Staff deployment efficiency and assessment of city government’s performance hit the radar screen big time during City Manager Nick Marano’s first Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday.
Board members voted to have Moss-Adams LLP, city internal auditing consultant work with Marano to design a study on staff efficiency. Preliminary Moss-Adams estimates were that might cost up to $50,000, The board also accepted internal auditor consulting reports on fraud, waste and abuse, as well as performance metrics development and implementation, the latter of which focused on the new city manager.
“This is my prime focus right now, getting this right,” Marano said while the performance measurement matter was under discussion. Marano took over as city manager Monday and met late Wednesday with Mark Steranka of Moss-Adams in advance of Thursday’s session so he could get up to speed on the consulting firm’s work.
Performance metrics, a primary thrust of the citizens’ Audit Committee that works closely with Moss-Adams and advises the board, are designed to assess service outcomes by using measurable data over time. Supervisor John McKenna, a certified public accountant who serves on that citizens’ panel as well as the board, voiced concern that the program not cause problems though intended to resolve them.
Marano said he too wanted to make sure such a well-intentioned program didn’t become a “monster” over the years.
The city staff efficiency study, meanwhile, was instigated earlier by Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, and he was the one who made the motion Thursday to get a “scope of study” document prepared by Moss-Adams in collaboration with Marano. Bonkowski pushed for the efficiency study at an earlier meeting during which a Pontifex study was adopted for use in determining pay levels for city staff. The Pontifex study, done by another consultant, recommends changing from an outmoded classification system to something closer to pay for performance and a market-based approach. Bonkowski said he wanted in conjunction with that to determine if city staff is top heavy on management.
His Thursday motion would include all city employees answerable through the city manager to the board, but also those units under elected officials if those officials opted into the study. Sheriff Ken Furlong was on hand and said he wanted in. Clerk/Recorder Alan Glover said he favored it as well, but he will be leaving office.
In other action involving Moss-Adams, the board as anticipated approved retaining the firm for internal auditing and related consulting work, with a $110,000 budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15, and dealt as well with the consultant’s recommended audit findings tracking report system.
Mayor Robert Crowell earlier Thursday welcomed Marano aboard with joshing reference to the board being the city’s frying pan. The new city chief executive said he intended to work collaboratively with everyone to meet challenges he was certain the community was up to handling.
“I will work 110 percent every day,” said Marano, a retired Marine Corps colonel and former management consultant.
Supervisor Karen Abowd then thanked Marena Works for serving as interim city manager while the search for Marano was under way, which took several months. Crowell and Supervisor McKenna echoed that comment. Larry Werner, the former city manager, retired on Dec. 19, 2013. Works’ title has reverted to deputy city manager.