Shrinking City Government
unsustainable level going forward."
City council agreed, and soon after Hieftje took office in 2000, Ann Arbor started shrinking its government. The mayor takes credit for having the idea, but gives former city administrator Roger Fraser credit for implementing it: "Roger did what council told him to do, and he did a good job."
Fraser certainly did a thorough job. From 2001 to 2008, the city went from 1,005 to 823 full-time positions, an 18 percent reduction. Then the economy crashed, taking property tax revenues down with it. By the start of 2012, the number of "full time equivalents" (FTEs) fell to 706. That's 299 fewer positions, or 30 percent of the city's staff, in a decade.
In raw numbers, almost every department lost, but some lost more than others. The police department went from 244 to 164 positions, 33 percent of its FTEs, and fire went from 126 to eighty-two, a 35 percent drop. But while the public safety departments lost the biggest numbers, others lost even more in percentage terms. Planning and development went from thirty-five positions to twenty-two, down 37 percent. Parks and recreation dropped from thirty-five FTEs to twenty, a 43 percent loss. Wastewater treatment shrank 44 percent, from sixty-three jobs to thirty-five.