REGISTER VIEWPOINT: A few bumps in city hall's streamlining

More people doing the work, fewer people bossing them around. That's generally a good thing, and it's City Manager Ma
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

More people doing the work, fewer people bossing them around.

That's generally a good thing, and it's City Manager Matt Kline's stated goal for the reorganization of Sandusky's government.

"This isn't anything new, and I'm not reinventing the wheel," Kline told city commissioners.

All well and good, but there are a couple of things that bother us about this plan, if plan there is.

First, the plan was announced publicly almost halfway into its implementation, if we go by the outline Kline presented last week to city commissioners, when he said the hiring of local engineer John Hancock (at $90,000 which we're really supposed to think of as $61,000) to oversee all city engineering services was the second phase of the four-step plan.

Hancock's oversight takes the place of director-level jobs overseeing each of the departments he now oversees.

That's all well and good: More people providing public service, fewer pushing paper.

Our next problem is that Kline's future outline doesn't jibe with "thinner at the top." He wants a safety service director to oversee police and fire departments and a public works director overseeing water and sewer departments.

All well and good -- except there would still be police and fire chiefs, who previously reported to the city manager but now, we presume, would report to the safety service director who would then report to the city manager. The same goes at water and sewer -- each with its own chief, reporting to the public works director, who we presume would report to the city manager.

How this jibes with "smaller at the top," we don't see. What we see is another level of administration, created by a guy who says he wants to have "a smaller and more efficient organization."

Because implementing this might take six months or six years -- as Kline told commissioners -- we're not sure the city can afford to wait and see how this works.

Now that Kline has outlined his plan, we hope he and the rest of city hall will continue to be more open about what's in the works and how they think it will work.

As we've said before, Sanduskians might like the plans, might not -- but the plans can't be evaluated by the people who pay for them if said plans are kept under wraps until they're well underway.