DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: INCREASE THE NUMBER OF NON-CIVIL SERVICE MANAGERS

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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: INCREASE THE NUMBER OF NON-CIVIL SERVICE MANAGERS

 

Problem Identification:
The current system to select HCD senior staff is driven by Civil Service regulations and a tradition of entitlement to position. These have severely limited the ability of the Commissioner to select senior staff members who share the vision of the executive.

Recommended Action:
Increase the number of managers exempt from Civil Service regulations. The Commissioner should have the ability to retain or release senior staff (down through the classification of Director) as deemed appropriate.

Classification:
Organizational, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
All Departmental Operations

Estimated Annual Impact:
The impact will be felt most strongly through increased accountability of Directors to executive staff, and through a more cohesive vision and mission of the organization. The resulting cohesion among staff leadership should result in increased staff understanding of the organizational mission and improved performance.

Estimated Implementation Costs:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
There may be legal or municipal hurdles to removing key leadership positions from Civil Service oversight and selection, as well as the need to negotiate these changes with the affected professional membership associations. There may also be the potential for politicizing these positions, or creating the perception of ‘politics as usual.’ The Mayor and Commissioner must make selections clearly grounded in professionalism and expertise to calm these fears.

Projected Implementation:
Further research is needed to determine the regulatory changes required to disassociate Civil Service from key leadership positions before a timeline can be projected.

Next Steps:
The Mayor and/or Commissioner should direct legal counsel to research legal and municipal hurdles involved in removing Civil Service involvement in selection and protection of department directors. The Commissioner should work in conjunction with Deputy Commissioners, Personnel and possibly outside consultants to determine the skills, professional experience, education and other professional requirements needed for the classification of Director for each division. The Commissioner should select the individuals who will form the management team.

Analysis:
Based upon interviews with staff from all levels throughout the organization, a common theme emerged of a lack of understanding and cohesion among staff. The project team believes that part of the problem, and therefore part of the solution, is the inability of the Commissioner to select senior staff who share her vision of the Department, and who can and will represent that mission throughout the organization at every level.