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Monday, January 04, 2010

Letter From City Manager Lagerbloom

December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

As we close out 2009 and look forward to a new year ahead, there are several very important milestones we've reached as a city and some other general information I would like to share with each of you. We have grown as a city, and as I sit here today typing this letter I am pleased to share the transition to our model of more self performance is complete. In the following sections, I would like to update you on that transition, the new city staff and our fundamental staff vision for 2010.

Tonight at midnight, while many will be celebrating the dawn of a new year, Milton will be embarking on a new year of self performance. My hat is off to CH2Mhill, Inc, for their commitment to the City of Milton, their tremendous staff and all the many ways that they have made our city what it is today. In fact, almost all of that excellent staff will continue to serve the city - those details to follow. When we began to study what was the best direction for the City of Milton, we looked at more than finances - even though that was one of the driving factors behind the transition. We looked at service delivery and efficiency, we looked at the desires of the Mayor and Council, and we looked at feasibility. We created "dummy budgets", had them evaluated by known professionals in the field, then checked, double checked and checked again - and ultimately made the decision the transition was in the best interest of the city.

The transition was a daunting task - one that came with many headaches, many late nights and many tough conversations. It wasn't a fun process, but it was tremendously rewarding. One of the most exciting things about the process was finding good people. Your new city staff is amazing. Almost all of the staff serving Milton through CH2Mhill was retained by the city - not because they were forced to, but because the wanted to. We did our best to make sure each of the employees was made whole professionally and financially during the transition. The formula we used to calculate compensation was to ask each CH2Mhill employee who was remaining to submit a pay stub. We calculated their annual salary and rounded it up to the nearest thousand. This was a way we could remain within budget, keep employees whole financially and still come in within market standards because of the elimination of both overhead and profit in the salary multiplier. Long story short: great talant, great institutional knowledge, great brains - all with a new energized commitment to the City of Milton and saving more than half a million dollars on staffing alone. As with every situation, there was one unique instance where the market and the needs of the city drove the decision. But with the exception of that employee, who wasn't hired into a comparable position to that which she held with CH2Mhill, the city worked to keep her whole as well. The staff was well taken of, and I am proud of each and every one of them.

We continue as a staff to evaluate the best way to deliver labor services and components of the Public Works department. As you know, we passed several interim transaction contracts late in December to keep the level of service consistant after the beginning of the year. We are evaluating other methods of a public / private partnership, as well as the opportunities which may exist to regionalize some of these functions.

The beginning of the year marks the first time ever the city has a full time Parks and Recreation director. Our new director, Cyndee Bonacci, comes from the City of Snellville, where she was director and responsible for all the parks and recreation functions, as well as all the special event planning and coordination. This is another example of where our diligence in recruiting good people will help streamline our operations. Our city just isn't big enough to have a bunch of people, each doing a small piece of the operations - we are a city where each person's talents must be distributed among many different functions. We've often heard the term "fat government" - this is one thing the Mayor and council were very opposed to and a concept we observed in every hiring decision.

In our form of government, the Mayor and Council generate the vision of the city, and the staff delivers on that vision. To that end, as a staff, we will certainly push forward on their vision. But, as a staff, we do have one vision for 2010: To have more of our citizens understand exactly what we are here for each and every day - to serve you. Sometimes in the absence of information, the information that surfaces takes on a mind of its own and a direction which is altogether opposite to realty. My vision for 2010 is for many of you to visit us at City Hall and meet your new staff as the public servants and people they really are. Normally, I'd ask you to just give us a call or schedule an appointment and we'd be happy to show you around and answer questions. This year, I'm not going to do that...what I am going to do is to ask you to just show up unannounced. Anyone can put on a show knowing its scheduled - but our service to the City of Milton isn't on a stage, and it's not a show. Nothing we do here in this building, or in the city for that matter, is an act - it's your business and we'd like to show it to you. When you arrive at City Hall during business hours, if I am available, I will happily meet with you and would be even happier to take you around City Hall, answer your questions and introduce you to the staff. If I am not here or otherwise unavailable, one of our department heads will do exactly the same thing. For 2010, I simply encourage you to come see for yourself how your city operates.

In closing, as we end this year of accomplishments - we reflect on them only for a day. Next year is here - let's get on with it. Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Lagerbloom
City Manager

24 comments:

Tim Enloe said...

All:

I appreciate Mr. Lagerbloom's willingness to reach out and have an open door.

As many of you know, I have defended Chris on decisions he has made. In the same breath, however, I have questioned various decisions. One of which comes now.

Nothing against the person hired on as a parks director, but isn't this putting the cart before the horse? Think about it. Milton currently has three parks; Birmingham Park which doesn't have one single rec field on it, Providence Park which is closed due to contamination, and Bell Memorial. Why do we need a Parks Director now? It would be one thing if we had numerous parks with everything from equestrian events to lacrosse going on, but that just isn't the case currently.

Let's make the assumption that this person is being paid $40k to $60k a year. That money is better spent hiring on an additional police officer so that our city has better coverage.

Remember, we only have three officers per twelve hour shift to cover all of Milton which is roughly 40 square miles.

The safety of our loved ones should be the city's #1 priority. Once we have ample coverage in those areneas, then we can look at other avenues such as park enhancement.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

I'm in full agreement.

If not for public safety, then couldn't the money have been used to keep Linda Blow on staff?

-Travis Allen

Anonymous said...

sounds like someone drank a little too much lager with there wheaties as anyone whose spoken with our city employees can tell you. you gotta love how he states tehy rounded up the salareies but you wont here the same around city hall, sorry chris but your outnumbered on this load of crap

Anonymous said...

This is going to be a good one.... All you saved was a half million and now you have to deal with personnel/policy/hiring/firing. Guess more city employees can be hired. Lets dont leave out complaints now they come to the city and so cant blame CH2 like before. I got a feeling this is going to be a good topic out in the open.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like our City Manager needs to take a further look at his own 'self performance'.

"The staff was WELL TAKEN OF, and I am proud of each and every one of them.

Sometimes in the absence of information, the information that surfaces takes on a mind of its own and a direction which is altogether opposite to REALTY".

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing that the City Manager was able to save every person's job except one... I've heard different stories from City Hall but if he says so, it must be true. AND, what's wrong with CH2, they couldn't advise the City what each person was making nor could the city take the word of the staff. They had to s u b m i t their pay stubs... yeah, that's not how I heard it but I don't want to think for an instant that the City Manager is misleading us... the Citizens who pay his salary, a rather large one at that for someone so young but who are we to judge. They fall so quickly into the political truth as versus the real world truth. It's all in how you word it people.

Anonymous said...

Well I heard he asked what they made them cut it 10 grand right off the bat. While times maybe bad everyone who left for whatever reason has a job in hand or coming. Work is out there if you go find it.

Anonymous said...

Above poster: you're full of crap.

Anonymous said...

Look at the above poster making a fool out of themself. The person said they heard not that he knew. Please dont try and take this post over becuase it could be a good one to watch. Some people have nerve. I have watch Chris for several months and see that he is doing a good job. Kepp it up Chris !!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

To the poster pointing out typos (way to go, champ) if you get your information from the city's site, those errors are not present. Looks like the blog owner retyped it, inserting their own mistakes. Anyone want to jump on this as a conspiracy or do we have enough swimming about in the muck for now?

Anonymous said...

LOL ;) Sink or Swim time.

Tim Enloe said...

All:

We did retype this letter by Mr. Lagerbloom.

Our apologies to Chris and our readers if we had some typos.

Please reference them and we will be happy to make the corrections.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

since apparently we cannot type the other word, then i will restate for the moron earlier, Chris is a Poophead to the Nth degree

Rocky Balboa said...

Thanks "Big Brother" Tim for deleting posts, even if mistyped. Communism at it's best. Why don't you just paint your house RED? You accuse the BOE of being communists? Practice what you preach!

If I can change, you can change! but I guess you're not willing to.

Tim Enloe said...

First off, the majority of posts deleted are spam.

Second, you can say whatever you want about someone in here. Just watch the language.

Third, communism and socialism are not the same.

Fourth, the BOE are socialists. All you have to do is look at their record.

Feel free to give me a ring to discuss further.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Rocky Balboa said...

Why don't you get in the ring with me?

I'm not gonna just give you a ring, it's not mine to give.

Everything belongs to the state.

Tim Enloe said...

It is comical to see such big words spoken by someone so afraid to leave their name regarding claims they make.

Some would define that as cowardice.

By the way, your most recent comment was very hard to follow; re "Everything belongs to the state". Are you stating you believe this is reality, it is socialism, communisim, or yourism?

All the best -

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Lagerbloom is in over his head. The future development of Milton's parks is a capital budgeting issue, not a project requiring a full-time parks director. If Milton had a city manager with city government and capital budgeting experience, we would not need to hire a "department head" for every city function.

Anonymous said...

Pity the fool!

Tim Enloe said...

All:

For those in here who have questioned Mr. Lagerbloom, I would recommend taking him up on his open door policy. By stopping in and getting an education on what is now in place might help to better understand the decisions made.

I do plan on visiting myself within the month.

As Chris knows, I have praised him when I agree, and I have questioned him when I don't.

The more both citizens and our government understand one another; the better off we will be.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Travis Allen said...

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony

Anonymous said...

Cris Lagerbloom needs to answer to many things that will be asked of him but my question is - where is the council... why aren't all of you asking your councilperson what is going on. I assume Chris needs their approval before he goes ahead with his decisions or is he a one man operation? Has the council stupidly givn him free reigns at City Hall. I've heard the Mayor doesn't interfere with his decisions. Please keep in mind and I know many will agree, Chris isn't stupid and he will move the council to wherever he wants them and like good little sheep, they follow. Been a long road since Milton became a city and it seems like the path is getting narrower. What started out being a great idea has fallen into incompetent hands regardless how the mayor and council speak at the meetings, I mean, who wants to admit their being led down the wrong road. Small rural community my butt, the politics of the City did and have reached Milton for sure.

Anonymous said...

Chris' education is in Criminal Justice, not Public Administration. Maybe he needs to take some PA courses so he can learn how to run a city and how to determine a salary for park directors.