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City of University City

Table of Contents Page C HAPTER I – I NTRODUCTION .............................................................................. 1 Background ................................................................................................................................... 1 Purpose ........................................................................................................................................ 1 Methodology ................................................................................................................................. 2 C HAPTER II – O RGANIZATION , B UDGET AND S TAFFING OF THE P UBLIC W ORKS AND P ARKS , R ECREATION AND F ORESTRY D EPARTMENTS ............................................. 3 Public Works ................................................................................................................................. 3 Table I – Resource Summary for the University City Public Works Department, FY 2011 .......... 4 Parks, Recreation and Forestry .................................................................................................... 5 Table II – Resource Summary for the University City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, FY 2011 ..................................................................................................... 6 Comparison to the City Operating Budget .................................................................................... 7 C HAPTER III – A NALYSIS AND R ECOMMENDATIONS ................................................ 9 Organization ............................................................................................................................... 10 Parks, Forestry and Golf ....................................................................................................... 10 Chart 1 – Proposed Organization Chart, Parks Division ....................................................... 10 Public Works, Parks, Recreation and Forestry ..................................................................... 11 Chart 2 – Proposed Organization Chart, Community Services Department ......................... 13 Chart 3 – Proposed Organization Chart, Community Services Department with Solid Waste Contract ............................................................................................................ 14 Recreation ............................................................................................................................. 16 Chart 4 – Proposed Organization Chart, Community Development and Recreation Department ......................................................................................................... 17 Improved Business Practices ..................................................................................................... 18 Outsourcing Services ............................................................................................................ 18 Street Sweeping.................................................................................................................... 18 Mowing .................................................................................................................................. 19 Tree Trimming ....................................................................................................................... 20 Custodial Services ................................................................................................................ 20 Fleet Maintenance ................................................................................................................ 21 Miscellaneous Issues ............................................................................................................ 21


City of University City Professionalism ..................................................................................................................... 21 Citizen Complaint Tracking ................................................................................................... 22 Joint Purchasing ................................................................................................................... 23 Providing Fleet Services to Other Agencies ......................................................................... 23 Purchase of Street Light System .......................................................................................... 23 Recreation Guide .................................................................................................................. 24 Expand Recreation Programs ............................................................................................... 25 Senior Citizens ...................................................................................................................... 26 Community Center ................................................................................................................ 27 Forester Consultation ............................................................................................................ 27 Seven Days Per Week Parks Coverage ............................................................................... 27 Cost Savings/Efficiencies at the Delmar Loop and Other Miscellaneous Programs............. 28 Inflated Classifications .......................................................................................................... 28 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................ 29 C HAPTER IV – S UMMARY OF R ECOMMENDATIONS ................................................ 30


City of University City

Chapter I Introduction Background The City of University City serves an estimated population of 38,000. The community is westerly of the City of St. Louis and is part of the 100 year-old inner ring of suburbs immediately adjacent to that City. University City is substantially built out and is predominately residential. Adjacent to Washington University much of the housing supporting the University is located in the City. The community could be characterized, at least in part, as a university town. The residential housing stock appears well maintained, the apparent result of the City’s code enforcement program. In fact, the City as a whole seems well maintained, and has a popular commercial area or downtown called the Delmar Loop. Except for utilities such as water, sanitary sewer and electrical, University City is a full-service City providing police, fire, public works, parks and recreation, library and refuse collection services. These services are primarily provided by city staff supplemented to a limited degree by contract services. As with many other cities throughout the nation, University City is experiencing challenges in funding its basic services. The City’s Request for Proposals for this study estimates an operating budget gap of $900,000 next fiscal year, increasing to $2,000,000 the following fiscal year. The failure in August 2009 of a proposed sales tax increase of 0.25 percent eliminated a potential revenue increase for the City. Also, the City has seen a population decline over the years so continuing staffing at current levels may no longer be sustainable especially during the current economic climate. Several steps have been taken to address the City’s projected budget shortfalls including a reduction staff. In addition, a number of positions were diverted from General Fund support. For example, the Solid Waste Management Division was transferred to the Solid Waste Fund and a limited number of Public Works Administration positions or portions of positions were transferred to that Fund as well. More recent steps to address the City’s fiscal challenges include combining the Departments of Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance into a Department of Administrative Services. Other efforts to flatten, streamline and shrink the City’s organizational structure may be necessary to adjust to the “new normal” of municipal finance.

Purpose Within the context of the City’s effort to continue to provide satisfactory basic city services, but with insufficient revenue levels to support these services, this report will examine other efforts to flatten and streamline the City’s organization in the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments. The purpose of the report is to evaluate the management structure of Page 1


City of University City these two departments, look for ways to improve the allocation and utilization of staff, examine operations to determine if there are opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness and overall, to reduce costs. This could involve combining the two departments, a partial merger of these departments, and/or finding ways to coordinate work activities to achieve more cost effective operations.

Methodology The methodology for accomplishing this study is simple and straightforward. First, a number of pertinent documents were reviewed including both current and historic City budgets and organization charts. Second, a number of reports were reviewed which evaluated portions of the two departments or provided planning guidance for their operations such as the Public Works Department Strategic Planning Process (2006), Public Works Situation Analysis (2008), the Parks Master Plan (2008), Urban Forestry Operations Review and Strategic Plan (2009), and the citywide Fleet Management Study Report (2009) and Fleet Utilization Study Technical Brief (2010). Also an internal memo from the Directors of the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry departments entitled, “Departments Merger Analysis” (2010) was reviewed. Other documents were read such as “The Parkview Gardens Parks Plan” (2010). The last three University City Recreation Guides describing various recreation and library programs, classes, special events and activities were also reviewed. Second, the consultant conducted a number of interviews with individuals who had useful insights into this study. After a “kickoff” meeting with the City Manager in December and a tour of several major city facilities, interviews were conducted with the Mayor and City Clerk. Upon return to the City in January, other members of the City Council were interviewed along with several current and former employees of the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments as well as a few residents who have had extensive contact with these two departments. Through this process, 36 individuals were interviewed for this study. The cooperation of those interviewed was exemplary. They provided useful information, insights and, in some cases, documents needed for this report. Finally, a tour of major city facilities was taken. This included City Hall, Centennial Commons, the Community Center, Golf Course/Club House, the Public Works and Parks Maintenance Yard, Police Station, various city parks, and driving throughout the City to observe the condition of city streets and the extent of the City’s urban forest. It should be noted that this report’s methodology relied upon the document review, interviews, and a City tour. It did not include the observation of specific work processes except in general terms at Centennial Commons and the Garage.

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City of University City

Chapter II Organization, Budget and Staffing of the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments To help place the results of this study into proper context, this Chapter will describe the organization, budget and staffing of the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments. This will help understand the services provided to the public by these two Departments as well as spell out the resources needed to provide these services. This Chapter will also outline the resources such as funding and staffing required to support these two Departments compared to the City as a whole.

Public Works The Public Works Department consists of four Divisions including Administration and Engineering, Fleet Maintenance, Solid Waste Management and Street Maintenance. Facilities Maintenance, previously managed by this Department, was recently relocated to the Community Development Department. Administration and Engineering oversees the operation of the Department, provides design, construction and permit approval for work in the public right-of-way such as streets, sidewalks and bridges. This function is supported by the General Fund which includes fees collected for some of the services provided by this Division. Fleet Maintenance provides maintenance, repair and service to the City’s more than 200 vehicles and other equipment. It is also responsible for acquiring replacement vehicles and equipment for the City’s operating departments and a large part of its budget reflects this responsibility. This Division is not included in the Public Works Department’s 2011 budget since it supported by an internal service fund whereby the City’s operating departments pay a rental fee into the fund for fleet maintenance and vehicle replacement. Organizationally, however, the Fleet Maintenance Division is included in the Public Works Department and the administrative head of the Division reports to the Public Works Director. The Solid Waste Management Division is responsible for the collection and disposal of refuse from all homes and apartments within the City as well as many public institutions. This includes collection of solid waste, recycling, bulk waste, yard waste and bulk leaf collection. This Division is also not included in the Public Works Department’s 2011 budget since it is treated as an enterprise fund. Its operation relies on fees charged for the services provided. Organizationally, however, it is a Division within the Public Works Department with the Solid Waste Superintendent reporting to the Public Works Director.

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City of University City The Street Maintenance Division is responsible for the maintenance of nearly 100 miles of public streets. This includes street repairs, street sweeping, cleaning, traffic control (signs) and snow removal. The 2011 budget shows the Department providing the facilities maintenance function but not as a separate division nor as a section included in any of the Department’s four divisions. Apparently, while this function was formerly assigned to the Public Works Department, it recently has been relocated to the City’s Community Development Department. However, since this report is using the financial information contained in the 2011 budget, for consistency purposes, the cost and staffing for this function is allocated to the Public Works Department. The facilities maintenance function includes custodial, maintenance and building operation services for non-park and recreation buildings involving minor building repairs and maintenance of the heating, cooling and electrical systems. The Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department buildings are maintained by that Department using maintenance workers and part-time custodians. The resources necessary to provide these services are presented in Table I, “Resource Summary for the University City Public Works Department, FY 2011.” This Table lists the budget and the number of full-time staff for each division/function based on the fiscal year 2011 budget. Table I – Resource Summary for the University City Public Works Department, FY 2011 Division/Function Adm./Engineering

2011 Budget

2011 Full-time Positions

$793,567

9.10

930,900

6.00

Solid Waste Management(2)

2,474,063

14.15

Street Maintenance

2,505,077

13.00

566,405

4.00

1,620,000

––

Fleet Maintenance(1)

Facility Maintenance Capital Improvements

TOTAL PUBLIC WORKS BUDGET/STAFF $8,890,021 46.25(3) (1)This is an Internal Service Fund supported by equipment rental fees from other departments. Its budget, which includes equipment replacement as well as operations, is $2,065,900. However, to avoid double counting the Public Works Department totals, the rental payments to Fleet Maintenance from Solid Waste Management ($580,000) and Street Maintenance ($555,000) were subtracted from the budget total. (2)This is an Enterprise Fund relying on service charges to support its operation. (3)The Department also budgets $67,272 for part-time staff in addition its budgeted full-time positions. As presented in Table I a more complete view of the resources allocated to Public Works can be seen. The Public Works Department with the inclusion of Solid Waste Management, Fleet Maintenance and Facility Maintenance has a total budget of $8,890,021. Most of the budget supports Street Maintenance ($2,505,707) and Solid Waste Management ($2,474,063). At one time Solid Waste was in the City’s General Fund budget, but in fiscal year 2009 it was moved to the Solid Waste Fund (enterprise fund). Its staffing of 14.15 positions consists of 11 positions devoted to solid waste collections, while 2.25 positions from Finance for billing and a .9 FTE position from Public Works provide administrative and support services to Solid Waste are now supported by this Fund. Page 4


City of University City Fleet Management is supported through an internal service fund by rental payments from other City departments. These payments are used for replacement, maintenance and repair of vehicles and other equipment. This Division’s total budget for fiscal year 2011 is $2,065,900. Of this amount $1,135,000 is supplied by the Divisions of Street Maintenance ($555,000) and Solid Waste ($580,000). Obviously if the Solid Waste function is outsourced, and the new provider provides all solid waste services including the maintenance of solid waste vehicles and equipment, there will be a need to reduce Fleet Management’s budget and possibly its’ staffing1. The total number of positions allocated to the Public Works Department totals 46.25. This would be reduced, of course, if Solid Waste is outsourced. Even if that occurred, the Public Works Department would still be responsible for the solid waste function by administering the solid waste operations contract. It should also be noted that in addition to the Department’s 46.25 positions, it has funding for part-time staff to help support the full-time positions. The budget includes $67,272 for part-time and temporary help, with $27,600 budgeted in Administration/Engineering and $33,672 allocated to Street Maintenance. Public Works also contracts for various support services. Funding for “maintenance contracts” is provided for Administration/Engineering ($5,000), Street Maintenance ($59,270), facility maintenance ($30,000) and Solid Waste ($18,000) for a total of $112,270. So while the 46.26 positions in Public Works give a general indication of the staffing level in the Department, there is also additional funding for part-time positions and outside contractors to support the Department. As will be seen in the next section, there is an even greater reliance on part-time staff in the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

Parks, Recreation and Forestry The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, according to their organization chart, consists of the Divisions of Recreation, Parks, Forestry and Golf. The 2011 budget, however, allocates funding and staffing differently. There is a budget for Administration, Park Maintenance and Forestry, followed by sections for Golf, Community Center, Aquatics, and Centennial Commons. The organization chart indicates that the direct reports to the department head are the Recreation Superintendent, Golf Manager, Golf Superintendent, Forester and the Parks Operations Superintendent. For the purposes of presenting the budget and staffing data in this report the information will be categorized by the Divisions of Recreation, Park Maintenance, Forestry and Golf. In terms of the services, the Recreation Division provides to the general public a broad array of programs, classes, special events, and facility rentals. These programs, classes and other services are provided through several excellent facilities including the 62,000 square foot Centennial Commons at Heman Park. It has state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a double gymnasium, an indoor soccer facility, meeting rooms and offices. This facility offers a wide-variety of programs, classes and other recreational opportunities. Summer aquatic programming is offered at the adjacent Heman Park Pool, with limited programming available during the winter at the Uni-

1

In fiscal year 2007 Fleet Management had 10 positions which was ultimately reduced to 6 positions by fiscal year 2009.

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City of University City versity City High School Natatorium. Limited senior programming is provided at the Heman Park Community Center which is also available for rentals. According to the Parks Master Plan the Parks Division is responsible for the maintenance of 20 parks throughout the City. This includes 7 mini parks, 7 neighborhood parks, and the 85 acre Heman Park. There are three special use parks, the golf course and a nature area. The parks, golf and open space area total 280 acres according to the Plan. Forestry provides for planning, removal and trimming of the City’s trees. Based on an inventory in 2000 there were 11,339 street trees, and overall there is an estimated 30,000 trees on public property maintained either by Forestry or Parks. Among the free services provided to the community is firewood from tree trimming and removal, and mulch and wood chips produced and administered by Parks, Forestry and Public Works. The Department also operates the Ruth Park Golf Course, a nine-hole 93.5 acre facility. Including a driving range, the Golf Course also contains a small clubhouse with golf cart rentals, food, beverage and retail services. The resources needed to provide recreation, parks, forestry and golf services are presented in Table II, ”Resource Summary for the University City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, FY 2011.” Similar to Public Works, this Table provides information concerning the budget and staffing for the divisions/functions of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department based on the fiscal year 2011 budget. Table II – Resource Summary for the University City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, FY 2011 Division/Function Recreation Community Center Aquatics Centennial Commons Parks, Adm., Forestry

2011 Budget

2011 Full-time Positions

$1,407,617 $168,558 254,992 984,067

P-T FTEs 7.00

1.70 .20 5.10 2,070,220

Adm. Parks Forestry

24.26 .74 6.54 16.98

22.00

1.30

3.00 14.50 4.50

Golf

574,975

3.00

4.26

Capital Improvements

190,000

––

––

$4,242,872

32.00(1)

29.82

TOTAL PARKS, RECREATION, FORESTRY BUDGET/STAFF (1)This

Department budgets $498,000 for part-time and temporary employees. In addition, to the budgeted 32.00 fulltime positions, the Department has 29.82 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. This consists of 1.30 FTE in Parks, 4.26 FTE in Golf, .74 FTE at the Community Center, 6.54 FTE for Aquatics and 16.98 FTE at Centennial Commons. The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has a total budget of $4,232,872. This is split between Recreation with an allocation of $1,407,617; Parks, Administration and Forestry with $2,070,220; and Golf with $574,975. Capital improvements are allocated $190,000.

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City of University City In terms of staffing, seven full-time positions are assigned to Recreation, 22 to Parks, Administration and Forestry, and 3 to Golf. In Parks, Administration and Forestry there are 3 positions assigned to Administration, 4.5 to Forestry and 14.5 to Parks. In addition, funds are budgeted for a large number of part-time and temporary staff, mostly in Recreation. This includes 1.3 FTEs in Parks, 4.26 FTEs for Golf and 24.26 FTEs in Recreation, or a total of 29.82 FTEs for the entire Department. This is fairly typical in many parks and recreation departments, supplementing limited full-time staff with a number of part-time employees for seasonal employment such as serving as lifeguards during the summer pool season. This has the advantage of providing needed staff to supervise or assist in providing programs or services for defined periods of time at a low overall expense to the City. This is because these positions are paid at a lower hourly rate without the expense of fringe benefits accorded full-time employees. The disadvantage in many cities, however, is that there often is not the same type of budget scrutiny over the number and allocation of these positions by the finance department, city manager and city council. As can be seen, a significant portion of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry’s Budget is committed to part-time help with $498,000 budgeted for this purpose. With the City’s budget reductions it appears that some limited level of budget review has occurred on this part of the Department’s budget since the number of FTEs for part-time staff has been reduced from 31.52 FTEs in 2007 to 29.82 FTEs in 2011. Similar to Public Works the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department also contracts for support services to assist its full-time and part-time employees in meeting their service responsibilities. For example, Forestry uses outside maintenance contracts for street tree pruning, wood chips and log grinding, and emergency tree removal. In this Department the total amount budgeted for maintenance contracts is $142,699 in 2011. This is mostly allocated to Parks, Administration and Forestry with $116,500 included in their budget. Lesser funding for maintenance contracts is also provided for Golf ($3,804) and Recreation ($22,595), with most of this latter figure committed to Centennial Commons ($15,685). This information regarding full-time staff, part-time staff and contract support is provided in order to more completely assess the total City resources used to staff and operate the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

Comparison to the City Operating Budget The focus on the allocation of resources to the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments is important during a period of budget constraints and organizational downsizing. This is because the two departments claim a large portion of the City’s operating budget. This section will compare the budget and staffing information presented earlier in this Chapter for these two departments with the overall City budget and staff. This will assist in understanding the size of these two departments compared to the total City operation and thereby underscore the importance of seeking ways to reduce costs in these two departments during these difficult economic times. The 2011 general operating budget is $27,402,941. Supported by the General Fund is $4,242,812 budgeted for Parks, Recreation and Forestry and $5,485,049 for Public Works. This amounts to 15.5% of the General Fund budget allocated for Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Page 7


City of University City with 20% of the budget supporting Public Works. With a total expense of $9,727,861 for the two departments, together they are allocated 35.5% of the City’s General Fund based on the 2011 budget. Another way of assessing the size of the two departments compared to the City’s total expenses is to combine both their General Fund and special fund costs. Taking the expense totals from Tables I and II ($8,890,021 + $4,242,872) the total resources required for Public Works and Parks and Recreation, including Solid Waste and Fleet Maintenance, is $13,132,893. Increasing the city-wide operating budget to reflect the increased expense for both departments results in a total expense of $30,807,973 ($27,402,941 + $3,405,032). The result is that the two departments total 42.6% ($13,132,893/$30,807,973) of the City’s total expenditures. While a portion of this additional expense reflects offsetting charges for solid waste service, this percentage demonstrates that a significant portion of the City’s resources are used for the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments. Another method of comparing the use of City resources is the amount of full-time staff positions allocated to the two departments. This is particularly the case when both General Fund and other funds, such as the Internal Service and Solid Waste Funds, are added to the total. This gives a broader perspective of resource allocation compared to the proportionate allocation found in the City General Fund. Staff has summarized the City’s full-time positions showing 270 positions in the initially adopted 2011 budget. With 46.25 positions allocated to Public Works, and 32.0 approved for Parks, Recreation and Forestry, the two departments account for 29 percent of the total full-time city positions (46.25 + 32.0 = 78.25/270 = 29 percent). It should be noted that position reductions were approved October 11, 2010, reducing the total number of city positions to 267, with Public Works being reduced to 45.25 positions. However, the figures from the initially adopted 2011 budget are used in this Chapter for the purposes of consistency of analysis. Of course, the comparison of full-time positions among the operating departments is not a precise measure of the two departments relative to the use of the City’s resources. As noted earlier, Parks, Recreation and Forestry has the full-time equivalent of an additional 29.82 FTEs through the use of part-time and temporary staff. This would push the number of FTEs for these two departments from 78.25 to 108.07 counting only the Parks, Recreation and Forestry parttimers. It is difficult to compare this level of staff, however, to city-wide figures since there was no available numbers for part-time FTEs in the other City departments. It should be noted, however, that due to the nature of Parks, Recreation and Forestry operations they will be by far the greatest user of part-time staff in the City. Finally, the support the two departments receive from the use of maintenance contracts is substantial. The total of this contract support is $254,969 for the two Departments. As can be seen from the information in this Chapter the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments require and receive a substantial portion of the City’s operating budget. These two departments, along with the Police and Fire Departments, receive the bulk of the City’s resources for operations, even with the budget reductions already taken by these four departments. Therefore, during economically challenging times it is crucial that the City examine ways to achieve efficiencies and to save money in the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments. This likely will involve flattening and streamlining these two organizations, finding ways to combine and provide services more efficiently and effectively, and to improve the business practices of the two departments.

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City of University City

Chapter III Analysis and Recommendations This Chapter presents the analysis and recommendations related to the organization and operations of University City’s Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments. As mentioned in the “Methodology” section of Chapter I, this analysis is based upon a field tour of many of the City’s facilities and grounds, a review of a number of pertinent documents, and individual interviews with 36 people including current and former employees, current and former council members and members of the general public. After this review was completed, it became clear that it would be beneficial for the City to not only discuss possible reorganization of the two departments, which are the focus of this study, but to offer recommendations related to the City achieving efficiencies by eliminating duplication or through improved business practices. The reorganization discussion will focus on total or partial merger of the two departments as well as internal realignment within each department. As discussed earlier, the problem the City is facing is that it will be confronting a General Fund deficit of $900,000 next fiscal year and a $2,000,000 deficit the following fiscal year. As a result the City has eliminated or frozen a number of positions and in the future will be forced to eliminate even more positions in order to balance the operating budget. It is recognized that the City has General Fund Reserves in the range of $8,000,000. While reserves can be used to help balance the budget on the short-term, they only amount to one-time revenues which will diminish each year as they are used. Once they are gone, they are gone. If the budget is not ultimately balanced, the reserves will dissipate and eventually vanish. Since the City is basically a service agency, most of its costs are in salaries and fringe benefits. Balancing the budget during stressful economic times creates difficult choices for the City’s policy makers. As in previous years maintaining the same number of employees becomes impossible. The focus should be on how to best organize the work of the employees who remain to continue adequate service to the public. In completing this review, it was observed that some of the City’s departments were managed in a professional manner with clear lines of communication, consistent use of forms, written policies and procedures, and consistent application of policies and procedures. Other departments, or divisions within some departments, were not managed in the same professional manner. There appears to be a lack of written policies and procedures in these departments or divisions. More importantly the lines of communication seem vague and the responsibility for performing certain functions appear at times to be unclear or at least inconsistently applied even from the perspective of city employees in other departments. The recommendations in this report are designed to offer ways to not only save money and become more efficient, but to also improve the overall management, operations and professionalism in the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments. The recommendations are presented in two major categories: (1) organization; and (2) improved business practices. The organization section will discuss several options for reorganizing the public works and parks and recreation functions. The business practice section will suggest ways in which these

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City of University City functions can provide service more efficiently and/or improve service to the public as well as other issues that have been raised during the interviews.

Organization This report makes several recommendations for University City to flatten and streamline its organization, making it more efficient and saving the City money without impacting service levels. The recommendations should also improve the effectiveness of the organization by improving its business practices, by requiring fewer management and supervisory positions and by reducing top management and its span of control. The reorganization proposals which are outlined in the following sections can be implemented alone or collectively. Implementing all of the reorganization recommendations, however, will produce the greatest benefits to the City.

Parks, Forestry and Golf Currently, the Parks, Forestry and Golf Divisions report directly to the Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. However, two of these three divisions are really small sections, with two fulltime staff assigned to Golf and 4.5 full-time staff allocated to Forestry. In most jurisdictions with this number of staff, all three functions would be placed in a single division which would be titled either “Parks” or “Parks Maintenance.” In University City it is recommended that the Superintendent or division head for Parks oversee a division with three sections: Parks Maintenance, Forestry and Golf Course Maintenance. These three functions already share tools and equipment and support each other in performing some tasks. For example, Parks and Forestry supports Golf in tree trimming, Parks supports Forestry in sharing an employee for winter tree work and in pulling out tree stumps, and they support each other in accomplishing other work tasks. This organizational structure for the size of the overall work group is common in other municipalities. It recognizes that they perform similar work tasks, it combines like work functions and it shrinks management’s span of control. It is therefore recommended that these three functions be combined into an expanded Parks Division. This Division would be headed by a Parks Superintendent who would also oversee the Parks section. The proposed organization of this Division is presented in the following organization chart. Chart 1 - Proposed Organization Chart Parks Division

Parks

Forestry

Parks Maintenance

Golf Course Maintenance

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City of University City One issue regarding this reorganization is the position of the Golf Manager who manages the club house, driving range, and golf carts and performs the starter functions. This position also provides lessons and clinics. This Golf Manager only oversees part-time employees in conducting these functions and does not supervise the maintenance of the golf course. In terms of this reorganization, the Golf Manager could either report to and/or be part of the proposed newly formatted Parks Division, report to the same department head as the Parks Division, or report to the head of golf course maintenance as found in some other cities. For this reorganization it is suggested instead that the Golf Manager be included in the Recreation Division since many of this position’s functions relate more closely with leisure time services than to maintenance.

Recommendation #1 It is recommended that the sections of Parks Maintenance, Forestry and Golf Course Maintenance be merged into a Parks Division headed by a Parks Division Superintendent, who in turn would report to a department head.

Public Works, Parks, Recreation and Forestry With the reorganization of the Parks Division suggested in Recommendation #1, it is recommended that the reorganized Parks Division be merged with the Public Works Department into a new City department. The tentative working title for this new department is the “Community Services Department.” There may be other names or designations that management and the City Council may develop which would better suit the community and the city organization. The point is that this will be a new department and because of the reorganization it should have a different designation. There are a number of reasons to merge Parks with Public Works. First, Parks Maintenance already is physically located at the City’s Public Works and Parks Maintenance Yard along with Streets, Fleet and Solid Waste. It performs maintenance functions as is the case with Streets and Fleet. Parks and Streets often support each other in certain work functions such as snow removal and leaf collection. In addition there are other opportunities for mutual support between Parks and Streets such as: •

The Parks weekend employee could reduce Public Works overtime by emptying trash containers and other Saturday tasks on the Delmar Loop.

A lower cost for contract grass cutting would be encouraged with one rather than two contracts administered by a single department rather than two separate divisions.

The striping by contract on park parking lots and other paved areas could be performed by Streets at a savings to the City.

Rather than Streets coordinating the repair of street lights and Parks tending to park lights, this function could be consolidated into one function in the new department.

Parks and Streets each deliver different material for approved community events, block parties and races. It would be more efficient for Parks to assume the total responsibility for this work.

Second, besides cooperating on snow and leaf removal, there are opportunities for cross training such as street striping, board ups and maybe even signs, alley cleanup and concrete work. Page 11


City of University City The combination of Streets and Parks in the same department will offer additional opportunities for collaboration and creating efficiencies. Third, a survey conducted by the consultant in another region revealed that about 50 percent of the cities combine Public Works and Parks. Input from the interviews indicated that this organizational arrangement is not unusual in the St. Louis area. Fourth, an internal memo from the Public Works Director and the previous Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry cited a number of potential benefits and opportunities for either a total or partial merger. These benefits and opportunities included cross training for more flexibility and potential efficiency for accomplishing work tasks, a larger work force for emergencies, “all equipment and supplies …under one department, not ‘mine vs. theirs,’” and developing a functional relationship which “will make sense to staff and public.” A final potential opportunity was to address “possible job assignment alignment corrections.” The consultant noted potential “classification inflation” within the City organization and potential inconsistencies among some job titles. It was also noticed that there may be classifications inappropriate to the work being performed such as “crew leader” rather than “lead worker.” Merging Streets and Parks into one department, and, especially with cross training, could create the opportunity to more effectively reorganize the maintenance crews. It was further recognized in the memo that under the status quo there could be difficult budget cuts while trying to retain a full work load with the current organizational structure. It is expected through a reorganization, however, that the new department will be better able to handle budget cuts while addressing work load issues. There were concerns expressed by the two directors with several issues. One was that the span of control would be too large. The City Manager’s Budget Advisory Task Force as an unintended counterpoint to this assertion suggests that “…the private sector has expanded from the old (span of control) rule of 4 – 8 employees per manager to more than 20 in many cases.” That may be extreme in the University City setting, so the recommendation in this report is to remove many department head direct reports (Forestry, Golf) into one division (Parks) so that the span of control would be effective and manageable in the new department. The director of the new department would have six direct reports from Engineering, Streets, Fleet, Parks, Facilities and Solid Waste. If Solid Waste is outsourced, then there would be five direct reports to the new director position with a service contract requiring administration by the department. A second concern was that the “…missions are too different to have one director with enough knowledge in all areas to effectively manage.” Later, the memo states, “if a total merger was implemented, the resulting department would be too large to be effectively managed by one individual.” Regarding the issue of mission, except for Engineering and Solid Waste, the remaining work functions are related to maintenance. A proposal elsewhere in this report to combine Recreation with Community Development will help with the issue regarding disparate missions. Concerning the size of the department, other cities have departments which perform efficiently with similar if not identical divisions as proposed in this report. As mentioned above, the span of control has been adjusted so that it is reasonable for a department of this size. The memo is correct, however, in implying that effective management skills will be required from the leader of the new department.

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City of University City Probably the most salient point of the memo is concern over the unknown. “Will priorities change? Will services be reduced resulting in job eliminations?� There is the understandable concern over employee morale regarding the potential loss of jobs. With the City’s current economic challenges there likely will be the need to eliminate additional positions throughout the City. Through the proposed reorganization the goal is to minimize job losses, such as not filling vacant positions. A further goal is to maintain service levels expected by the public even with fewer resources through the efficiencies that will be built into this reorganization. How will the new department be organized? Currently, the Public Works Department consists of the Divisions of Engineering, Street Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance and Solid Waste. Recently, Facilities Maintenance was included in this department but moved to Community Development. Also, proposals have been submitted for a RFP for outsourcing the solid waste function. If this occurs, there will still be a need for administration of the new solid waste contract to insure that its terms are met, public service is not reduced and proper customer relations is provided by the contractor. The new Community Services Department would consist of the Divisions of Engineering, Street Maintenance, Parks Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance, Facility Maintenance and Solid Waste. This proposal would create a span of control of only six divisions (five if Solid Waste is outsourced) reporting to the department head. This would be manageable for a competent manager with a proper technical background. The proposed organization including Facility Maintenance and the current operation of Solid Waste is shown in the following organization chart. Chart 2 - Proposed Organization Chart Community Services Department Community Services Director

Engineering

Streets

Solid Waste

Fleet

Facilities

Parks

City Engineer

Street Superintendent

Solid Waste Superintendent

Fleet Manager

Facilities Manager

Parks Superintendent

Permits

Project Managers

Facility Maintenance. It is suggested in this reorganization that Facility Maintenance be moved from the Community Development Department and placed in this new department. It is further recommended that consideration be given to expanding this section and making it responsible for the maintenance of all city facilities. Currently, Facility Maintenance is responsible for repair and custodial maintenance of non-parks facilities such as City Hall, the E.O.C. Center, the fire stations, 630 Trinity, the Annex and jail cell area, the Central Garage and the Municipal Parking Garage. For the parks and recreation facilities the Parks Division is responsible for building repair and the Recreation Division is responsible for custodial services using part-time staff. It is suggested that the part-time custodial hours administered in the Recreation Division be transPage 13


City of University City ferred to this Section. It is further suggested that one or a portion of a General Maintenance Person in Parks also be transferred to this Division. This should create a more efficient operation with all of City facility maintenance centralized, and will provide greater flexibility in providing this service city-wide. Solid Waste. If Solid Waste is outsourced, the task of the Public Works Department becomes contract administration rather than directly providing trash pickup and recycling services. If outsourcing of this function occurs, it is recommended that this contract be administered by the Senior Project Manager currently in the Public Works’ Department. With that modification, the proposed organization chart of the Community Services Department would then be modified as follows: Chart 3 - Proposed Organization Chart Community Services Department with Solid Waste Contract Community Services Director

Engineering

Streets

Fleet

Facilities

Parks

Sr. Project Manager

City Engineer

Street Superintendent

Fleet Manager

Facilities Manager

Parks Superintendent

Solid Waste Contract

Permits

Project Managers

Fleet Maintenance. During the interview process and based on two reports analyzing the City’s fleet maintenance and replacement, it was suggested to the consultant that the Fleet Maintenance Division be removed from the Public Works Department and established as a separate division or function. It was further suggested that the consultants who evaluated Fleet operations in the two recent reports, or some other expert, be retained to help manage Fleet and make their operations more effective. It is argued that although this approach may entail some increased expense there would be an overall cost decrease through a better managed operation. This option of retaining outside expert management and direction to Fleet may have some merit. However, establishing Fleet Maintenance as a separate City department or a stand-alone division would create a dysfunctional organizational structure. It is recommended that, as stated earlier, the Fleet Maintenance be established as a division in the proposed Community Services Department. It is also recommended that whether Fleet retains an outside expert to help assist its management be deferred until a decision is made whether or not the solid waste function is outsourced. If outsourcing occurs, the size of the Fleet staff and its budget will be reduced to the point where the use of an outside expert would likely be unnecessary.

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City of University City Further, the need for this type of management refinement may be unneeded. Probably the most important customers for any garage operation are public safety. Satisfaction was expressed with the work of Fleet Maintenance support by Police as well as from Parks and Solid Waste. Cost Savings. With Parks and Streets Maintenance in the same department, there should be additional opportunities for cross training, cooperation and consolidation of functions. Further, the City should consider reducing the “basic” staff necessary for required maintenance responsibilities, and supplement that “basic” staff with part-time help during peak work periods. While this already occurs, the balance between “basic” and part-time staff would change with fewer “basic” staff and more part-time workers. This would result in a lower cost to the City. Further, if the solid waste function is outsourced, it is estimated that at least one mechanic position, if not two, will no longer be required. Also, there was input received by city employees that some maintenance employees are not fully challenged by their work load. Some question whether “crew leaders” are really only “lead workers.” It is projected that either by combining crews or even using existing crews with less staff the same level of work output could be provided. Redefining and reducing the “basic” staff needed for street and parks maintenance functions supplemented by part-time workers, crosstraining to allow greater coordination between street and parks crews, the reduced need of crew leaders along with more day-to-day supervision by the Street Maintenance Superintendent, and the reduction of Fleet workload if solid waste is outsourced, could make as many as four to five full-time positions unnecessary. What is being proposed is a more comprehensive, more efficient organization of engineering, project management, solid waste collection and disposal and maintenance services. To allow this new department to achieve the efficiencies inherent in the new organizational structure will require a director with excellent management and technical skills. Since the new department will oversee engineering and a technical understanding of the maintenance of city streets and facilities is needed, the director should also have engineering expertise. This means that in recruiting for this position the City should require that the new department head be a Professional Engineer, or, at a minimum, that this requirement should be a desirable characteristic.

Recommendation #2 It is recommended that a new department called the “Community Services Department” be created consisting of the newly formatted Parks Division and the Divisions of Street Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance, Facility Maintenance and Solid Waste.

Recommendation #3 It is recommended that if the solid waste function is outsourced that the contract be overseen by the Senior Project Manager who in turn would report to the department head of the new department.

Recommendation #4 It is recommended that the Facility Maintenance Division be supplemented by existing staff resources in Parks and Recreation so that one Division will be responsible for the maintenance of all City facilities.

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City of University City

Recommendation #5 It is recommended that any effort to obtain outside management expertise for Fleet Maintenance be deferred until a decision has been made whether or not the solid waste function should be outsourced.

Recommendation #6 It is recommended that, with the proposed reorganization, strategies be used of cross training between Parks and Streets, and redefining what is required for “basic” crews to achieve efficiencies and cost savings for the City.

Recommendation #7 It is recommended that a leader for the proposed Community Services Department be sought with excellent management and technical skills including status as a professional engineer either as a required or desirable qualification.

Recreation With the proposed creation of a Community Services Department does Recreation move to the new department or find an organizational home elsewhere? While Recreation could stay with Parks, it would be the only part of the department not associated with engineering or maintenance. In some cities when parks and public works merge, recreation and the library combine to form a new department. This is because of the similarity in services provided by these two functions since they are oriented toward the use of the public’s leisure time. There are often broad programmatic overlaps between recreation and libraries such as classes in literacy, personal and financial health. The University City Library, however, has more independence than other City departments since it is supported by a separate library fund through its own taxing district and has a “governing” Library Board who appoints the City Librarian and sets policy for library operations. The other option, and the one proposed in this report, is to join Recreation with the Community Development Department. Both Community Development and Recreation are customer service oriented and work to support neighborhoods and the community. Both provide programs to seniors. While Recreation senior programming is surprisingly limited, they provide general programs, classes and services to the community in which seniors participate. With different programming, Community Development partners with senior service agencies to provide education and outreach for home improvement and targeted assistance for the weatherization program. As a refinement to this organizational structure it would be beneficial to move the Golf Manager into Recreation. Besides operating the clubhouse this position also performs recreation functions such as clinics and lessons. This move may improve supervision of this position and provide opportunities for productive work when the golf course is closed or is barely used during the Winter. One of the advantages of this organizational alignment is that Community Development appears well organized and well run. Recreation would benefit from this Department’s professionalism and administrative support.

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City of University City Another advantage of Recreation joining Community Development and Parks merging with Public Works, is there will no longer be the need for the currently vacant Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry position. This will partially address the City Manager’s Budget Advisory Task Force concern that the City has too many directors. This will flatten and streamline the City organization and result in a substantial cost savings as well. An additional benefit is that the Community Development Department has substantial clerical resources compared to Recreation. While the Director indicates that these clerical positions are already overloaded with work, it is likely that the administrative/clerical position which processes the Department’s bi-weekly payroll, daily deposits, accounting, payments and requisitions can assume those tasks which were the responsibilities of the recently vacated Recreation Supervisor (Business) position. It is also recommended that the vacant Administrative Secretary to the Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry not be filled, since the vacant Director position will obviously no longer require clerical support. The bottom line is that this merger of Recreation and Community Development will allow the elimination of at least three full-time vacant positions generating cost savings to the City. There may be concerns with joining of Recreation and Community Development into a new department. One is splitting Recreation from Parks. Some observers might consider parks only as the maintenance arm of recreation facilities and programs. As a result they conclude that parks and recreation need to be linked together. Parks, however, should be able to serve recreation, its facilities and programs just as effectively in another department. The communication links between Parks and Recreation will still exist, and the desire by Parks to provide excellent service will be unabated. This reorganization should not adversely impact the ability of Parks to provide prompt and adequate service to Recreation facilities and programs. Admittedly, the Community Development Director who would lead the expanded department is not an expert in the provision of recreation programs. This means that for this reorganization to be successful the Recreation Division will need leadership that is experienced and knowledgeable about the operation of the Division and the programs that it provides. The final question is what to name the expanded department. This is, of course, at the discretion of University City. One suggestion is to call the Department the “Community Development and Recreation Department.” An organization chart of the new department is presented below in Chart 4, entitled, “Proposed Organization Chart, Community Development and Recreation Department.” Chart 4 - Proposed Organization Chart Community Development and Recreation Department Community Development Director

Planning & Economic Development

Inspection Services

Recreation

Deputy Director of Planning & Economic Development

Deputy Building Commissioner / Inspection Services Manager

Recreation Superintendent

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City of University City

Recommendation #8 It is recommended that the Recreation Division be included in the Community Development Department.

Improved Business Practices This is a miscellaneous section which discusses a variety of issues brought up during the interviews. It also contains observations by the consultant. These issues and recommendations cover a number of major and minor concerns designed to improve the City’s business practices and public service in the public works, parks, recreation and forestry functions. Recommendations are offered for improving service to the public, saving money, increasing revenue, becoming more efficient and avoiding potential future problems.

Outsourcing Services One way to accomplish cost savings is to outsource or contract out the provision of certain city services. Often outsourcing a service is cheaper than providing service “in-house.” Over 40 years ago the City of Lakewood, California pioneered the “Lakewood Plan” where nearly all city services were outsourced. City employees were limited to the city manager and a small staff who administered the municipal service contracts. In fact, there are now so many California cities which provide most of their services by contract that the State has the California Contract Cities Association to represent the interests for this type of city. However, it is difficult for full-service cities to evolve to this level of outsourcing services. Most cities, of course, contract some services, even University City. These contracts are designed to supplement existing services to provide peak or specialized staff support and hopefully provide cost savings to these cities. Even now, University City is analyzing proposals that would contract out the collection of solid waste. In the streets and parks area there are already supplemental contracts for tree trimming and mowing. In this report, the most common services for potential outsourcing, or further outsourcing existing services, will be examined. These are services that were suggested during the interviews, and reflect functions that often are contracted out by other cities. These functions include street sweeping, mowing, tree trimming, custodial and fleet maintenance. As can be seen in this analysis, some of these functions offer more of an opportunity for cost savings and efficiencies than others.

Street Sweeping Currently, the Street Maintenance Division of the Public Works Department sweeps approximately 2,800 curb miles of city streets annually. Often cities consider outsourcing or contracting out street sweeping services. This is because it is expensive to replace street sweeper equipment when it has reached its useful life, and sometimes cities find it difficult and expensive to repair the machines. Further, while there is obviously a cost to contract out this service, outsourcing can reduce required staff hours and reduces a city’s overall expenses. Another issue is how street sweeping is funded. In University City it is funded through the Street Maintenance Division, except for leaf collection where it is supported by the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund. Page 18


City of University City On the West Coast the funding of street sweeping has evolved where it is no longer strictly considered a service to maintain streets, thereby supported from street maintenance funds. It is now considered by many cities as part of trash removal since the real results or output of street sweeping is the collection of dirt, debris, trash and other waste. This is an important distinction since the funding of street sweeping in these cities has shifted from street maintenance funds to trash removal funds. Since many trash collection companies also provide street sweeping service, the implication for University City is that if solid waste management is outsourced, the City could pursue an addendum to include street sweeping as part of that contract. If not, the City could still see if there was a fiscal advantage to outsourcing this service vs. providing it “in-house” by issuing a separate RFP for street sweeping. Financially supporting this service from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund should also be considered. This would help balance the City’s General Fund by shifting the expense of street sweeping from this Fund to an enterprise fund.

Recommendation #9 It is recommended that the City consider placing street sweeping into the trash disposal contract as an addendum to this contract, if this service is outsourced.

Recommendation #10 If the City does not outsource its trash contract, it is recommended that the City release a RFP to determine if there is a financial advantage to outsourcing street sweeping.

Recommendation #11 Whether the City outsources street sweeping, or continues to provide the service “inhouse,” it is recommended that the City consider funding this service from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund.

Mowing It was suggested during the interview process both by people inside and outside the organization that there should be one contract for mowing and one person responsible for administering this contract. Of course, both Street Maintenance and Parks Maintenance have their own mowers and mow turf and other plant material using City staff. Both divisions also have contracts with outside firms to supplement their mowing operations. The Parks Division uses Hendel Lawn Care to help mow pocket parks and greenways. This supplements existing crews by mowing mostly out of the way small areas where it is more efficient and probably cheaper to contract out mowing rather than transport a crew to those locations. Also, unlike the Streets Division, this service is for manicured landscaping. The Streets Division uses Got Grass Lawn Care, and uses this firm to help with weed or nuisance abatement. This is not manicured landscaping but the rough mowing of vacant city or county lots. Still, even with the different purposes of the two mowing contracts, there is merit in developing a single mowing contract administered by a single department. Combining the bidding of these contracts should obtain better bid prices. It is likely that most landscape firms can perform both rough and manicured landscaping services. By moving both the Streets and Parks Divisions into Page 19


City of University City the same department as recommended in this report will create an opportunity to consolidate the contracts and their administration. Also, if the City reduces the staffing in the Parks and Streets Division, either through staff reductions to accomplish budget cuts and/or to establish a lower “base” level of staffing to meet work load needs, the City may need to consider expanding the mowing contracts to assist staff in handling the peak work load.

Recommendation #12 It is recommended that when the current contracts for supplemental mowing services expire that the City seek a unified contract that will be administered by a single employee in the proposed Community Services Department.

Recommendation #13 It is recommended that the mowing contracts be expanded to supplement staff if the Streets and Parks Divisions full-time staff is reduced either due to budget cuts or through a redefinition of “base” staffing.

Tree Trimming Local jurisdictions across the country often resort to reducing expenses by contracting out tree trimming. While outsourcing this function may be beneficial for routine tree trimming, it is normally advantageous for a city to perform at least some of its trimming “in-house.” This allows a city to provide an immediate response to tree trimming issues which is especially important in emergencies. In University City the Forestry section is already supplemented by service contracts. While the City’s 2011 budget does not separate contract services among Administration, Parks and Forestry, the 2009 “Urban Forestry Operations Review and Strategic Plan” did provide some insight into Forestry’s contract support. According to this report Forestry budgeted $30,000 for contract street tree pruning, $10,000 for wood chips and log grinding, and $5,000 for emergency tree removal. Also, supplementing Forestry operations Parks transfers an additional staff person to the tree crew during the winter, and removes stumps for Forestry as well. It would appear that this is an appropriate balance between budgeting for “in-house” tree trimming crews and supplemental support from private contractors and Parks staff. As a result it is suggested that the status quo be maintained.

Custodial Services Currently, custodial services for non-park facilities are provided through the Facility Maintenance Section, formerly in the Public Works Department, and now in the Community Development Department. Custodial services for the Centennial Commons and the Heman Community Center are provided with part-time recreation staff. Restroom maintenance and cleaning at parks facilities is provided by the Parks Division. Many cities contract all or most of their custodial services since they find that this is more cost effective than providing this service with city employees. Unlike street sweeping or mowing, however, there probably is more of an advantage in maintaining direct control over custodial Page 20


City of University City services. For example, there may be a concern over a firm providing custodial service in sensitive and secure areas in the Police Department where there is less control over the custodian than if that person were an employee of the City. Another approach which the consultant used as a city manager is to have city custodians maintain basic facilities and to outsource the work at other facilities. A variation of this alternative is to use part-time staff to supplement regular city custodians instead of a contractor. This probably would be a better approach since the City will still have more direct control over custodial employees, especially in sensitive facilities and public spaces. As suggested earlier in the report, the City should either combine all of the facility maintenance in one work group, or at least consolidate all full-time and part-time custodial staff under one supervisor for all city facilities. Please see Recommendation #4.

Fleet Maintenance During the interviews it was suggested that the fleet maintenance and repair function be outsourced to private garages. However, it is important for vehicle repair and maintenance to be immediately available to other city departments. Further, the City repairs and maintains a wide variety of vehicles ranging from police cars to fire trucks to trash trucks to several different types of heavy-duty and specialty public works, parks and tree trimming vehicles and equipment. This argues to maintain fleet maintenance “in-house.� More importantly, if the City decides to contract out the solid waste collection service, this will have an impact on Fleet Maintenance. Any revamping of Fleet Maintenance including outsourcing this function should wait until this decision is made by the City Council.

Miscellaneous Issues While the focus of this report is on major issues such as organizational consolidation, and/or flattening and streamlining the city organization, there are other issues which came to the attention of the consultant. These are issues which could lead to improved public service, cost savings and additional revenue. Compared to the reorganization proposals discussed earlier in this report, these are less significant recommendations. But they are important and are presented in this report in order to address, in part, suggestions offered during the interview process, and to offer steps that the city might take to improve the City’s operations.

Professionalism Professionalism is a vague term in the context of this report. As previously discussed, some departments appear to have written policies and procedures to guide their operations, staff and the public compared to other departments where some policies and procedures are lacking. As a result, communications with and within certain departments appear better than other departments. In fact, examples were provided during the interview process that employees in some city departments were unclear where certain complaints from the public should be transmitted. They were uncertain which department to contact for certain maintenance functions since they had received vague, unclear and/or inconsistent answers when they had made similar requests on the same issues before. Employees also cited delays from other departments in response to emails, requests for service and the filing of grant applications for Council action.

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City of University City It is understood that the City Manager is now requiring that the departments use the same administrative forms city-wide. In some cases individual departments had developed their own forms, and there was no consistency in the forms or the use of these forms city-wide. The City Manager also is now pursuing consistency among departments in requiring the use of performance evaluations, and requiring the consistent application of performance evaluation forms, processes and criteria throughout the City organization. When time permits, this effort should also be applied to written policies, procedures and guidelines that will help certain City operations become better organized, and clearer in their mission and responsibilities. Meshing authority, responsibility and consistency is important to raise the professionalism and public service throughout the organization. Adding consistency in administering departmental operations and responding to internal and external requests in a timely and productive manner is an important objective for the City.

Recommendation #14 It is recommended that the City continue its efforts to conform its administrative forms so they are consistent throughout the City, that performance evaluations be required for all City employees, and that the evaluation forms, process and guidelines be applied consistently.

Recommendation #15 It is recommended that, as time and resources permit, written guidelines and/or policies be prepared in all departments to address all major elements of their operations.

Citizen Complaint Tracking In order to provide better public service the City should evaluate its systems, or the lack thereof, for citizen complaint tracking and follow-up. The Police Department, for example, not only tracks criminal complaints, but other citizen complaints as well. The Department receives calls mostly about law enforcement. Since they are open 24/7, however, they receive complaints and requests for all city operations. Also since the public often does not know where to call with a complaint or a request they may call any City office or department such as the City Manager’s Office, City Clerk’s Office, Community Development, and Public Works even though that office or department is not responsible for the complaint or request. Further, examples were given to the consultant of inconsistent processing of complaints. Sometimes a department would handle a particular complaint and at other times they would not. When time and resources are available, the City should explore developing a citizen complaint tracking system. A consistent, consolidated complaint tracking system, perhaps building off the one in Police should help improve communication between the City and the general public.

Recommendation #16 It is recommended that, when time and resources are available, the City should explore developing a city-wide citizen complaint tracking system, perhaps building off the one in the Police Department.

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City of University City

Joint Purchasing Joining with other agencies to increase their collective buying power has been used by cities over the years as a technique to reduce costs. It was suggested during the interview process that the City would benefit by jointly purchasing vehicles and equipment with other local government agencies. In fact, the City Manager’s Budget Advisory Task Force suggested that “University City consider working with other communities such as Olivette when purchasing fire engines, street sweepers, dump trucks and even police cars.” Actually, Fleet Services already takes advantage of large volume purchasing of vehicles by using the state contract for police cars, pickups and small SUVs. The City also uses the State contract to purchase computer equipment and participates in a Salt Purchasing Consortium with other cities. Extending the potential use of the state contract, or joining other local agencies to purchase vehicles, equipment or supplies, should be pursued to take advantage of what amounts to a volume discount for these large purchases.

Recommendation #17 It is recommended that the City continue to join other agencies in making major vehicle purchases and expanding that effort where appropriate.

Providing Fleet Service to Other Agencies As was discussed elsewhere in this report, there is the potential that the Fleet Maintenance budget and staff could shrink if the solid waste disposal function is outsourced. It is assumed, under this scenario, that the solid waste service provider would use and maintain their own equipment. Whether or not this function is outsourced, however, there may be opportunities for Fleet Maintenance to service vehicles from smaller agencies. In one interview, for example, it was pointed out that at one time there was interest by the school district for Fleet to maintain 17 district trucks for $50,000 annually without adding any cost to Fleet’s budget. There may be the potential for entities like Washington University (police cars) or other local agencies to contract with the City for vehicle maintenance. Whether or not Fleet Maintenance continues to provide service to the Solid Waste Maintenance Division, it is recommended that providing vehicle maintenance contracts to other local agencies be explored. This has the potential of either increasing revenue without materially increasing costs, or maintaining some level of the existing vehicle maintenance staff if Fleet no longer services solid waste vehicles.

Recommendation #18 It is recommended that the City explore providing vehicle maintenance services to other local agencies.

Purchase of Street Light System Apparently a rate filing by the region’s electricity provider, Ameren, led several cities and the municipal league to prepare their own joint study to examine the utility’s filing. When that is completed, the City may have a better understanding of its multiple monthly bills from Ameren. The City hopefully will then have the data necessary to determine if buying the street lights and Page 23


City of University City poles owned by the utility would be financially beneficial. It is recommended that the City continue to pursue this option in order to achieve a potential reduction in its energy costs.

Recommendation #19 It is recommended that the City follow the study being prepared on Ameren’s latest rate filing to determine if buying the street lights and poles would be financially beneficial to the City.

Recreation Guide The University City Recreation Division produces three recreation or activity guides per year. They are widely distributed for Winter/Spring, Summer, and Fall/Winter. They are attractive, colorful and informative describing programs, classes and facilities offered by the City. The Guides also devote a significant number of pages informing the public about activities of the library and Recreation partners such as The Green Center, U City in Bloom, and various youth, senior, social and other non-profit organizations. Comments were offered during the interviews that the City needed to expand its outreach and improve its public information efforts to inform the community about its programs and opportunities. While additional public information about the City’s multiple programs has merit, and Recreation has taken the forward looking step of promoting its programs on social networking sites, the cost of additional “hard copy” public information pieces probably is not feasible in the near term given the City’s current economic constraints. The City, however, should consider adding a page or two to its Guide providing information about other City services. Some of the information found in the last two pages of the City Calendar, for example, might be added to the Guide. What might be included is information about recycling, pets, permits, property upkeep, disability services and refuse and yard waste collection. Also, it is expensive to produce these Activity Guides. Some cities have covered the cost of these Guides by selling advertising. Restaurants, doctors, dentists, child care, bowling alleys, and ice cream shops are typical ads that might be sold to pay for printing and distributing the Guides. This additional revenue source, while important, is not without its disadvantages. First, the cost of the Guide would increase because of the additional staff time required to solicit ads and include the submitted ads into the Guide. Its size would likely increase, increasing production costs. Enough advertisements, therefore, would need to be sold to cover this additional expense. Second, some members of the public may object to the inclusion of advertisements in a city publication. Still, as cities continue to face economic pressures, new measures to continue services but at the same time increase revenues to cover the cost of these services need to be explored.

Recommendation #20 It is recommended that the City consider adding a limited amount of general city information in the Recreation Guide.

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City of University City

Recommendation #21 It is recommended that the City evaluate the benefits of securing advertisements to pay the cost of the Recreation Guide.

Expand Recreation Programs In one interview it was indicated that staff would like to offer additional programs and classes at Centennial Commons. Given the obvious lack of use of this new, large, well designed facility during some parts of the day, this desire by staff is commendable. But certain initiatives have not been successful (Noon time walking), and there may be a reluctance to try new programs because of cost constraints. While this effort may already be initiated, it is useful for recreation staff to continually survey the recreation needs of the community and those that already participate in the recreation programs. Especially since most programs are offered at Centennial Commons, there is an opportunity to survey existing participants regarding any perceived “gaps” in programming and assess interest in classes not currently being provided. In addition, new classes and programs can be offered. Sometimes a class will not gain traction and will be deleted from the Recreation Guide due to lack of interest. If, however, to the extent a new class becomes popular there will be an expansion of Recreation’s programming, Centennial Commons will obtain greater use, and a small step towards reducing the Common’s budget deficit will be realized. The City should also explore further opportunities to partner with the school district in the provision of recreation classes. Currently, the City collects all of the money for class signups, and pays the teachers $20 $25/hour. A class will not proceed unless a minimum sign up is received so that the class will at least break even for the City. Another approach in an attempt to bring new class offerings “on line” is for the City to collect the revenue, but that payment for the teacher would change. The instructor would receive 80% of the revenue, with the remaining 20% accruing to the City. This is the same percentage split allowed the Golf Pro for the lessons he provides. The 20% basically covers the rental of the facility. This approach provides an incentive for the teacher to seek students to fill up their class. The risk of success for a new class falls on the instructor rather than the City. In this way, new class offerings may be created without financial risk on the part of the City. This would provide better service to the public while possibly slightly improving the financial balance between revenues and expenditures for Recreation. Another issue is that the IRS is now claiming that individuals, such as recreation class teachers, are city employees. In the City of Dana Point, California (pop. 36,000), after a routine audit, the IRS determined the City’s recreation instructors are employees for federal employment tax purposes. This requirement would require the City to pay workers compensation premiums, payroll taxes and pension contributions. This determination was made even though the City had contracts with these teachers indicating that they were independent contractors and they developed a compensation schedule based on a percentage of class income providing the instructor the opportunity to make a profit or incur a loss.

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City of University City It appears that the IRS intends to aggressively take this position with other public agencies in California. Whether or not this will occur in the St. Louis District is unknown. In any case, changing the way teachers are paid in University City would help support the argument that class instructors are independent contractors and not city employees. This would help protect the City from any IRS tax liability claims if this becomes an issue in this region. It would be useful for the City to follow the Dana Point case as they appeal the IRS ruling in the U.S. Tax Court2.

Recommendation #22 It is recommended that the City explore ways to improve class offerings at Centennial Commons, by changing the way instructors are incented for adding new classes to the schedule, without financial risk to the City.

Senior Citizens It was surprising to see so few classes and programs directed toward senior citizens in the Activity Guide. This concern was also raised during the interviews. In many communities the strongest recreation program element is often for seniors. It was explained by recreation staff that many of the all-ages programs offered by the City are used by seniors. Also apparently the nearby YMCA and the Jewish Community Center have robust senior programs. Still, staff has been working to qualify seniors for the Silver and Fit Health Program. This will allow their health insurance to pay for their membership at Centennial Commons and for the fitness center. The Recreation Division could still reach out to other senior citizen providers such as the Area Agency on Aging, the Crown Center, Brentmoor and Brentmoor Place as possible partners for senior programming. Also, the Community Development Department has partnered with St. Andrews Senior Service and the Community Action Agency of St. Louis County. There may be even more opportunities for identifying partnerships in addressing the needs of seniors. Developing these partnerships will be even more important if the City decides to close the Community Center because it is losing approximately $100,000 annually. If the senior lunch program, and the lengthy morning activities which precede lunch cannot be provided at Centennial Commons, there may be a need to find a local private facility for this program.

Recommendation #23 It is recommended that the City continue its efforts of facilitating health insurance payments for fitness programs and establish community partnerships to improve leisure time offerings to senior citizens.

2

Western City Magazine, July 2010.

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City of University City

Community Center The Heman Community Center, it is reported by staff, is losing approximately $100,000 a year. As an older, less adaptive facility, than nearby Centennial Commons, its uses are limited except for the senior lunch program and community rentals. It is suggested that the Center be closed as a cost cutting measure, and it only be used for community rentals. These rentals need to be priced to cover the cost of opening and closing the facility, custodial service and utilities. The point is to avoid incurring a negative cash flow from the Center, even if there is the potential of increasing the rental rates, while at the same time making it available to the public. It is unclear if this will be necessary since the rate structure will need to be studied. But the rental rate needs to be based on the actual cost to provide rentals.

Recommendation #24 It is recommended that the Heman Community Center be closed except for rentals which should be based on “actual cost” rates.

Forester Consultation The “Urban Forestry Operations Review and Strategic Plan” raised the issue of the City Forester not being consulted by Public Works “on plans for improvements or construction of new sidewalks that may impact existing trees.” The report argued that the City Forester “should be consulted when permits issued for excavations of new city-owned trees are considered.” The interviews raised the issue of the wrong trees being installed during redevelopment projects for the Delmar Loop and Olive Avenue. When it comes to sidewalk repair, this is not an uncommon issue when street crews want to expedite repair of the sidewalk by removing the street tree. This may not be, however, the best approach for the City and its urban forest. One city which the consultant is currently studying (Sunnyvale, California) resolved this problem by creating a street tree/concrete crew. The thought was that most concrete work in this largely built out city is for displaced sidewalks caused by tree roots. So combining tree trimming with concrete made sense to this City. While this joint crew concept would resolve the issue raised by the Urban Forestry study, this is not recommended for University City. With the recommended consolidation of Public Works and Parks there will be an opportunity to formalize the coordination and communication between street tree and concrete work. This would be another advantage of the merged department.

Seven Days Per Week Parks Coverage One of the outcomes of this report is to identify and clarify misconceptions about the current service provided by the City. For example, it was suggested that there should be a staff presence at the parks seven days a week. In fact, this does occur from April through October during the time of the park’s heaviest usage. During this period, a park maintenance employee assumes a Friday – Tuesday schedule, performing some type of outdoor maintenance on Friday, Monday and Tuesday. On the weekends this employee prepares the baseball fields for play, cleans and stocks the restrooms and pavilions, empties trash cans and picks up litter. The employee usually stops by the five picnic pavilions located in three different parks to check on the customers and attend to any needs they may have. So while there may not be a parks employ-

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City of University City ee at every park all day Saturday and Sunday during the summer, there is a parks employee at the parks sometime during the day.

Recommendation #25 It is recommended that Parks Maintenance continue to provide seven day a week service at the parks from April through October.

Cost Savings/Efficiencies at the Delmar Loop and Other Miscellaneous Programs There are a number of small steps that could lead to cost savings and/or efficiencies by merging Public Works and Parks into the same department. These were briefly discussed when the reorganization proposals were presented earlier in the report. Some examples are: •

Currently, Public Works pays an employee overtime on Saturdays to empty trash containers and sweep the streets and parking lots along the Delmar Loop. This expense could be avoided, at least during the Summer, by extending the duties of the weekend park maintenance employee to perform this work.

As previously mentioned, a single bid for the grass cutting work required by both Public Works and Parks would likely result in a lower overall bid for this work.

Street Maintenance performs striping on City streets, cross walks and parking lots. Parks performs striping by contract on parking lots or other paved areas in City parks. These two functions could be improved by Public Works coordinating all striping work, and likely eliminating the cost of the Parks contract.

Street Maintenance maintains and coordinates the repair of street lights, while Parks maintains and coordinates the repair of park lights. Improved coordination of this work can be achieved by Streets overseeing light maintenance and reporting repair issues to the local utility or to a contractor.

As requested for community events, block parties and races, Parks delivers trash barrels and picnic tables, while Streets delivers barricades. Improved coordination of these tasks can be accomplished by Parks assuming total community event support.

Recommendation #26 It is recommended that if Parks and Public Works are combined as recommended in this report that all opportunities for cost savings, coordination and efficiencies be identified and implemented.

Inflated Classifications Just to highlight a potential issue for the City, it appeared in reviewing the City’s budget, job classifications and organization charts that there may be classification issues within the City. While there may be a good reason for some of these classifications, the City has a Golf Course Superintendent who only supervises one full-time employee, and there are crew leaders who may be performing more at the lead worker level. In other words, there may be instances of job class inflation within the organization. Page 28


City of University City This cannot be determined through this study. A so-called “class and comp” study would need to be performed to determine if this is, in fact, an issue. The City may want to consider addressing this issue when time and resources permit.

Recommendation #27 It is recommended that when time and resources permit the City consider conducting a classification and compensation study to determine if classification inflation has occurred and to take any necessary corrective actions.

Conclusions This Chapter provides a summary of major reorganization proposals involving the Departments of Public Works, Parks, Recreation and Forestry, and Community Development. It also offers several major and minor miscellaneous recommendations to improve the City’s business practices in these areas and to improve service to the public. Overall, these recommendations are designed to offer ways in which the City can become more efficient, save money, increase income and improve service. They are designed to assist the City to adjust to the “new normal” of municipal finance.

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City of University City

Chapter IV Summary of Recommendations The purpose of this Chapter is to list, in summary form, the recommendations presented in Chapter III. The recommendations are presented in numerical order, and match the numbers of each recommendation found in the previous Chapter. They are presented in this fashion for ease of reference and review. Again, the purpose of this report is to evaluate the management structure of the Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments. As a result, recommendations are proposed to flatten and streamline the organization of these two departments. Also, recommendations are offered to guide the City in achieving efficiencies by outsourcing or eliminating duplication of effort through improved business practices. In addition, recommendations for minor revenue enhancements and improved service to the public are offered. These are all designed to help University City address its looming budget deficit while maintaining satisfactory service levels to the public.

Recommendation #1 It is recommended that the sections of Parks Maintenance, Forestry and Golf Course Maintenance be merged into a Parks Division headed by a Parks Division Superintendent, who in turn would report to a department head.

Recommendation #2 It is recommended that a new department called the “Community Services Department� be created consisting of the newly formatted Parks Division and the Divisions of Street Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance, Facility Maintenance and Solid Waste.

Recommendation #3 It is recommended that if the solid waste function is outsourced that the contract be overseen by the Senior Project Manager who in turn would report to the department head of the new department.

Recommendation #4 It is recommended that the Facility Maintenance Division be supplemented by existing staff resources in Parks and Recreation so that one Division will be responsible for the maintenance of all City facilities.

Recommendation #5 It is recommended that any effort to obtain outside management expertise for Fleet Maintenance be deferred until a decision has been made whether or not the solid waste function should be outsourced.

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City of University City

Recommendation #6 It is recommended that, with the proposed reorganization, strategies be used of cross training between Parks and Streets, and redefining what is required for “basic” crews to achieve efficiencies and cost savings for the City.

Recommendation #7 It is recommended that a leader for the proposed Community Services Department be sought with excellent management and technical skills including status as a professional engineer either as a required or desirable qualification.

Recommendation #8 It is recommended that the Recreation Division be included in the Community Development Department.

Recommendation #9 It is recommended that the City consider placing street sweeping into the trash disposal contract as an addendum to this contract, if this service is outsourced.

Recommendation #10 If the City does not outsource its trash contract, it is recommended that the City release a RFP to determine if there is a financial advantage to outsourcing street sweeping.

Recommendation #11 Whether the City outsources street sweeping, or continues to provide the service “inhouse,” it is recommended that the City consider funding this service from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund.

Recommendation #12 It is recommended that when the current contracts for supplemental mowing services expire that the City seek a unified contract that will be administered by a single employee in the proposed Community Services Department.

Recommendation #13 It is recommended that the mowing contracts be expanded to supplement staff if the Streets and Parks Divisions full-time staff is reduced either due to budget cuts or through a redefinition of “base” staffing.

Recommendation #14 It is recommended that the City continue its efforts to conform its administrative forms so they are consistent throughout the City, that performance evaluations be required for all City employees, and that the evaluation forms, process and guidelines be applied consistently.

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City of University City

Recommendation #15 It is recommended that, as time and resources permit, written guidelines and/or policies be prepared in all departments to address all major elements of their operations.

Recommendation #16 It is recommended that, when time and resources are available, the City should explore developing a city-wide citizen complaint tracking system, perhaps building off the one in the Police Department.

Recommendation #17 It is recommended that the City continue to join other agencies in making major vehicle purchases and expanding that effort where appropriate.

Recommendation #18 It is recommended that the City explore providing vehicle maintenance services to other local agencies.

Recommendation #19 It is recommended that the City follow the study being prepared on Ameren’s latest rate filing to determine if buying the street lights and poles would be financially beneficial to the City.

Recommendation #20 It is recommended that the City consider adding a limited amount of general city information in the Recreation Guide.

Recommendation #21 It is recommended that the City evaluate the benefits of securing advertisements to pay the cost of the Recreation Guide.

Recommendation #22 It is recommended that the City explore ways to improve class offerings at Centennial Commons, by changing the way instructors are incented for adding new classes to the schedule, without financial risk to the City.

Recommendation #23 It is recommended that the City continue its efforts of facilitating health insurance payments for fitness programs and establish community partnerships to improve leisure time offerings to senior citizens.

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City of University City

Recommendation #24 It is recommended that the Heman Community Center be closed except for rentals which should be based on “actual cost� rates.

Recommendation #25 It is recommended that Parks Maintenance continue to provide seven day a week service at the parks from April through October.

Recommendation #26 It is recommended that if Parks and Public Works are combined as recommended in this report that all opportunities for cost savings, coordination and efficiencies be identified and implemented.

Recommendation #27 It is recommended that when time and resources permit the City consider conducting a classification and compensation study to determine if classification inflation has occurred and to take any necessary corrective actions.

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Evaluation of the Organization of the Public Works department  

final report

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