Eastern Wake News

Knightdale employee forecast shows assistant fire chief could come in 2015

Over the next year, Knightdale will add two staff positions and by the end of fiscal year 2015, the town will have added a total of six new positions, according to an employee forecast report presented at the annual town council retreat at the beginning of the month.

Right now, the town has 70.75 employees. The .75 accounts for a part-time customer service clerk. For the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which begins in July, the town will make the customer service position a full-time job and create two positions out of the current Athletic Supervisor position in the Parks and Recreation Department; one to handle adult athletics, the other to deal with children athletics.

The town will also add a maintenance worker to the Public Works Department. At the end of the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the town will have a total of 73 employees.

For fiscal year 2015-2016, which will begin July 2015, the town plans to add four new positions and expects to stay at 77 employees through the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

The current position of Town clerk/human resources manager will split into two positions. Parks and Recreation will make way for one more recreation activities coordinator. Knightdale Police will add another detective and by then, the fire department anticipates needing an assistant fire chief.

Councilors and staff didn’t have questions about the assistant fire chief position but they did want to know why a police detective would be needed over a patrol officer.

“As our population continues to grow, we’re seeing a spike in crimes that take more investigative work,” police Chief Jason Godwin said at the retreat.

He mentioned that between September and October of last year, Knightdale’s murder rate increased by 200 percent, when there was one murder and another murder-suicide in the town’s limits, the second and third violent deaths incidents in the town since 2010.

Godwin also said there were a growing number of cases involving fraud and identity theft, which also require more investigative work.

In the Parks and Recreation Department, the staff is planning growth in line with the progression of major projects, like Knightdale Station Park.

The department has asked for a slow addition of positions to see how the new employees would fit in to the current workflow of the department.

By taking it slow, director Tina Cheek said the department can better evaluate where those new positions would be most helpful.

“This year will let us see how much the park will get used,” she said. The new positions in the forecast for the parks and rec department would be managing various activities at different locations and with new amenities opening in the coming years. Cheek said the department wanted to have the staff to make events memorable.

All new positions are subject to change when the final town budgets are created in the spring of each year.