Superior’s Human Resources Committee was the first to take a jab at an organizational and staffing study report commissioned by the Council.
The report by RW Management Group made several recommendations related to city personnel to improve the efficiency of city operations, including creating some new positions, eliminating some and even restructuring how city government is run.
“If this committee wants to recommend hiring new positions, it would be ideal to have those positions created before we construct the general fund budget,” Mayor Jim Paine said. “We might be a little bit behind on that, but we plan on doing that in early summer, maybe even late spring. That’s about the time you want to create new positions from my perspective. There’s nothing requiring you to do that this year. You could punt on it. This is a titanic task.”
Paine said his goal with the next city budget is to fund the positions that were recommended to be created, but he would work to eliminate others recommended for cuts through attrition.
However, the committee debated on how to begin addressing the report.
The report made recommendations related to technology and joint city-county operations in addition city personnel.
“If it’s a personnel position, I think you should bring the department head here and the human resources committee should make that recommendation,” Paine said. He said when he and Council President Brent Fennessey made a list to determine where various issues should be discussed, it was pretty straight forward with software and technology issues to be considered by the Communications and Information Technology Committee and joint government issues going to the City-County Committee.
Councilor Jack Sweeney said it was a little strange to him that the report didn’t address one of the city’s largest departments, Public Works. He said the Human Resources Committee will have to address it on its own.
The report made some recommendations related to some divisions within Public Works, such as software for building inspections, eliminating a position in environmental services division and planning for the landfill closure in 2025. However, the report didn’t address highway and street maintenance, the sign shop, buildings and ground, the airport or mass transit responsibilities of the department.
“You’re allowed to be dissatisfied with this report,” Paine said. “You need accept none of these recommendations.”
Sweeney said he’s not dissatisfied with the report, but he was dissatisfied the report overlooked Public Works.
“I’m of the opinion that we ought to look at Public Works,” Sweeney said.
“The report — it is just a snapshot based on them coming in and talking to people,” Councilor Ruth Ludwig said. “I guess I’m more of a logical, systemic type … I would list all these positions.”
She recommended committee members list of their priorities to begin the discussion when the committee meets next month. The next scheduled meeting is Jan. 20.
“I’m glad we got this done … we had to do this,” Sweeney said. “But now we have to continue on because this isn’t complete and it’s going to take some time and some effort.”
Paine said he intends to add recommended positions to the general fund budget and create a path to eliminate those recommended for cuts through attrition.
“To me, the lowest-hanging fruit is to take the positions that are recommended to be created and have discussions on them,” Paine said. “It’s not your problem to fund them. Either the finance committee or the administration of the general fund budget has to fund them. You can just say we want them to exist.”