homepage logo

City manager looking to reorganize Cape’s Public Works Dept.

By Staff | Feb 24, 2011

City Manager Gary King wants to restructure the Public Works Department into three “functional units,” which he says will eliminate costly senior-level management positions, according to a memo dated Feb. 20.
The first phase would create a utilities department and a utilities director position, which recently was advertised. The position is expected to be filled in late March to early April.
King also wants to merge the transportation and storm water divisions, and the city’s Central Services will be “evaluated for likely integration with existing core services.”
The public works director and storm water manager positions also would be eliminated.
Creating a utilities department would require a vote and ordinance by city council. The amended ordinance is expected to be on city council’s March 7 agenda, according to the memo.
King was returning from a trip to Tallahassee and was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
City spokeswoman Connie Barron said it was too early to determine if any jobs would be impacted.
Former Public Works director Chuck Pavlos said there is “no set model” for organizing a public works department, and that municipalities approach their public works divisions in a myriad of ways.
Pavlos did say the department was reorganized as recently as last year, reducing 10 divisions into four.
He said reorganization was a necessity because their budget was reduced from $22 million to $13 million. Their reorganization also cut an additional $3 million from the general fund last year, Pavlos said.
A reorganization, yet again of the department, likely will cause many to worry about their jobs, Pavlos said.
“When we reorganized a year ago it was disruptive. Some people benefited and others got hurt,” Pavlos said. “Nobody likes change but we were evolving into it.”
As advertised, the newly created utilities department director position does not require a professional engineer’s license to be considered for the job although one is preferred.
The requirement lack has drawn some criticism.
Councilmember Marty McClain equated it to a hospital wanting operating room experience as a preference, and not a requirement, when hiring a new surgeon.
He said he supports looking at methods to be more efficient and cost effective, but feels the requirements of the job need to be more specific instead of general.
“I will never accept preferred,” McClain said.