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Presentation -- Community Development & Public Works Departments Organizational Reviews (E2)

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2019 16:39:32 -0700

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Dear Council,
At your October 29, 2019 meeting,<https://menlopark.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_10292019-3349> you are scheduled to hear a presentation on the organizational reviews of the Community Services and Public Works Departments. On August 6, 2018, Council authorized up to $200,000 for the purposes of these reviews. The report from Matrix Consulting has been undergoing internal review by staff since at least March 2019.

1. There is no link to the presentation and/or the actual report from Matrix Consulting. This gives no opportunity to prepare focused comments.

2. This kind of topic warrants a full discussion. The Community Development and Public Works Departments are critical to the City's land use decisions, and they will be critical to solving problems related to unmitigated development. One could argue that the organization of the CD and PW departments is of high public interest. The public has also raised questions regarding the general staff organization and the need for greater transparency into same. For important topics such as this one, I would separate the discussion into two topics: A) hearing the recommendations and B) Discussion of an implementation plan. This will result in better ideas for implementation because it allows for more thoughtful input and a wider capturing of input.

3. Council would be more assured of objective, independent input by having organizational consultants work directly with Council, and report their recommendations directly to Council without first going through the Staff. Any factual errors could easily be corrected in a public format. Removing the Staff filters would also give the public greater assurance that the report and related recommendations have been designed to promote efficient, effective and fully accountable city government.

4. Staff designed the initial parameters for the Organizational review. While there is a reference to residents, the RFP does not include a mechanism whereby Matrix Consulting invited the general public to give input. Were residents involved in the data gathering and recommendations? If so, what was the process? If not, why not? Ditto for other key groups such as the Planning Commission and the Belle Haven Neighborhood Association. Who did Matrix Consulting speak with, aside from the staff?

5. Were any recommendations removed by Staff before this Council had an opportunity to hear them? If so, what recommendations were removed and why were they removed?

6. Were any developers invited to give input into the final report recommendations and/or implementation plan? If so, which ones and what was the nature of their input and what was done with their input:?
Additional Background
May 15, 2019 – I wrote the former Community Development Manager on the topic and received this reply: “Both the Public Works and the Community Development Organizational Reviews are in their final draft form after having been reviewed over the last several months by staff and the consultants. The reviews cover four main areas – Management/Organization, Process/Efficiency Improvements, Workload Analysis/Staffing Needs and Customer Education/Technology. In Community Development’s review, this includes 30 different recommendations that are then given a priority ranking, timeframe for implementation and cost and/or savings. I have been working diligently with my staff to complete the review and to allocate staff resources to its implication as has Public Works.”
Sep 9, 2019 -- I made a public records request for the report from Matrix Consulting. In response, I received this reply from Nick Flegel on behalf of the City Attorney’s office: “I have checked with staff, and understand that these reports are all still in draft form and are therefore exempt from disclosure. I understand from Ms. Herren, our City Clerk, that this is currently an agenda item for October 1st, although it may be moved to later in the month of October. As soon as they are ready, they will be posted on the City’s website I understand as part of the staff report.”
Lynne Bramlett
Received on Sun Oct 27 2019 - 16:31:43 PDT

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