Mayor David Allaire hopes to have efficiency experts take a look at City Hall.
The General Committee voted 3-1 Thursday to recommend the full board of aldermen approve three firms as vendors for “business process improvement” services. The firms are Regeneration Resources of Brattleboro, CGR Promising Solutions of Rochester, New York, and ALG Consulting of Montpelier.
“We are looking for someone to help us out with streamlining and improving communications,” Allaire said. “The bottom line is, we’re trying to figure out how to do things more efficiently and save the taxpayers some money.”
The administration had not brought a specific proposal to the board, but sought to have qualified consultants pre-approved to be tapped as department heads found specific subjects for them to consult on. Three examples Allaire offered of potential areas the city could use some help streamlining were water billing, the way the city handles workers compensation claims and the appeals process for parking tickets.
City Attorney Matt Bloomer said consultations would likely be paid for out of individual department budgets or the mayor’s contingency fund and that the administration would not come back to the board unless they were looking to fund a project out of the unassigned fund balance. He likened the situation to how his office has a budget to consult with pre-approved outside lawyers and he chooses on what subjects to do so.
Allaire said the city has a list of pre-approved vendors, many it has been doing business with for decades, that the Board of Finance signs off on each year.
Judy Frazier, the mayor’s executive assistant, said the three were narrowed from 13 companies that responded to a request for qualifications that she evaluated for cost, experience working with municipalities and proximity to Rutland.
“All three of these, I found almost the same pattern,” she said. “They do a process map ... rethink the process collaboratively and then do a transition plan.”
Alderman Sam Gorruso, who cast the dissenting vote, said he did not fully grasp the proposal, but suggested that understanding the problems with the water department and what needs to be done about them was as simple as talking to the employees.
“They’re fixable,” he said. “Nobody is listening. ... The people in the departments and City Hall are pretty smart.”