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Local & Regional
12:18 pm
Wed September 8, 2010

City Efficiency Study Released

Tulsa, OK – Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett today presented the recommendations of an independent study that will provide a long-term road map for the operations of Tulsa city government. The report, which was based on input from employees, focuses on strategic opportunities to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of services provided by the city.

"With an estimated $18.2 million shortfall in next fiscal year's budget on top of the $11.6 million shortfall in the FY2010-11 budget, we must find ways to reduce costs while continuing to provide basic, high quality services to our residents," Bartlett said. "We have outstanding employees, but some inefficient, outdated processes and programs. This report provides recommendations on how to remove those inefficiencies and better utilize taxpayer money."

"Managing Change: Opportunities for Municipal Efficiency and Effectiveness" was developed by KPMG, an independent, third-party firm of efficiency experts, and was funded by Tulsa Community Foundation at no cost to the city or taxpayers. In addition to gathering input from 457 employees, KPMG used a systematic approach based on leading practices in government and commercial sectors to review 1,512 city services provided by 20 city departments.

"To lead the implementation process, I am establishing the Management Review Office, and I have asked our City Auditor, Preston Doerflinger, to lead it," Bartlett said. "Preston's business background, analytical skills and familiarity with the city and its services make him uniquely qualified to lead this effort. This office will work with employees to determine the best recommendations, establish timelines and oversee implementation of the strategic initiatives that make the most sense for our community."

"Cities and companies across the nation are implementing improvements to become more effective and competitive," Doerflinger said. "I am excited by the opportunities presented in this study and honored to be leading this effort. I look forward to working with our employees and city leaders to evaluate the opportunities and implement those that will help us improve our services and more efficiently use taxpayer dollars."
Key findings in the report include:
Sixty-one percent of city services are not mandated (some may be strategically aligned or provide critical support)
Of the total services provided, 69 percent should be benchmarked for cost-effectiveness
Sixty-one percent of services have no basis to determine if they are competitive with other private or public organizations
Only 12 percent of services possess measurable objectives, goals or performance measures
Many customer-service provider relationships do not appear to establish service-level expectations
Many administrative processes are manually intense, with multiple levels of approval

Recommendations in the report include:
Competitive bidding on the right to lease assets, including operation, maintenance and financing of services
Strategic elimination, reduction or suspension of some services
Strategic sourcing of services across internal resources and external providers to convert fixed into variable costs
Managed competition to ensure the largest savings possible
Utilization of public-private partnerships to offset or transfer the city's investment in operating and capital costs
Internal consolidation and development of inter-agency relationships to maximize efficiencies
Centralization and automation of processes and leveraging of shared resources

"The report does recommend strategic elimination of some non-essential, non-mandated programs and services," Bartlett said. "While layoffs cannot be assured against, any conversation about reduction in workforce is very premature."

"Although I believe we could continue to face reductions in our resources in the near future, this effort will provide us with a blueprint to weather the storm and position us well for the future," Bartlett said. "I appreciate the perseverance of our employees as we try to find ways to balance the needs of our customers with the reality of greatly diminished budgets. We've already been through a lot of change, with significant layoffs. Through this effort, I believe we can position our city so we don't have to go through that process again. I recognize that change is difficult, but those willing to change will come out on top in the end. I believe together we can achieve positive change and ensure a prosperous future for our city."

A Steering Committee consisting of business and philanthropic leaders and representatives from the City Council, the Mayor's Office and Tulsa County oversaw the study process. The committee approved KPMG's methodology prior to the study, validated potential opportunities and provided input on priority initiatives for consideration during the first phase of implementation. Members include:

Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Jr.
Robyn Ewing, senior vice president and chief administrative officer, Williams
Phil Frohlich, founder/president, Prescott Group Capital Management
David House, president, Jireh Resources, LLC
Karen Keith, Chairman, Board of County Commissioners
Ken Lackey, chairman of the board, The NORDAM Group
Ken Levit, executive director, George Kaiser Family Foundation
Don Millican, CFO and EVP, Kaiser Francis Oil Company
Councilor Rick Westcott

Advisors to the Steering Committee include:
Preston Doerflinger, auditor, City of Tulsa
Terry Simonson, chief of staff, City of Tulsa
Jeff Stava, COO, Tulsa Community Foundation

"Tulsa Community Foundation funded this report to help the city of Tulsa," said Jeff Stava, Tulsa Community Foundation COO. "KPMG compiled the information, wrote, edited and published the report with the help of the steering committee, city staff and Mayor Bartlett. This report is our gift to the city, and we look forward to a united effort to execute the best recommendations."