Rejiggering city government

Restructuring will better serve residents, city contends

If all goes as expected at the next City Council meeting on Feb. 16, the administration will have the approval to restructure its government, doing away with the Municipal Services Department and shifting divisions to other departments in an effort to become more efficient, city officials said.
The other major changes include adding the Finance and Law departments. Divisions formerly under the umbrella of the Municipal Services Department will be reassigned to the new or existing departments.
Mayor James Davis said the measure will result in the city’s four large departments changing to five moderately sized ones: Administration, Public Safety, Public Works, Finance, and Law.
“Under this plan, divisions will be more appropriately grouped together,” Davis said. “This change will create a cohesive atmosphere that helps the city better deliver services to residents and operate more efficiently.”
The efficiency in city operations will result from creating a more linear flow of information, according to Chief of Staff Andrew Casais. Part of that will come from removing the Law Division from that of Administration.
“It won’t be the same department reviewing our work,” Casais said. “By separating them out, you could say it’s a more objective process.”
Davis said he would be appointing Jay Coffey the Department of Law director and Terrence Malloy the Department of Finance director. Coffey and Malloy serve as corporation counsel and chief financial officer, respectively. Malloy would retain his CFO post as well.
“Both Jay and Terrence have decades of experience and institutional knowledge that are invaluable to city operations,” Davis said. “They have honorably served in these positions before, they have been key and model employees for the first year and a half of my term, and I have the utmost confidence in them and in their abilities.”
All other city department head positions will remain unchanged, with Joseph Demarco, Robert Kubert, and Gary Chmielewski the directors of Administration, Public Safety, and Public Works, respectively.
DeMarco’s department will absorb most of the divisions formerly under Municipal Services, including planning, zoning, and the building departments.
“They’re a lot of the things determined to be economic development,” Casais said.
Casais said that though the administration did not feel the current four-department system was the optimal one, it continued to operate it that way for the last year and a half for continuity, so that government would go on.
“Maybe it was not the ideal set up, but it also wasn’t detrimental,” he said.
When former Municipal Services Director Robert Wondolowski resigned in late December, the administration reexamined government to see if improvements could be made.
“When we knew Wondolowski was leaving, we looked at it and said, ‘How can we do this better?’” Casais said.

Some cost savings

The proposed restructuring and mayoral appointments will not cost the city money, Davis said, because neither Coffey nor Malloy will receive salary increases.
Coffey earns $125,000 with no benefits. Malloy earns $136,826, plus benefits.
The city will save the $105,593 salary and benefits that Wondolowski made because his position is being eliminated.
Casais said the city is saving money on Coffey’s salary, since the former corporation counsel was making more than $130,000, plus benefits.

Change for the better

“The net addition is one department, and none of the functions of City Hall are gone,” Casais said. “We’re just reorganizing what we have to make it better.”
The ordinance’s first reading came at the Jan. 20 City Council meeting, and it received a 5-0 vote in favor. It will have a second reading and public hearing on Feb. 16.
The city announced the plan for the changes on Jan. 13.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group