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City reorganization plan now complete
by Joshua H. Silavent
Oct 25, 2011 | 924 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — The City Council on Monday ended the implementation phase of its Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI) — a reorganization and budget-savings measure — acknowledging more than $2.2 million in savings for the current fiscal year as a result of consolidated services, reclassification of certain staff positions and enactment of wage and benefits concessions.

According to staff reports, a total of 17

positions were eliminated and 63 positions were reclassified to reflect responsibilities in the new organizational structure. Today, city government is operating with a workforce on par with 1996 levels.

City officials have long said the city needs to behave more efficiently, much like a small business, in order to manage the loss of tax revenues resulting from the prolonged economic recession.

“Our spending streams were not sustainable,” Assistant City Manager Steve Driscoll told the council. The SSI represents a “cultural change to how we do business.”

The City Council did receive some heat this past spring when it approved pay raises for 31 administrative, supervisory and nonsupervisory employees at a cost of $101,000 during the implementation of the SSI as a result of new classifications and position eliminations.

The SSI will carry forward as a system of policies and priorities — a framework for balancing the city’s budget in future years.

Driscoll said it would remain part of the operational structure of municipal government, providing a road map toward sustainability.

“I think we’re not out of the woods yet,” Mayor Geno Martini said, “but we’re in a good position to take on whatever’s next.”

In other agenda items, the City Council rejected a protest from West Coast Paving concerning a bid for the city’s permanent patch program.

Last month, city staff recommended awarding a contract to Q&D Construction for the work in the amount of $142,350. West Coast Paving, which had a higher bid, objected to the responsiveness of the bid from Q&D.

A new state law requires general contractors to list themselves and the work they will do, in addition to listing subcontractors, on public contract bids. The purpose is to discourage bid shopping, wherein general contractors look for cheaper subcontractors after being awarded a public contract in order to pocket more revenue.

Q&D did not list itself for work that totals between 1 and 5 percent of the job, but did list itself for work equal or greater to 5 percent of the job.

West Coast paving, citing bid instructions from the city, said this violated the law.

City staff said that while Q&D might not have met the full letter of the law, the spirit of the law was followed appropriately.

Council members said they understood West Coast Paving’s protest but that city staff ought to have some leeway or discretion when determining whether bid contracts met the intent of the law.

Council members acknowledged that the issue might have to be decided in the courts.

Finally, the city approved a $83,242 contract for the construction of the last two little league fields at Golden Eagle Regional Park. The contract will also result in the building of public restrooms, irrigation, electrical wiring and landscaping.
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