City of Ashland Has Too Many Staff – ACES Explains

Setting the Record Straight

A number of elected city officials and others have taken issue with the often-repeated ACES statement: “Ashland has three times the number of city staff compared to other Oregon cities our size”.

No one has challenged this fact per se because it is true and taken from the Oregon League of Cities Salary Survey Report, April 5, 2018. However, they say this argument is flawed “because Ashland provides so many services that other cities don’t provide, we must have a larger number of employees to provide those services”.

Our critics often point to four such services — electric distribution, fiber network, the golf course and ambulance. But they are wrong. Other cities in Oregon, not all of course, do have city employees carrying out these functions.

Ashland’s fiber network has 6.7 FTE (full time equivalent) employees; electric services, 20.3 FTE; golf course, 3.5 FTE and ambulance, 3 FTE. (Note: Chief Sheppard provided the three FTE’s for ambulance service to the Cost Cutting Committee for how many positions would be eliminated if Ashland outsourced this service.)

Even if we subtract the FTE’s for these services from the city’s total 260-person budgeted workforce, Ashland still has one employee for every 92 citizens. The state average for cities our size is one employee for every 234 citizens.

Sometimes, it is erroneously assumed that the city of Ashland runs services such as the airport or Mount Ashland’s ski area. While the city’s Public Works and Electric departments perform some maintenance, the Ashland Airport is operated on a contract basis by Skinner Aviation. There are no city employees assigned for the ski area.

We agree that comparing services by cities can be fraught with complication. But, bottom line ACES has cited numbers that accurately tell the story of a bloated, over-compensated Ashland city staff.

Ken Wilson

Ashland Citizens for Economic Sustainability