Reorganization Benefits Awaited

AS I SEE IT

Gains In Efficiency And Time Not Realized, County Employees Say

October 06, 1991|By Sharon Hornberger

It takes wisdom to admit decisions are not all correct.

On May 10, the county commissioners announced their reorganization plan.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy stated in the press release of that date: "We have been working on this reorganization plan for some time."

Considering that the commissioners went into office in December 1990, and the announced change was five months later, not too much time and thought went into this plan.

Likewise, I do not recall thisreorganization plan being a campaign issue last summer or fall. There was no discussion by the prior Board of Commissioners of reorganization within the county government.

Yes, the number of county departments was reduced from

13 to 10, but the total number of employees was not reduced.

So what was the purpose of this reorganization?Commissioner Donald Dell stated, "As a board, we think the new structure will be more efficient and serve Carroll citizens more efficiently."

According to statements made by several county employees, there has been no savings in time and there has been no more efficient operation than before.

I've been told, "Sorry, we can't help you with that question, we're in reorganization, and we're not familiar with that area."

First, I really detest the excuse "that's not my department," but there's no reason to tell any Carroll County citizen, "I can't help you because we're tied up with the reorganization," or "We're not familiar with that information due to reorganization."

If one goal of the reorganization was to increase efficiency, this hasnot been the case -- yet.

I find it interesting that at least sixdepartment heads have recently commented to the press expressing a range of sentiment from "There has been no measurable affect on our operations," to "We have found our interaction with other agencies no more difficult nor easier."

It is interesting that these departmentheads are willing to discuss their nonplused, lukewarm attitude for the reorganization plan and not have fear of reprisals.

But let usnot lose sight of the purpose for reorganization of county government or any entity. Reorganization should be instituted to cut costs or streamline operations for improvement to the organization. It does not appear that either costs have been cut nor has government service been improved for the citizens of our county.

In this reorganization shuffle, the Department of Environmental Services was struck the hardest. Now is the time to evaluate whether the new "Office of Environmental Services" should be returned to the department status it had prior to July.

With the state-mandated percentages for recyclables from the total waste stream and the federal government also encouraging recycling, our county government has reduced the status of the "Department" of Environmental Services to "office."

To add insult to injury, the commissioners placed this important service under the Department of Administrative Services, the department that handles public access, cable TV, the Board of Liquor Licenses and legislation.

More evaluation is definitely needed in this reorganization review. More honest opinions need to be expressed by the department heads and the county employees. The citizens of the county need to tell the commissioners of problems they have experienced with an agency since July 1991.

But the most important step in this evaluation process must be taken by our county commissioners.

They need to keep an open mind to the comments from citizens and employees if this information input warrants consideration and be willing to say, maybe this reorganization plan was not such a great idea, let's go back to the drawingboard.

As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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