August 9, 2021

Former City of Pocatello Public Works Project Manager Maggie Clark, who resigned from her position with the City in July, addressed the City Council last week at a budget hearing about the controversial “streamlining list” sent by Council Member Claudia Ortega to the Pocatello Human Resources Department.  (See related article, here: Pocatello City Council Member Ortega Creates List of Potential Positions to Eliminate; Colleague Denounces, “Hit List” | Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer (

Clark was unable to deliver her full remarks during the meeting, as she was stopped from continuing upon reaching the time limit given for individuals to address the Council.  Her full statement follows:

Good evening Mr. Mayor and members of the Council.  Until a few weeks ago I was employed by the city in the Engineering Department as the Public Works Project Manager.  I was listed on the “streamlining” list along with several of my colleges.  I understand that doing a though assessment to find redundancies is just proper management.  However, I feel that the approach of simply looking at organizational charts is not the way to make a fully informed decision.

For example, myself and another employee included on the elimination list, worked to get over 5.5 million dollars of grant funding in the 2020-2021 grant cycle.  Because of the very low local match required, we leveraged about $482,000 to get 5.5 million dollars for projects over the next 6 years.  If my previous position were to be contracted out it [would have] cost the city three to four times more than the salary I was receiving.

This is just one example of the need to take the time to understand what these employees do and perform an exhaustive analysis to determine if there are indeed redundancies before a loyal dedicated employee is put on a “streamline list”, many of which are tax paying citizens in Pocatello.  These type of actions from City Council are eroding the morale amongst the City Staff and frankly negatively impacting the citizens’ perception of their governing body.

Now speaking purely as a citizen, the proposed cuts to the Library and the Parks Department staff disproportionately affect the middle to lower income earners in Pocatello.  As a tax payer I don’t mind paying for City services, these amenities improve quality of life.  Many people cannot afford to pay for entertainment regularly, parks and libraries are essential for families to spend quality time outside of their homes.  Public parks provide affordable locations for special occasions and libraries offer the power of knowledge to all citizens.

A typical day for most people involves driving to work, working, and driving home.  The Parks Department maintains all public green spaces, and pedestrian trails.  It’s a simple thing, but the planter beds, trees and open spaces are the daily landscape that people see…all of which are maintained by, in my opinion, an already under-funded Parks Department.  These spaces have the power to fill daily commutes with beauty and put people in a good mood.  Less resources allocated to the Parks Department will result in untidy public spaces, negatively effecting the quality of life in Pocatello.

And finally, instead of only at looking at cuts, I ask you to consider revenue generating ideas.  I’m not an Economic Development Specialist but it seems the City could benefit greatly from this type of expertise.  The cost of everything increases.  Asking the community to pay a little more in taxes is not an unreasonable ask in order to balance the budget, preserve employee jobs and provided community services.

Clark said that her decision to leave the City was made to pursue an opportunity that arose in the private sector, and, although her position was included on the streamlining list, it was not a factor in her decision.

To view the public comments that took place during the budget hearing, click on the image, below:


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