Supervisor Kevin Jeffries says he would like to see multiple county agencies consolidated into one department.
Riverside, CA –With one of its members away on vacation, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday to postpone consideration of a study on the potential costs and benefits of consolidating multiple county agencies into one department.
Supervisor Kevin Jeffries introduced the concept and made the motion to put off discussion until Supervisor John Tavaglione — the longest-serving member of the board — has a chance to share his thoughts. The board voted 4-0 to review the matter on July 26.
“Many counties, including our neighboring counties, have established a single Public Works Department to oversee a variety of services in a unified structure,” Jeffries wrote in an introduction to his proposal.
Riverside County has historically operated under a different structure, with separate — and sometimes silo-like — independent transportation, waste resources, flood control and parks agencies and districts.”
Restructuring county government to streamline operations is not a new idea. More than four years ago, the board initiated consolidation of the county’s 30 disparate information technology units, with the Department of Information Technology now serving as the central IT authority, excluding public safety agencies.
Talk of combining and re-designating agencies intensified during the most recent budget cycle, triggered by revelations that the county’s structural budget deficit will likely continue another three years, using present-day modeling. The Executive Office recommended gradually eliminating thousands of unfunded vacant positions as a step toward slicing away excess layers of government.
The Economic Development Agency currently oversees several offices that Jeffries submitted for consideration under a consolidation plan. EDA was among more than two-dozen agencies that requested allocations over and above its spending thresholds for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
Jeffries noted that Contra Costa, San Bernardino and San Diego counties have public works departments that manage many of the functions proposed under his plan. He also pointed to Maricopa and Pima counties in Arizona as other good examples.
“A unified Public Works Department has the potential to achieve a variety of efficiencies and economies of scale in purchasing, maintaining and sharing a variety of equipment, facilities and personnel,” Jeffries said.
He’s proposing that the Executive Office complete an analysis and return with a report to the board in 90 days.
– By City News Service.