Port Mayor releases report on efficiency of government services | New

NEWBURYPORT — In an effort to maximize resources and increase efficiency, the city released a report Friday from an outside consultant that recommends changes to better deliver services to the community.

Community Paradigm Associates of Plymouth was hired to review the current government structure and identify improvements. The review, which was delivered to the city in late June, included both research and interviews with more than a dozen department heads and staff members.

“The city has a very effective team of department heads, but it always helps to have a professional outside review with fresh eyes,” Mayor Sean Reardon said. “This report tells us what the city is doing well and how we can be more effective in serving the public, and will guide our decisions in the weeks ahead.”

The city, according to Reardon, will actively seek to incorporate the following recommendations:

Transferring the maintenance team from the Parks Department to the Utilities Department, with the goal of providing more efficient and effective support across the city with shared staff and equipment.

Move adult recreation programs, currently within the Parks Department, to a combined Youth and Recreation Services Department.

Reassign the staff member responsible for recycling, energy and sustainability issues to the mayor’s office, with the title of sustainability coordinator, to support sustainability initiatives across the city.

Move oversight of some of the city’s capital projects from the planning and development department to the mayor’s office, under the formal position of special projects manager, allowing planning and development staff to focus on planning and economic development.

Move IT staff under the supervision of the CFO.

If all of the recommendations were adopted, the number of city departments would drop from 21 to 18 while increasing efficiency and improving services to the public, according to the city.

The report also recommended:

That the city strive to increase citizen participation on boards and commissions, increase the diversity of new members and standardize terms of office.

That the city consider working with the School Department in the future to consolidate functions and services that may be duplicated.

Ashley C. Reynolds