City manager thaws job freeze

City Manger John Pietig is allowing the Police Department to fill a position he had originally frozen because the police chief had already offered it by letter.

Other positions will not be affected by the reversal.

"The officer was given the letter about the same time I had indicated a freeze in the position," Pietig said. "When I learned about the letter, I felt the appropriate thing to do was to follow through with the offer. However, we will hold other positions vacant as we evaluate the [2011-12] budget that will be proposed to the council."

Reserve Officer Sean Krogman had been hired for a full-time job by Chief Paul Workman, who retracted the offer the same day because of the freeze.

Laguna Beach Police Employee Assn. President Larry Bammer publically objected to the freeze at the March 1 council meeting.

The association's motto is "Protecting Our Members & Serving the Community." Bammer told the council that the freeze indicated that city management is not placing officer or public safety as a top priority. He asked to have two positions in the Police Department filled.

Bammer reported that Workman notified him Tuesday that the city manager had unfrozen the position for which Krogman was hired.

"While I appreciate the CM's action reference the first position I believe it only solved 50% of the need," Bammer wrote in an e-mail Wednesday. "I continue to request the second position be unfrozen and the council look at funding the community outreach officer position or absolving that directed position.

"I most certainly will object in the coming weeks to the filling of the vacant assistant city manager position while public safety positions are unfilled. I know before John came to Laguna Beach some nine years ago we did not have [that] and I am sure if the necessity exists to freeze police officer positions the same argument can/will be made for that empty assistant city manager position."

Pietig was hired in May 2001 as assistant city manager.

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