DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS: EVALUATING APPROPRIATE DIVISION OF OPERATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES WITH DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND PARKS

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DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS:
EVALUATING APPROPRIATE DIVISION OF OPERATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES WITH DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND PARKS
Problem Identification:
It remains unclear whether the FY98 and FY99 transfer of many operational responsibilities between the Departments of Recreation and Parks and Public Works have produced positive service benefits and represents the most appropriate division of operational responsibilities.

Recommended Action:
Explore the feasibility of restoring building and park maintenance functions to the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Classification:
Organizational, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
Departments of Public Works and Recreation and Parks

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
90 days to evaluate the most appropriate division of operational responsibilities; an additional 180 ‘ 270 days to accomplish necessary management, operational, and budgetary transfers should the evaluation result in a decision to transfer responsibilities.

Next Steps:
Revisit the decision to transfer building and parks maintenance function from the Department of Recreation and Parks to the Department of Public Works. Evaluate the financial and service results of the transfer to date and make an informed decision as to the most appropriate division of operational responsibilities.

Analysis:
Between FY98 and FY99, a number of functional responsibilities were transferred from the Department of Recreation and Parks to the Department of Public Works. These functions included: building maintenance operations, trash collection, park cleaning, grass mowing, and tree maintenance. The rationale for the transfer of these functions was to allow the Department of Recreation and Parks to focus its efforts on programming and to achieve costs savings through operational economies-of-scale that DPW’s Bureaus of General Services, Solid Waste, and Transportation could provide.

Whether or not this transfer produced the desired effect remains an open issue. While the transfer produced a positive budgetary effect, Department of Recreation and Parks personnel and stakeholders familiar with the conditions of the City’s recreation centers and park facilities maintain that it has contributed to a further deterioration in conditions as the Department has little input in setting service priorities.

The Administration has begun to take steps to restore some functions, including construction for playgrounds, to the Department of Recreation and Parks. The Administration should revisit the balance of the transferred functions and make determinations as to whether their existing or former organizational placements are the most appropriate given the missions of both departments.