Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

City Hall Overhaul Moves Forward

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

City Hall Overhaul Moves Forward

Article excerpt

Tuscaloosa city officials are moving forward with Mayor Walt Maddox's plan to restructure certain city departments.

Pitched to the City Council last month, the mayor's plan calls for the elimination of the Office of the City Engineer, the Department of Planning and Development Services, the Department of Revenue and the Office of Resilience and Innovation.

In exchange, the plan would create two new departments:

The Department of Urban Development, meant to deal with short- term projects, developments, repairs and operations;

And the Department of Infrastructure and Public Services, which Maddox said would be geared to longer-term projects and operations, such as master planning and broader visions of the city's future.

Aspects of the Office of the City Engineer, Department of Planning and Development Services, the Revenue Department and the Office of Resilience and Innovation would be aligned under the new departments as well as the existing Finance Department.

With these two new departments will come the hiring of two new department heads, expected to e city's highest pay grade.

Those new department heads will be paid between $113,000 and $150,000 annually. Currently, only the city attorney and the mayor are paid at that level.

Maddox said he will work within the existing fiscal 2016 budget to fund the salary and fringe benefits of the new hirees.

The realignment of city departments is occurring with announceed retirement of City Engineer David Griffin at the end of the year, and next week's departure of John McConnell, the director of the Department of Planning and Development Services, who is leaving to take a similar job in Colorado.

Additionally, the mayor said the new department head heads likely will be selected from current employees.

"Certainly, we have to keep in mind that we have to do all of this within the existing budget," Maddox said, "and that tends toward us looking internally."

Since Oct. 6, when the City Council first heard the proposal, council members have had the chance to speak with city employees to gauge their reactions.

Councilman Kip Tyner said he did that and last week was vocally supportive of the move. …

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