POSTED ON OCTOBER 6, 2010:
KPMG said what to cut, now city has to take action
Since the release of the KPMG Efficiency Study on the 1,512 services provided by the City, several of the 130 services recommended for elimination are being discussed throughout the community, such as animal controls, school crossing guards and horticulture in city parks. Many of these services have provided an important benefit to Tulsa and quite naturally have a number of citizens in support of their continuation. It's important for everyone to know the context in which these recommendations, and others, will be further evaluated before any final decisions are made.
Each service inventoried was looked at by KPMG through four "lens": Is the service mandated by some legal authority, does the service align with the primary purposes of city government, is the service designed to perform cost effectively, and does the service perform up to a measurable standard. If the answer to each these four questions was no, then the report recommended that the service be eliminated. This four "lens" methodology is KPMG's approach to stay objective and not influenced by politics or community values.
There is a fifth lens. That is for the city to determine that in spite of the recommendations, the service still remains important and valued by the community and should continue in some form or fashion. In looking through the community values lens, we must explore alternative ways that a service could continue if it's cost effective and important to the community. Given the cities current and future financial condition, new and creative methods and approaches must be considered. If we don't manage the change brought upon us by the recession, then change will manage us to our detriment as we saw last year.
To continue with the community and fiscal analysis of the recommendations, I have created a new office in the Mayor's Office called the Management Review Office (MRO). Staffed by city employees who worked with KPMG, each and every recommendation will be further analyzed against at least four factors: what are the intended and unintended consequences of the recommendation, what alternative service delivery models exist that could be considered, are there ways to make the service more cost neutral such as the implementation of a fee for service, and are there public or private partnership opportunities that the city can develop.
The MRO will begin with those services recommended as a starting point by the public/private steering committee which has overseen the project from its beginning. Once the MRO is established, the review and analysis of several recommendations will occur simultaneously by project teams so as to move as quickly as possible to finding cost savings and efficiencies. With the next fiscal year forecast looking as bad or worse than this year, timing is of the essence in moving ahead and taking advantage of the opportunities presented.
This process of shrinking the size and role of government after years of growth is not without its trials and tribulations. I am aware that this will impact upon employees and citizens. I am also aware that if we do nothing at all, change and consequences will still come. We have to live within our means and still do our best to provide the best quality of public service. In these times, this is a hard act to balance and it will take all of us together. This is the backbone of Tulsa: Tulsans helping themselves and each other. Reaching out and finding solutions -- solutions that government can't either find or afford.
Thank you for your patience as we work together towards a new tomorrow in Tulsa.
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