A potential project would take a closer look at Jefferson City’s government and how it might improve.
The administration committee voted on Wednesday for staff to prepare a call for tenders (RFP) focused on a study of the efficiency and performance of the municipal administration.
The RFP will be reviewed at next month’s meeting before eventually going to City Council.
Ward 3 Councilor Scott Spencer brought forward the study suggestion after discussions during the city’s budget process led to plans for the city to conduct a compensation study.
Spencer suggested that an efficacy and performance study should come first.
“We did (a salary study) in 2016,” he said on Wednesday. “We know the problems and I can safely assume that the problem is worse and not better. Therefore, what are we really accomplishing other than consolidating new updated data. The only real solution to deal with the compression and to compensate for the market value is to cut expenditure on personnel services.
Spencer suggested looking at what a 3-6% staff reduction would look like; how the city could outsource services such as parking, utilities, transit, parks and human resource services; consolidation of municipal and departmental services such as health inspections and public works; whether the city provides services that should be provided by non-profit organizations or by private industry; and whether there is a way to recoup the costs of some emergency response by billing insurance companies for out of town / county residents.
Over the past two decades, he said, more of the city’s budget has been spent on personnel services – from 61.7 percent in 1994 to 80.15 percent in the approved budget in 2022. The budget also increased from $ 26.2 million in 1994 to $ 64.4 million for 2022.
“The reasons for this study are that it allows us to assess where we have been and where we are going as an organization, as a local government,” said Spencer. “We can’t have an honest, in-depth discussion about salary increases if we don’t look at the other side of the coin and if we’re unwilling to take a deep look at functions, operations and services. of our municipal government. I think the main reason is probably that the taxpayer expects us to periodically assess and improve efficiency and service delivery. “
As far as he’s found, Spencer said, the city has never conducted a performance study. Although there were conversations in 2005, he couldn’t find where it was coming from.
He suggested working with Cole County to have the study look at the two entities, but county officials weren’t interested at this time due to how the two are structured differently.
“We have all these elected officials, and we give them their budget. But being elected, we cannot tell the sheriff what to do with his money. We cannot tell the assessor,” said Sam Bushman, president of the commission. “It’s our form of government. It’s so different from the city.”
For example, while the Cole County Sheriff is an elected position, the Jefferson City Police Chief is hired by City Council.
“Scott has one of his departments that he looks at is parks and recreation,” Bushman said. “We have our parks and recreation that are public works, and we have very small but efficient parks and recreation. It is not a separate entity per se. Our organization is just different from that of the city. Spending money wouldn’t really benefit us. “
The study would cost between $ 50,000 and $ 70,000, Spencer said, but city administrator Steve Crowell said it could easily be double that estimate depending on the scope of the study.
Crowell said his concern with the study is now all that city staff are already working on.
“The parking lots, the bailout money, the compensation study every time we decide to do it,” he said. “I think it’s going to be difficult for the staff to spend more time doing something like this. I don’t think that’s a bad idea.”
Spencer’s suggestion received support from several members of the Administration Committee.
Ward 5 Councilor Jon Hensley said the compensation study didn’t have to wait for the performance study, but supported the idea of looking at both.
“For the employees who are currently here and who are currently providing services to the residents of the city, I am uncomfortable aligning their salary corrections with performance studies,” he said. “These are not pieces that have to go together. I think it’s perfectly fine as a set of parallel exercises.”
Ward 3 Councilor Erin Wiseman said the compensation and performance reviews are separate, stand-alone issues that can be done separately or side-by-side.
“I think we should do the pay study, because it’s something that this committee has given to city council,” she said. “I don’t think one has to rely on the other. I don’t think we should just have a pay study after a performance study, because frankly I think we have to figure out what the problem is with the performance. pay and then combine jobs if necessary or cut jobs as people retire if necessary or whatever. “
Ward 1 Councilor Hank Vogt said his concern with the two studies is to ensure the findings are taken seriously, reviewed and implemented. Regarding the remuneration study, the last one was carried out in 2016.
“I hate that we’ve done all of these studies, if we can use this study to effectively make some decisions now,” he said. “We’re only talking about compensation for existing employees, I don’t see where it would be so difficult to get a modern and up-to-date compensation number for specific positions from the old study. Why do a new study when nothing was done with the last study? “
Ward 4 Councilor Ron Fitzwater said a performance study would be a good use of the funding.
“The city has not grown in the past 10 years, but the percentages of our overall budget continue to increase,” he said. Fortunately, our budget has increased with sales tax and other opportunities. I think doing due diligence, I think it would be dollars well spent. My thing is if we’re going to use the money. old or investing new dollars, we need a commitment that we’re going to try and implement this thing. “
A request for proposals for the compensation study will be submitted to City Council at its October 18 meeting.