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Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission’s Final Report Outlines Recommendations for Cost-Savings, Enhanced Efficiencies

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ROCKVILLE, Feb. 1, 2011—Montgomery County’s Organizational Reform Commission today presented its final report to the County Council and County Executive. The Commission outlined a blueprint for restructuring some agencies and recommended changes in processes and operations that, together, could yield the County savings of at least $30 million per year, and potentially hundreds of millions per year depending on how the recommendations are implemented.

The eight-member citizen commission, consisting of four members named by County Executive Isiah Leggett and four named by the Council, was appointed on July 20, 2010. Its charge was to help address the County’s serious fiscal challenge by proposing ways to reorganize or consolidate functions performed by County government or County-funded agencies.

The Commission is co-chaired by Vernon H. Ricks, Jr. and Richard A. Wegman. Other members are M. Cristina Echavarren, Joan Fidler, Scott Fosler, Susan K. Heltemes, Daniel Hoffman, and Len Simon. Over the past six months, the Commission sought suggestions from County stakeholders, held nearly 50 full Commission or work group meetings, and reviewed dozens of reports, including the recent comprehensive report of the Council’s Office of Legislative Oversight on the County’s structural budget deficit.

“We fully understand the gravity of the County’s fiscal challenge, and we have developed a range of proposals to help address it,” said Mr. Ricks.

“Our recommendations are intended to make a great County operate even more efficiently and effectively, and we believe that if the recommendations are adopted, it will,” said Mr. Wegman.

The Commission’s 28 recommendations fall into two groups. The first group deals with changes in structure and organization – for example, merging the Park Police force into the County Police force, combining park and recreational services, and consolidating the information technology functions of the various County agencies. The second group deals with changes in process and operations – for example, requiring greater transparency in the collective bargaining process, adjusting the criteria that arbitrators must consider, and achieving greater efficiency in the use of Information Technology.

According to the Commission’s projections, the changes in structure and organization would result in savings of $6-7 million per year, with future additional savings that are not yet quantifiable. The changes in process and operations would result in savings of at least $22 million per year, with further large future savings possible from modifications to the collective bargaining process.

The Commission concluded that most of its recommendations could be implemented in the short or medium term and that they would not have a large impact on services provided to County residents.

According to the resolution that created the ORC, any organizational proposal for County government in the Commission’s report must take the form of a reorganization plan for the Executive to submit to the Council by Feb. 28. The Council must hold a public hearing on the plan by March 31 and vote on a plan before the FY12 operating budget is adopted.

The Executive may present an alternative reorganization plan that he concludes will produce at least the same level of cost savings, or inform the Council in writing why no reorganization plan is necessary. If the Executive does not present to the Council any reorganization plan or other proposal contained in the Commission report, the Council President must introduce each plan or proposal that can be implemented by County legislation as a bill before the Council.

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Release ID: 11-020
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939, Justina Ferber 240-777-7938