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Tempe changes internal structure to maximize service, efficiency

Post Date:06/06/2014 3:23 PM
Nikki Ripley
City of Tempe

Tempe, Arizona – The City Council will hold June 12 and June 26 public hearings on changing aspects of the City Code to allow for several, position-neutral adjustments to the way the city is organized in order to better serve the community.

City Manager Andrew Ching proposed the changes, which are expected to be seamless for residents and other external parties. They are mostly internal adjustments to the city’s organizational chart. If the code changes are approved, the new structure would take effect in conjunction with the new fiscal year 2014-15, which starts July 1.

The hearings will take place during the 7:30 p.m. Regular Council Meeting on both dates in the City Council Chambers at 31 E. Fifth St. Meetings also can be watched on Tempe 11 for Cox cable subscribers or streamed live at www.tempe.gov/tempe11.

“There are many efficiencies to be gained by making these changes,” said Ching, who was appointed by the City Council in January 2013. “From enabling me to focus on the broader, long-term direction of the Council to providing a one-stop-shop for human services needs, these changes will help us serve Tempeans better.”

Current Assistant City Manager Jeff Kulaga recently announced his retirement after serving the city for 10 years. The departure created an opportunity for Ching to examine the city organization and, with the City Council’s consent, make a number of changes. The plan does not call for any more or less city employees overall.

Highlights of the plan include creating two Deputy City Manager positions, in place of a single Assistant City Manager. Tempe had two deputy managers until several years ago.

One deputy would function as the city’s Chief Financial Officer, overseeing a new Municipal Budget Office and Internal Services Department. The Internal Services Department will include divisions for Human Resources, Information Technology and Central/Financial Services.

Another deputy would function as the city’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the Public Works, Community Development and Community Services departments, along with a newly established Human Services Department.

The new Human Services Department will include Social Services (such as counseling, senior services, homeless outreach and Section 8 housing), Diversity, and outreach to veterans and education partners. The department also will work closely with external partners such as Tempe Community Council and Tempe Community Action Agency.

Recruitments for the two deputy positions and for two department head positions (Human Services and Internal Services) are completed, underway or will begin soon.

Other changes in the Public Works and Community Development departments will create efficiencies in processing permits for all kinds of construction, from major commercial developments to home renovation projects.

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