City Hall Overhaul

Mayor Jim Newberry is presenting to the Urban County Council Tuesday afternoon a management audit of city government.

The audit includes over 400 recommendations for improvements that the mayor says is designed to increase government efficiency and effectiveness. The mayor says if all recommendations are approved, there will be about $10 million in savings.

“We’re facing a $25 million shortfall for the 09 budget year, so saving money is very important,” the Mayor said.

Newberry says the main purpose of the audit is to make government operate more efficiently so that citizens receive better service. Yet it also means adding jobs in areas where service is lacking or non-existent. Mayor Newberry also talks about existing jobs, and how there are proposals to eliminate some positions.

“The auditors have taken a very hard, in-depth look at government operations and found many useful ideas that can help government operate faster, better and cheaper,” Newberry said.

“I plan to work with the Council to identify ways to implement the study.”

Newberry said the city has never undertaken such an in-depth, critical self-examination.

The audit was conducted by Management Partners, consultants based in Cincinnati. It includes recommendations concerning structure, policies and processes, staffing levels, operational practices, strategic work and financial planning.

The firm has been studying city government since August, talking to elected officials, management and staff and comparing Lexington’s operations to best practices found in other cities. City officials say the changes it has proposed are designed to clarify responsibilities, eliminate redundancies, streamline management and promote large-scale improvement.

The recommendations include proposals to:

•Make recycling and yard waste collection mandatory.
•Replace the property tax used to collect solid waste with a pay-as-you-toss fee structure to encourage recycling.
•Streamline the city’s confusing approval process for development
projects, while employing technology to ensure strict adherence to
•Reduce the number of city cars by 97 units, generating $651,000
through sales and saving an estimated $2.7 million in replacement
•Make some Parks programming more self-supporting through increased
fees and innovative programs that generate revenue.
•Centralize maintenance and management of city property;
•To save money, close underutilized recreation facilities, including little-
used, older neighborhood pools, while reinvesting in other recreational
facilities or programs in those neighborhoods;
•Inspect all Lexington rental units to ensure that they meet basic
standards for safety and cleanliness;
•Shift the Citizens Advocate responsibilities to LexCall to ensure quality
service from the first moment of citizen contact;
•Staff ambulances with two firefighters instead of the current three
(Many times firefighters are on the scene in addition to the ambulance crew. All firefighters are trained emergency medical technicians and
many are trained paramedics). Two is the staff level used by most cities.
•Streamline historic preservation efforts and improve efficiency and
consistency by placing historic preservation within the Division of

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Keith Location: Lexington on Mar 20, 2008 at 06:35 AM
    Lexington KY has one of the top EMS services in the country, one that is looked to by all areas in how to operate. Now the mayor is wanting to downgrade one of the top services in the country. Shame on him. It is not only taking those men off the ambulances, but off the job. Eliminate those jobs, so putting those 27 men somewhere else is not an option. That, with the lack of minimum staffing, further depletes the protection we have in the city. I think there are other ways to save money, paying over 300k for a survey would be one.
  • by Joe Location: Lex on Mar 5, 2008 at 08:08 PM
    Of all the places to save money, why cut your emergency services? How about not paying nearly $400K for an outside company to tell you what you should already be evident? Cutting ems crews will greatly lower the care given to patients in Lex. When your life in is someone elses hands, do you want 1 pair or 2? Don't forget 1 of the original crew will be driving... Yes we have first responders in the form of fire engines and ladders, but if we cut ambulance staffing these crews will be out of service to retrieve the crew from a hospital, possibly across town. Do you want your closest engine company across town when your home catches fire? The savings of cutting one man will soon be offset in additional fuel and maintenance on very large and expensive fire apparatus. 70-80% of Lex Fire/EMS Dept. runs are ems, with engines out of service at the hospital for even 1/4 of these can you really believe any money will be saved? Save elsewhere, keep Fire/EMS something envied by other cities...
  • by Anonymous Location: KY on Feb 28, 2008 at 04:04 AM
    Why isn't something being cut back on the police?? As with Jack, that is why we have such a sufficient Fire and EMS program because of the extra measures that have been taken and they do a WONDERFUL job. The new recruit class for the fire serivce has been postponed from March to July because of the budget issues, but the police recruit class is still planning for March, cut them too, be equal about this unless the Mayor is in with the Police. And that is exactly what I am thinking!!!! If you are going to do it too one you need to be equal and do it to the other. Mayor Newberry is doing a very POOR job at trying to fix the budget problems. Instead why not ask for help funding the World Equestrian games?? That is probably why Lexington is going into so much debt!! Punishing the citizens in the city to fund something that they never had the money for in the first place...pathetic!!!!!!! Good job Mayor, at making yourself look like a complete idiot!!!
  • by Mike Location: Lxington on Feb 27, 2008 at 07:12 PM
    How much did they make off the audit? Next you will tell the police how to do their job.
  • by Jack Location: Ashland on Feb 27, 2008 at 05:14 AM
    Why should Lexington care what "most" cities do. That's why Lexington is better than most and a great place to live and work. That said, I wonder how many members of Management Partners audit team has ever responded to any type of emergency be it fire, rescue, or EMS. It continues to amaze me the means by which some people qualify themselves as experts.
  • by Ernie Location: Lexington on Feb 26, 2008 at 03:25 PM
    My taxes keep on go up on my house and I do not get that much mour for it in return I can't go out and eat and set down and have a smoke after diner so I am not going to do any thing to help you to recycl any thing my trash after it is taken away form my house is your problem not mine and that I have to stand out side and smoke after I eat I am not going to help you to recycl any thing I don't get paid for it.


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