Transition team completes their work.
In a ceremony at City Hall on Monday, February 1, the members of Mayor Wharton’s mayoral transition team presented him with their final recommendations, formally concluding more than three months of work that covered nine critical focus areas. Transition co-chairs Mike Carpenter and Cato Johnson were on hand to make the presentation, joined by most of the 17-member volunteer team.
Key recommendations of the report included:
- Appointing a Chief Economic Development officer who would report directly to the Mayor on matters of job creation, business recruitment and retention, and local business development.
- Creating a new Office of Strategy and Evaluation to handle long-term financial planning, and to tie city goals to the budgeting process.
- Reducing health care costs by increasing premiums for city retirees and transition to the Medicare Part B plan, which would save the city about $3 million annually.
- Overhauling the Human Resources Division and hire a full-time consultant to revamp the division and reviewing the qualifications of every employee in the division.
The full report can be viewed here.
A number of the team’s findings focused on enacting recommendations from a 2006 efficiency study conducted by consulting firm Deloitte. The study, which cost $700,000 and identified approximately $18 million in possible savings, has never been implemented. Both the Deloitte study and Mayor Wharton’s transition report concluced that the City of Memphis has long suffered from not having an overarching sense of strategy in its planning and goal-setting.
Given the enormous budgetary difficulties currently facing the City of Memphis in light of the City Council’s school funding decision, this kind of strategic visioning has never been more critical.
As the Mayor himself put it: ““These are things that can be done and will be done. We need some way of developing long-term strategies, not simply lurching from financial crisis to financial crisis.”