Manitowoc eliminates freeze, but will oversee new hires

Manitowoc City Council discusses a hiring freeze at its Monday, May 5 meeting.
Manitowoc City Council discusses a hiring freeze at its Monday, May 5 meeting.

MANITOWOC - The city of Manitowoc will no longer have a hiring freeze. However, the city will still have oversight on all new hires.

The Manitowoc City Council says it wants to make sure its spending its money well on new hires.

However, Alderman Chris Able says the city can afford to lift the language of a hiring freeze.

"Every year we’ve voted on it, calling it a hiring freeze, when really what it is an oversight by the council before we fill any position. It’s not as if we have an actual hiring freeze. We are filling positions that are necessary," said Able.

The hiring freeze had been adopted every year since 2012, when the city faced a budget crisis.

However, the city council will continue to approve each new hire by a two-thirds majority.

The measure passed 8 to 1. Alderman Jim Brey was the one member who voted no.

"I just don’t think it needs a two-thirds majority. We do everything here by majority rule except for some things at budget time that we need two thirds majority. We don’t need the two thirds, majority would rule," said Brey.

Mayor Justin Nickels also opposed that two-thirds majority rule, but told FOX 11 the city still has some financial challenges.

"Is this a sign of financial difficulties the city is still facing?" FOX 11's Kelly Schlicht asked Nickels.

"Yes, while we’re much better off than we were a few years ago, we are definitely not out of the water yet. And that’s what shows the citizens that we take this seriously," said Nickels.

Nickels says the city spends 75 percent of its budget on personnel, and it will continue to make sure all positions are necessary.

Not all people employed by the city of Manitowoc will have to go through the approval process by the council, however. For instance, seasonal workers and part time employees won’t have to go through the process.