County Manager Reorganizes Government; There Were Too Many Bosses, Fritz Behring Said about Efficiency Efforts

Article excerpt

Byline: DEBORAH CEARNAL

In an effort to make managing more manageable, Fritz Behring has realigned Clay County's organizational chart.

Behring, who came on board as the new county manager in December 2005, has reduced the number of departments from 14 to nine. Some former departments now are called divisions and report to department directors.

"This is going to be more effective. It's a better structure," Behring said at the March 28 commission meeting.

County commissioners voted 4-0 at that meeting to accept the new chart.

Suspended Commissioner Christy Fitzgerald was absent, removed from her post by Gov. Jeb Bush following her arrest on four counts of petit theft and one count of official misconduct. The charges stemmed from a grand jury investigation into illegal dumping at various sites throughout the county.

Since assuming his role, Behring has indicated he probably would trim the number of departments. "There's too many bosses," he has said.

"The goal of all of this is to have similar departments working together," Behring told the commission Tuesday. "They weren't communicating because they were separate departments. This is going to force them to work together and more efficiently -- for the benefit of the people of Clay County."

No jobs were lost in the reorganization, though Behring said some positions may not be refilled "down the road" through attrition.

The new organizational structure includes:

Budget and Administrative Services, Susan O'Leary, director -- divisions of budgeting, purchasing, information systems, building maintenance, custodial and communications

Community Services, Arnold Weeks, director -- divisions of library, extension services, veterans services and the State Housing Initiative Partnership program.

Enforcement Services, Bill Bodenweber, director -- divisions of animal control, code enforcement and safety. …