Late in 2009 the Mayor (Eddie Perez) and Council President (Pedro Segarra) authorized a Task Force to look for ways to “reduce spending and/or increase revenue.” The final report was issued on March 26, 2010, and made five recommendations.
Health Care Benefits
- Hire an independent benefits consultant to study the current system in detail and look for savings opportunities.
- Evaluate the benefits of a Health Savings Account (HSA) plan.
- Increase the employee contribution for health benefits.
- Consider a defined contribution plan for all new employees.
- Fill the vacant Purchasing Agent position.
- Automate the procurement process, so that it works with MUNIs.
- Modify the procurement procedure to allow more negotiation with the lowest responsive bidder and to implement a Price/Cost Analysis Review.
- Create an incentive program to change the “spend it or lose it” mindset of departments.
- Review the impacts of the Living Wage Ordinance on all City contracts.
- Review the impacts of “green” requirements on City expenses.
- Combine the internal services of buildings and grounds maintenance, and printing and duplicating, so that the City and the schools utilize the same groups.
- Explore opportunities to co-locate schools and library branches.
- Advertise City groups (like MHIS) to provide the same services to smaller municipalities.
- Look at a broad range of services that could be provided more cheaply at a regional level (911, snow plowing).
- Create a program to implement ideas submitted by employees about how to reduce costs and/or increase revenues.
The group also recommended that the City keep informed on the State Legislature’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies (MORE).
In the report’s conclusion, the Task Force writes that, “if we deal only with ‘quick fixes’, we will never accomplish the long-term changes that can result in improved financial stability for the City.”