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Phase 2 of city assessment focuses on efficiency at City Hall

Phase 2 of city assessment focuses on efficiency at City Hall

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Some more big changes could be coming to City Hall in La Crosse.

Phase two of the city-wide assessment began Friday. The first phase was trimming down the City Council, which will drop from 17 to 13 members. This next phase looks at the leadership structure of the city's government.

Friday a sub-group of the city council met with the mayor, the assessor and City of La Crosse department heads to discuss the day-to-day operations, staffing and services the city provides. With the focus on simplifying and becoming more efficient.

"This today was, I thought, a really good session that got at how do we become a better organization," La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat said.

Day one of a two-part session outlined a possible restructuring of city officials in La Crosse.

Currently if a department has an issue there are so many people in charge they don't know who to go to, slowing down the process of finding a solution, which is why a consultant the city hired is offering a new solution.

"It's very difficult to have 17 direct reports. Having more of an executive team you can provide vision, meaning and direction to the rest of the staff," Reinvention Consultant Walter Jankowski said.

Instead of going to a council member or the mayor directly the proposed plan puts similar departments in groups and creates a leadership team.

If the proposal is adopted departments would fall under six categories. Public Safety, City Development, Transportation, Quality of Life Assests, Administrative Services and Legal.

"Having a smaller team that has these core processes and functions in mind and then given the flexibility then to go do that is going to just improve our overall operation," Kabat said.

"That's what's going to drive a lot of changes over the course of the next five years," Jankowski said.

There was never talk of cutting a department or any jobs. Kabat said by making the necessary changes now the future of La Crosse will be a little brighter.

"It might take some time before we see those savings, but I do think and I'm very confident that we will because we also have to be preparing for the future," Kabat said.

No decision has been made to add the leadership team.

Between Friday and the next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 6, the group will work on defining the job descriptions of each of the leadership team members. Before presenting their ideas to the Common Council.

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