Total city employee count climbs back from 2015 low

Total city employee count climbs back from 2015 low

Mostly due to new fire personnel, say officials

PAWTUCKET – After a steady decline in the city’s employee ranks during the first five years of Mayor Donald Grebien’s administration, overall numbers are approaching what they were when the mayor first took office in 2011.

Total city employees for fiscal year 2020 are 593, according to information provided in response to a public records request from The Breeze. That’s 14 fewer than the 607 employed as of fiscal year 2010, but 44 more than a 2015 low.

Total employee ranks reached 662 people in 2008, and was down to 656 in 2009, a year before Grebien was elected.

On the public safety side, total staffing is up from 290 employees a decade ago to 299 this year. On the municipal side, the numbers are down from 317 employees a decade ago to 294 today.

Total employee numbers declined from 607 to 603 in 2011, to 569 in 2012, 562 in 2013, 541 in 2014, and a low of 539 in 2015. Then came the upswing, the biggest jump coming in 2016 to 563 employees, then 572 employees in 2017, 581 employees in 2018, 591 employees in the last fiscal year, and 593 employees this fiscal year.

Almost all of the growth since the low totals in 2015 has been related to the Pawtucket Fire Department, explained Director of Administration Dylan Zelazo, where there are about 30 more employees than there were a few years ago.

When Grebien came into office, there were a number of fire positions that were vacant and unfilled, said Zelazo. A pair of firefighting staffing grants have bumped those numbers up, with the total of 153 firefighters now seven more than full departmental staffing of 146 firefighters.

Police personnel are up about five positions overall, according to Zelazo.

The 593 employees don’t include the School Department, which has about double the number of employees as the city side.

Total employees are down overall due to offsets on the administration side, according to Zelazo. When employees have been added, there have been changes elsewhere. For example, when a new human resources coordinator was added, that position replaced the former personnel director. A new commerce director position was offset through a reorganization of other positions.

“You don’t see growth in city administration,” he said.

Total employee salaries are up from $28.77 million in 2017 to $32.22 million this year.