Superior panel recommends staff, department changes
Changes in city structure intended to improve efficiency.
Superior’s Human Resources Committee is recommending a number of changes in the way the city operates to improve efficiency.
Changes includes restructuring a department, creating new positions and shifting some staff around as the committee works through recommendations made by RW Management Group after an organizational and staffing study last year.
Information services in Superior got its start as a function of the Finance Department, and as such, the information services director reported to the finance director.
The Human Resources Committee took several actions last month to restructure the department, including giving it a new name — Information Technology Department. Job descriptions changed to make the information services director a department head, move the graphical information system coordinator under the department and to utilize an information technology system analyst working in the Environmental Services Division for broader city issues concerning technology.
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Even the city assessor's job changed as it will no longer have responsibility for oversight of the GIS coordinator.
The committee gave final approval April 20 after seeking an outside professional’s opinion on the new structure.
“All positions within the city designed to serve the functions and need of all department should ideally report to a centralized function or individual,” Jeff Thompson of Innovation in Quality Consulting wrote in his analysis of the new department structure. “This assures a comprehensive, consistent and strategic approach to accomplishing city roles.”
For more than a decade, the city’s Human Resources Department has consisted of a two-woman team after its former director Mary Lou Andresen retired.
The position was eliminated in 2006 because of budget constraints, and its current director was made the department’s manager until former Mayor Bruce Hagen restored the director’s position in 2014.
However, no effort was made to make it a three-person department again until now.
The committee gave final approval Monday to creating a human resources specialist position after an analysis by Thompson.
“I completely agree that the HR department is understaffed,” Thompson said.
Parks, Recreation and Forestry
The panel recommended a pair of changes to the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department — one recommended by RW Group and one by the mayor.
Changes include altering the department director’s job description and creating a full-time volunteer, events and program coordinator for the city.
The committee approved both April 20 for consideration by the Council.
Mayor Jim Paine recommended having the director of parks, recreation and forestry report to the city’s public works director.
While the change may seem minor, Paine said it would have a significant benefit for the efficiency of the operation.
“This position was originally part of the Public Works Department,” Paine said last month when he introduced the revised job description to the committee.
Before 2014, the Public Works Department consisted of four divisions — streets, environmental services, building inspection, and parks and recreation. That changed under Hagen in 2014 when the Council approved making it a stand-alone department with its director reporting to the mayor.
“While the department heads perform admirably, I think it leads to a lot of inefficiencies and challenges,” Paine said. He said with overlapping responsibilities among the two departments it makes sense to have them under one operational manager.
“I’m not seeing what problem we’re solving with this,” Councilor Brent Fennessey said.
The departments frequently have to assist one another, but it’s not required, so it means going up the chain of command to the mayor’s office to direct action to address the emergency of the day, Paine said.
The change wouldn’t mean a demotion for the current parks, recreation and forestry director, Linda Cadotte, Paine said.
“This will make a more efficient and effective operation,” Councilor Jack Sweeney said.
The Council will consider the changes at its next regularly scheduled meeting on May 5.