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Back in the black, Claremont separates community and human services

Three years after the merging of the city’s community and human services departments, the Claremont City Council has ordered the departments be separated once more.

Community and human services were first combined in 2011 as the city of Claremont looked to reduce its spending in times of financial uncertainty. The corresponding commissions were also merged.

With city finances back in the black, city officials believe it best to conduct another department restructure. Although City Manager Tony Ramos recognized the benefits of the combined commissions, he asserted the same success cannot be said about the merging of the departments.

“While it is a credit to all our staff…that operations have continued and minimum concerns or complaints have been heard regarding the initial merger, executive staff has observed the strain that having only one director over such a wide responsibility area has had on overall department operations,” he said.

In addition to the concern of having just one director for both departments, Mr. Ramos also pointed out the struggle over the geographic separation of both offices as well as the vast difference between human services department, which is much more focused on front-end consumer interaction, and community services, centered primarily on tasks like fixing downed water or power lines. Despite the struggles, the department has made extensive progress on large projects like the public art and wilderness park master plans, the city manager noted.

With council approval, city staff will begin the search for a new human services director, with a projected salary and benefits package of $205,160. In the meantime, $60,000 is being set aside for the hiring of an interim director. Kathleen Trepa will continue as the chief of the community services department and the community and human services commissions will remain a combined entity.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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