DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION AND PARKS: INTERGOVERNMENTAL SERVICE AGREEMENTS

2-C

Problem Identification:
The Department’s ability to provide high-quality recreational services and clean and safe park space is largely dependent upon services provided by other City departments, most importantly, the Department of Public Works (DPW). Breakdowns in these interdepartmental service relationships compromise the effectiveness of services delivered to the public.

Recommended Action:
Develop formal service agreements with other City departments that articulate specific intergovernmental service expectations and standards.

Classification:

Organizational, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
All Departmental Operations

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
90 – 120 days

Next Steps:
Have the Department’s management team convene meetings with the leadership of DPW to discuss long-standing issues related to the quality and timeliness of intergovernmental services. Develop quantifiable service metrics and standards, memorialize this information in formal service agreements, and regularly revisit these agreements to monitor compliance.

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 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 (discussed further in recommendation 2-A of the DPW section of this report). While the transfer produced a positive budgetary effect, Department personnel and stakeholders familiar with the conditions of the City’s recreation centers and park facilities feel that it has contributed to a further deterioration in conditions as the Department has little input in service priorities.

While this represents an issue that requires further study, it is clear that the Department must improve its efforts to articulate service expectations to the other City departments that provide internal services. The Department’s most pressing need in this area relates to DPW.

The intergovernmental service agreement concept has broad application across all City departments and agencies. (Additional information related to this concept can be found in recommendation 5-B of the Citywide section of this report.)