The department heads in East St. Louis city government have been instructed to re-apply for their jobs.
The city manager announced to all department heads this week that she had posted their jobs internally, and each of them must resubmit applications and resumes as though they are applying for their jobs for the first time.
The positions include the budget director, chief of police, fire chief, human resource administrator, community programs director, public works director, economic development manager, director of licensing and regulatory affairs, and emergency services coordinator.
Emeka Jackson-Hicks won the hotly-contested mayoral race on April 7, defeating incumbent Alvin Parks. And a new administration sometimes changes some of the jobs and the people who hold them.
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Jackson-Hicks said the decision to post the jobs was not made autonomously. She said she and others who are working with her “have been taking time out to assess each department” of the city.
“Every department, every job description, is being reviewed,” she said. “It will not be business as usual. The city is dying because of business as usual. We can no longer afford business as usual. This administration is not insane. We will not repeat the same things and expect different results. It’s not going to happen.”
Jackson-Hicks said she understands some people might be apprehensive.
“We have anticipated that people would be somewhat anxious about change, but change is something that has to happen. The finances — the budget — demands that we make some changes,” she said.
The mayor said she’s working on a transition plan.
“We are just about finished with it. It will be released to the public. It will explain where we are, where we are going and how we hope to get there,” Jackson-Hicks said.
She added: “We want to make sure each department is manned efficiently. When the citizens come to City Hall, we want to make sure they are given the absolute best service that can be given. We are assessing the individual’s skills, their backgrounds and resources.”
Jackson-Hicks said the city’s finances are dictating “how we restructure our department. And, we are also taking out time to review all contracts that have been awarded” by the city.
“We told the citizens ‘You Deserve More’ when we were campaigning . The election is over and we are committed to what we said. This is not a game for us,” she said.
Jackson-Hicks said the moves are not based on politics.
City Manager Deletra Hudson said normally the city allows a 10 day window for employment applications to be returned to the city.
Hudson told a reporter that the city is in the process of restructuring to make sure each person is in a position to function at his or her highest level.
“Our goal is to provide the best service we can for the citizens and the community,” Hudson said.
Jackson-Hicks said she wants as many citizens as possible to show up at the East St. Louis Public Library on June 16 at 5 p.m., when staff from the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department will talk about Community Development Block Grants for East St. Louis and how the people want to use them. It’s a five year plan and an annual action plan.