Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Council Unanimously OKs Plan To Reorganize San Diego City Operations

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved a management reorganization of the San Diego mayor's office.

The plan was the result of a top-down review of city operations ordered by Interim Mayor Todd Gloria when he succeeded Bob Filner on Aug. 30.

He said he developed the plan in order to reduce the workload of the chief operating officer, who has been tasked with overseeing all city operations with the help of one assistant. The flaw causes all kinds of problems, he said.


"Decisions aren't made nearly as quickly as they should be, information is not shared the way that it should be, there are missed opportunities to spot problems and, importantly, find solutions ahead of time," Gloria said.

Under his plan, three deputy COOs will be hired to oversee neighborhood services, internal operations and infrastructure and public works.

Similar positions were cut a few years ago because of the recession.

Three new departments will be created: Planning, Communications, and Analytics and Performance Management; while management training will be implemented and a consultant hired to search for efficiencies within city operations.

The changes will make city departments and employees more efficient and accountable, Gloria said.


"I believe that it will help us save time and money and help us serve our constituents more effectively," Gloria said. "I want to make clear that this is not a radical overhaul, but rather a series of strategic, common-sense tweaks that will help us run better."

The Planning Department will be formed by a breakup of the Development Services Department, which currently includes the planning functions. Filner previously proposed splitting the DSD because he perceived a conflict of interest between city planning and developer services being under the same organizational roof.

The Communications Department will consolidate the city's 22 public information officers, who are currently spread across seven departments.

Incoming COO Scott Chadwick said that will help change the city's image as lacking transparency and being slow to respond to public requests for information.

PIOs may continue to be embedded within certain departments, like police and fire, he said.

The Department of Analytics and Performance Management will focus on strategic planning, performance management, research and efficiency studies, and the city's competitive bidding program known as "managed competition."

The reorganization is set to take place in two phases.

The first phase, which will take place over the next few months, will bring the hiring of the deputy COOs, the breakup of the DSD and implementation of the management training academies. The city will also hire Stephen Goldsmith, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, to provide an efficiency study by March.

Creation of the Communications and Analytics departments will take place in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2014.

"With approval of this plan, you should expect -- and demand -- far greater accountability and transparency, far better ability to set goals and measure performance against those goals, far greater ability to assess and mitigate risk at an early stage and provide quicker, more intelligent response, greater communication both externally to our stakeholders and the media, but just as importantly, seamless internal communication, as well," said outgoing COO Walt Ekard, who helped Gloria and Chadwick formulate the plan.

Chadwick's nomination to be promoted to the chief operating officer position is due to be considered by the City Council on Tuesday.