Nuaimi To Impose 17 Percent Reductions On Yucca Valley Staff

YUCCA VALLEY — Less than two months after the town council upped Yucca Valley Town Manager Mark Nuaimi’s total yearly compensation package to just under $300,000, Nuami last week announced that he will lay off or accept the retirements of eight of the town’s veteran employees.
In his quest to eradicate a $400,000 budget deficit, Nuaimi on March 28 said he was laying off the town’s associate planner and Yucca Valley’s two recreation coordinators. Heading into retirement, he said, would be town clerk Jamie Anderson, community services director Jim Schooler, museum supervisor Lynn Richardson, along with a museum assistant, an animal shelter administrative assistant and a code compliance technician.
In structuring the retirements for the six, Nuaimi offered them dual incentives. The first incentive was that they could avoid involuntary pink slips by acceding to a voluntary and early retirement. All six were offered six months’ severance salary and 12 months of medical insurance for themselves and a single dependent.
Schooler oversaw the town’s recreation department. With his departure and those of the recreation coordinators, the town’s recreation activities will be substantially curtailed. Another existing employee will take over the recreation supervisor position part time.
The animal shelter administrative assistant and code compliance technicians will be replaced, likely at a pay and benefit level below what their predecessors received.
Nuaimi will not fill the recently created vacancy in the town’s roads maintenance division, brought on by an employee resignation.
Overall, the layoffs, retirements and reorganization entail a 17 percent reduction in the town’s workforce, from 41 to 34 full time employees, and will save $300,000 in the upcoming fiscal year as the retirement incentives are cashed out, and $725,000 per year thereafter.
Anderson, who started with Yucca Valley as its maiden town clerk at the time of incorporation in November 1991, will take with her a degree of institutional memory.
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum will remain open, despite having now lost its supervisor and one of its three remaining employees, and will likely function on reduced hours while relying on volunteer workers.
“I thank all the staff who opted for early retirement. In taking this incentive, they are helping the town balance its budget,” said Nuami who receives $190,000 per year in base salary and $103,339 in deferred compensation and benefits per year. His total compensation package will increase to $300,840 by 2015. His contract is guaranteed through 2016.
A town budget workshop will be held at City Hall at 9 a.m. Saturday April 6.

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