Every four years, Allegheny County is required to analyze all departments and determine which, if any, departments need to be reorganized, done away with or left as they are.
“It’s a very worthwhile exercise,” said County Manager William McKain. “We go through and drill down and talk to the departments, pull a lot of data and information out, assess their mission, how they’re accomplishing that, and what their future needs would be.”
The review showed some things needed to be cleaned up a bit. McKain said a parks commission that had been established in the early 2000s was still on the books, but it has since been replaced by the Parks Foundation.
The biggest recommendation is to eliminate the Real Estate Department.
“We’re recommending that they get absorbed into Department of Administrative Services,” said McKain. “Administrative Services has a variety of departments, including the Office of Property Assessment, and they interact a lot – property assessment and also the real estate division.”
Employees of the real estate department would be transferred, so no job losses are expected, and McKain said services would not be negatively impacted.
“The services would be enhanced, because by working together, we believe that there’s a lot of economies of skill and bringing people together in those two different departments can provide enhanced services,” he said. “And also, our current estimate is we’d be able to save about $250,000.”
Another recommendation is that smaller reviews be conducted annually leading up to the sunset review.
“It is a four-year requirement, but instead of cramming it all in in that last year we believe that evaluating them over four makes it a more thoughtful, meaningful process where the cycles can be examined more thoroughly,” said McKain.
The review has been submitted to County Council and McKain said his office is working with county attorneys to determine if separate action would be needed to implement the recommendations, if they can stand alone, or if they need to be included in the county executive’s fiscal plan which will be released in October. McKain said he hopes to get the review in front of the council for consideration in September.