Naperville City Council discusses new police officers, IT employees, among other personnel requests

Naperville Municipal Center
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Naperville may see up to 18 new positions to fill operational gaps in city services, based on discussions at Tuesday’s budget workshop.

New personnel requests

After initially receiving 33 requests for new personnel, city staff cut the list to 18. No cost estimate for each employee was provided.

From 2019 to 2023, the city has seen a 29% decrease in applications per job posting. In the last five years, Naperville has received 78% fewer police department candidates, and from 2018 to 2022, they’ve seen a 71% decrease in fire department candidates.

This spurred the movement from city staff to recommend both an HR specialist and a recruitment assistant. The HR specialist would specifically work with the Board of Fire & Police to bring in more candidates.

Councilwoman Jennifer Bruzan Taylor was wary about bringing in full-time staff to tackle recruitment issues and instead suggested an alternative.

“Do we really need to hire full-time employees with benefits and pension obligations and everything that attaches to that?” said Bruzan Taylor. “To me, it seems like this is a better fit for a consultant.”

Naperville Director of Human Resources Blaine Wing said both of these positions would be administrative, and not fit the standards required for just a consultant.

“We feel there’s work in regards to our training offerings as well as some career development,” said Wing. “An ongoing component versus solving a quick problem that a consultant would be brought in for.”

A controversial recommendation came through the city’s IT department, as they requested two new positions: a senior geographic information systems analyst and a network administrator. Bruzan Taylor questioned the impact new hires would have on the 35-person IT department.

“At what point do we have too many tech individuals and we lose the efficiency that it’s supposed to bring?” said Bruzan Taylor.

Director of Information Technology Jackie Nguyen said new technology programs offered by the city, such as body cameras for police officers, need additional staff to be managed.

“We have growth in the number of services, technologies that we add across the city,” said Nguyen. “We have transfer from a number of physical servers to virtual servers for more consistency in maintenance and support.

Councilwoman Allison Longenbaugh was in support of the new IT additions.

“I look at this as a project management and needing IT-specific people to help make sure that we get these projects over the line successfully because they’re really big and too big to fail,” said Longenbaugh.

Other recommendations at Tuesday’s meeting included four downtown patrol officers, two strategic response unit officers, a transportation manager, and a lead permit technician.

Funding for city positions

Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger said all 18 positions recommended by staff can be funded without an increase in the budget, even as city officials expect a flat to declining property tax rate in Naperville.

Funding from the state sales and use tax, hotel/motel tax, state income tax, and service charges have risen since 2020.

“We have experienced some long-term change in revenue sources over the past few years that make it possible to fund the resources,” said Krieger.

No final decisions were made at Tuesday’s meeting. The next workshop will be on Oct. 9, covering the community survey results and ethics.

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