December 9, 1999
Mr. John Morton, III, Chairman
Greater Baltimore Committee
111 S. Calvert Street, Suite 1700
Baltimore, MD 21202
Dear Mr. Morton:
As you are aware, members of my transition and management teams have engaged in discussions with the Greater Baltimore Committee President, Donald P. Hutchinson, and Executive Vice President, Donald C. Fry regarding the creation of an economy and efficiency study of key city departments. The presentation made by David L. Cohen, former Chief of Staff of Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell before the GBC, and subsequent discussions with him, reinforced my interest in immediately involving the business community as a partner with the city administrators.
I would like to personally request that the GBC, its board and members, join with the Presidents Roundtable to participate in the economy and efficiency study of five city departments or agencies, namely, Public Works; Health, Housing and Community Development; Recreation and Parks; and Fire. Although I have asked for a review of the entire departments, some initial areas within a department that you may desire to address include: fleet management, communications and information technology, solid waste collection, and building management, repair and maintenance.
Adopting an approach similar to one that was taken in Philadelphia, I would ask that over the next 90-120 days that you analyze those departments and make specific recommendations regarding fiscal and management efficiencies that could be implemented to provide a better delivery of government services in the most cost-effective fashion. I am confident that a ‘fresh’ review of these departments with the quality of management expertise that business CEOs bring to the table will produce substantive results. The review will also include an internal assessment performed by city managers and employees, and a ‘best practices’ assessment relying on input from individuals with specific expertise relevant to the department being analyzed.
In examining each department, I ask that the designated study team follow a standard format and focus on the following evaluation objectives:
– To review and examine the department’s present program/function priorities and recommend appropriate changes in the program/function priorities;
– To assign grades (‘A’ for excellent through ‘F’ for failing) to various city departments or agencies based upon management and efficiency, fulfillment of mission, satisfactory performance of their designated government functions, cost-efficiency of delivery of service, and value of work or service performed;
– To provide recommendations for better management and efficiency of government functions;
– To provide recommendations regarding the appropriate number of employees needed to carry out particular government functions and suggested methods to maximize employee efforts;
– To identify methods to improve customer service and responsiveness to city residents and employers;
– To identify government functions that are not operating at maximum efficiency and to develop a series of recommendations to improve the delivery of service;
– To identify cost-efficiencies in personnel, management, delivery of services, and those obtainable through the use of technology;
– To identify structural management deficiencies and to make recommendations as to department structure changes or the need to eliminate and/or reassign a particular departmental function;
– To provide a structure for an ‘on-going’ performance review and evaluation procedure of the departments or agencies reviewed; and
– Outsourcing and competitive reengineering of government services that are also provided by the private sector may be considered.
The time limitation that has been imposed should be treated as somewhat flexible. An initial review of a department may indicate that immediate action could be taken to maximize savings. In that case, your review teams should provide me with interim findings for consideration. In some cases, 90 days may not be sufficient time to adequately address the issues that have been raised within a department. Recognizing the time commitment that is being asked of you, in such an instance, depending on the wishes of the members of the study team, it should proceed in either of two ways:
a. The team may submit a final report after 90 days, including an identification of the
major problems with recommended actions to be proposed; or
b. The team may submit an interim report after 90 days, indicating the problems it has
identified, the potential options available to address the problem, and then continue its study until it reaches a final conclusion.
Please be assured that my department/agency leaders from the top level down will be directed to cooperate fully and to provide the study teams with complete and comprehensive answers. They will be fully responsive to all reasonable requests for information. Should you find any difficulty with the cooperation of a department representative, please feel free to contact me or a deputy mayor assigned to that department. This review will be a priority activity for all city government managers.
Finally, I assure you that any interim and/or final reports containing findings and recommendations of the study teams will be thoroughly examined by me, the deputy mayor assigned to the appropriate department, and the appropriate department head and management team. Although I cannot promise you that I will implement all of the study team recommendations that are submitted, I can assure you that no reasonable or practical suggestion will be summarily ignored. On the other hand, there may be valuable recommendations that I am unable to implement in the near future. I will implement all the recommendations that I can.
I recognize the challenges that confront me and the obstacles to success that stand in the way. I accept that challenge and pledge to work with you to build a better Baltimore. Your assistance in this endeavor will provide me with the faith and confidence that our business community and city government can create powerful public-private partnerships intending to advance the cause of our great city.
I need your help in this endeavor and in many, many other ways in the months and years ahead. Thank you for stepping up at the outset to make Baltimore a stronger City.