Departmental shift policy benefitting Taylorsville employees
Oct 02, 2018 11:57AM
● By Jana Klopsch
Taylorsville City Administrator John Taylor (L) and the city’s new Justice Court Clerk Jeff Gallegos have each benefited from the city’s long-standing policy to promote from within, whenever possible. (Taylorsville City)
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Taylorsville City Administrator John Taylor earned a laugh at a recent city council meeting, when he introduced the city’s new Justice Court Clerk. The exact quote was lost to the ages. But in essence, Taylor said, “We had no idea Jeff had the skills and smarts to this job; we were stunned.”
A 1990 Taylorsville High School graduate, Jeff Gallegos said after the meeting he wasn’t surprised the people who interviewed him for the clerk’s position were a bit taken aback.
“I have worked in government for a long time but never in a job that required a college degree,” he said. “While I have been working, I’ve also earned an associate’s degree at Salt Lake Community College and now need just three more classes to earn my bachelor’s degree. After that, I plan to move into a master’s program.”
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Gallegos becoming Clerk of the Taylorsville Justice Court is that he is shifting from the city’s code enforcement division. Additionally, he is replacing in the clerk position, employee Kary Webb, who did just the opposite, moving from clerk into code enforcement.
Administrator Taylor says this type of employee musical chairs is not particularly uncommon.
“We don’t want working for Taylorsville City to be just a job; we want it to be a career,” he said. “We keep our staff count very low for a city our size, and those we do hire, we want to retain. We encourage employees working in one city department to consider job postings in other departments. If it serves our residents and furthers their careers at the same time, that’s great.”
Taylorsville has 52 municipal employees, and Taylor said several have been with the city 20 years, about all the longer Taylorsville has existed as an incorporated city.
“I feel good about our retention record,” he added. “And at least part of that success has come from employees being given a fair shot at moving from one department to another.”
Taylor cited a number of examples. In addition to Gallegos moving from Code Enforcement to the Justice Court—and Webb doing just the opposite—other employees have moved from working the justice court fine payment windows (on the first floor of City Hall) to both the building department and the business licensing division.
“Working those (Justice Court) windows can be tough; a lot of people aren’t exactly happy when they come in to pay fines,” Taylor said. “[City officials are] more than happy to see those employees apply to other positions, rather than to see them burn out and leave.”
Taylor began working for Taylorsville City as a contract employee, functioning as City Engineer. He remained in that post for five years until he too was able to shift departments, becoming the city’s community services director in 2012. Two years later, he was hired as city administrator.
“Whenever there is a vacancy, we try to let our employees improve their situations by encouraging them to apply,” Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson said. “We are happy to give them those opportunities, and a lot of people have done it over the years.”
Overson was involved in the final Gallegos interview for the justice court clerk position.
“I was impressed with his interviewing skills and was glad he had a law enforcement background,” she concluded. “He presented very well, and we were pleased to give him this opportunity.”
Gallegos had also worked as a court bailiff for more than 12 years.
“I guess I have a knack for getting in and learning things when I am on the job,” Gallegos added. “If I commit to something, I try to learn new skills. I have always enjoyed working in the court system.”
“If any of our employees apply for a position—and they meet the minimum qualifications for education and experience—we guarantee them an interview for any job they apply for,” Taylor said. “From there, it is up to them. But we know we have good employees, and they deserve to make their case, face-to-face, for any city position they want.”