expenses and save the park money.

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