The Chadron City Council is reviewing a pair of alternative proposals from City Manager John Sutherland to eliminate one or 2 city departments as a way for him to be more closely in tune with operations and to hold down personnel costs.
Both proposals unveiled to the council Monday night would eliminate the Administration Department with one also eliminating Public Works.
Administration staff who now report to City Clerk Donna Rust would report to the head of the department where they work in areas such as billing.
The 3 department heads who now report to the Public Works Director – Streets, Utilities, and Parks, Cemetery, and Airport – would report directly to Sutherland.
Chadron has been without a Public Works Director since the retirement of Milo Rust nearly 2 years ago, operating under essentially the system Sutherland proposed. He said it saved $114,000 this year that was used to address salary inequities.
Sutherland said his job is to have the city run smoothly and efficiently, and he feels he can best do that by having all department heads report directly to him.
Councilman George Klein said he was disturbed because it sounded to him as if the reorganization was the result of personality conflicts, which Sutherland strongly denied.
He said the city is running smoothly because it has a quality management staff that he works well with – adding that his proposals were based on a flow chart and not personalities.
When asked what organizational system other Nebraska cities of the first-class, Sutherland admitted he didn’t know. That led the council to have him report back with the answer in 2 weeks along with written comments by city staff on his proposals.