HEALTH DEPARTMENT: CRITICALLY EVALUATE STAFFING PATTERNS

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT: CRITICALLY EVALUATE STAFFING PATTERNS

 

Problem Identification:
Departmental staffing patterns must be continually scrutinized to ensure the proper allocation of human resources to the areas most critical to the promotion of public health objectives.

Recommended Action:
Achieve reductions in the Department’s senior and administrative staffing contingents. Focus future hiring efforts on bolstering the Department’s inspections, service delivery, and contract and fiscal monitoring staffs.

Classification:
Cost Savings, Organizational, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
All Departmental Operations

Estimated Annual Impact:
$1,000,000

Estimated Implementation Cost:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
Low turnover rates might impede the Department’s ability to consolidate positions without layoffs.

Projected Implementation:
Ongoing

Next Steps:
Continually evaluate the Department’s staffing patterns; upon the departure of existing employees scrutinize the critical need for the vacated positions and consider converting funding to other job classifications that address more pressing staffing needs or support programmatic initiatives.

Analysis:
As part of the Greater Baltimore Committee/Presidents’ Roundtable Review process, the Health Department project team’s subcommittees reviewed the Department’s existing budget and the distribution of job classifications across its organizational programs. Through these reviews, certain staffing patterns were identified where opportunities for potential cost savings might exist.

For example, the Department seems to have a generous contingent of senior managers, including the following number in each job classification: one commissioner, two deputy commissioners, five assistant commissioners, ten directors, and six chiefs. Additionally, in reviewing administrative and clerical staffing, there were large concentrations of personnel in the following categories: 47 office assistants, seven secretaries, 16 typists, 45 word processing operators, 15 data entry operators, and 17 medical office assistants.

While it is impossible to make a conclusive statement regarding the necessity of each of these positions in the absence of individual employee workload audits, our review suggests that some position consolidation could occur through merging select supervisory responsibilities and creating shared/pooled administrative support functions. A modest 15 percent reduction in the senior management and administrative staffing levels described herein could produce $1,000,000 in cost savings (assuming the elimination of 25 positions with an average savings of salary and fringe benefit costs of $40,000).

Moving forward, careful consideration should be given to focusing the Department’s future hiring efforts on bolstering the inspection, service delivery, and contract and fiscal monitoring staffs. These staffing areas are critical to the Department’s revenue generating and performance monitoring efforts.