Friday, March 7, 2014

Cost cutting and consolidation measures

I take seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of tax-payer dollars. That’s why we are moving to consolidate audit services with the City’s Audit Department. Our Internal Audit Unit manager position was eliminated today, and the three officers assigned to that unit will be moved to other places on the department. This unit has done an admirable job through the years of raising accountability and improving our department’s efficiency. We are facing a $5.5 million deficit in this current fiscal year. The vast majority of our costs are for pay and benefits, so there are limited opportunities for cost cutting.

Consolidating audit services was an obvious choice. The City Auditor’s Office has worked with us on many occasions, providing an independent review and oversight of our operations. I trust they will be able to continue to do so. 

Additionally, I eliminated a director position over our Victim Support Division. While the Division’s work is very important, it’s a rather small group, and a director-level position was not necessary to oversee it. A sergeant will now take the helm there. And as I wrote earlier, we’re closer than ever before to consolidating detention operations with the City and Jackson County.

I’ve also ordered a review of an efficiency study that was done prior to my tenure as chief. I want to ensure we have taken all the steps possible to run the most streamlined operation we can.

Finally, we have put a hiring freeze on all non-sworn positions.

We are not stagnant. We are constantly looking for opportunities to cut costs, be that in the forms of consolidating, outsourcing or eliminating. But we must do so prudently. Wantonly eliminating critical resources would come at the expense of the city’s safety. I pledge to do the most we can with the funds we have.

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