Berkshire Advisors has extensive experience conducting traditional management reviews of individual local government departments or of entire local government operations.
The goal of the effectiveness and efficiency review of selected departments (city attorney, city assessor, city manager, clerk of council, finance, fire, human resources, library, museums and visitor centers, office on youth, parks and recreation, planning, police, public works, and social services) of the Petersburg city government was to work with city managers and leaders to establish a management vision (consistent with the vision principles that had been established by the city council) that provides an overarching framework to guide the way the city does business. Specific study objectives included distinguishing core and/or required services from discretionary services; determining the level at which core and/or required services should be provided; understanding the fundamental relationship between resource expenditures and investments and performance (e.g., service levels); ensuring services are provided as cost-effectively as possible; developing systematic and consistent approaches to making resource allocation decisions that reflect community priorities and the availability of financial resources; and establishing systems that support integrated financial and management decision-making and support management accountability.
Berkshire Advisors’ consultants conducted a comprehensive management and staffing study of the Wilson County, North Carolina, government, with a particular focus on the larger departments and on those experiencing performance problems. The consultants interviewed a cross-section of managers and employees and analyzed organizational, operational, policy, and financial documents. In the health department, better scheduling at some clinics would reduce "downtime." Modifications in staffing and organization of some other health department units were also suggested. The consultants found that some functions of the depart¬ment of social services were structured in a way that inconvenienced clients. They suggested a staffing increase and a new client scheduling system in the crisis intake unit. Public assistance services, which were fragmented among several units, should be restructured for greater efficiency and responsiveness to clients. For the sheriff's department, the consultants recommended that the civil and patrol divisions be partially integrated to increase response time, that investigations by detectives be limited to cases that have leads, and that better use be made of the misdemeanor citation program to limit the number of misdemeanants who are jailed.
Berkshire Advisors consultants performed a comprehensive study of High Point’s municipal government. The study included the police, fire, public works, parks and recreation, water and sewer, and electric departments. Police department recommendations included a plan to redeploy patrol officers in order to substantially decrease response times to incidents without an increase of required resources and to more closely track case workload to increase the investigative unit’s productivity. Public works recommendations focused on changing refuse collection, street maintenance, and recycling practices.
Berkshire Advisors consultants conducted a comprehensive assessment of the government of Marblehead, Massachusetts. The consultants found shortcomings in organizational structure, including proliferation of departments, lack of coordination among them, and the absence of certain functions. The consultants proposed a new organizational structure in which town operations would be handled by an executive secretary. They also recommended consolidating several departments and adoption of a number of initiatives to improve town management.
In the fire and police departments, the recommendations included consolidating dispatch and transferring responsibility for emergency medical services from police to fire. For the police department, which needed more aggressive management, the consultants suggested better communication of goals as a means to reduce response time and increase the clearance rate. The consultants suggested modifying the firefighters' workweek and adopting a policy to ensure provision for absences. Recommendations were made for several other departments, including recreation and parks, engineering, health, highways, and harbormaster. Implementing the changes would result in annual savings of about $2.5 million.
Berkshire Advisors consultants conducted a management study of the town government because it found itself in a precarious financial condition, with no general fund balance and a downgraded bond rating. The consulting team reviewed the government overall as well as a number of individual departments: police, fire, public works, schools, the library, emergency medical services, and health and recreation.
In their study of the police department, the consultants found that the quality of service was high, but that there were opportunities to make further improvements in organizational structure, in the relationship with the union, in patrol and investigative operations, and in support staffing. They recommended modifications in structure that would reduce the number of supervisory staff and consolidate duplicate functions. In patrol, recommendations were made for better workload management, better deployment, and adoption of a take-home car plan. In investigations, recommendations were made to make more effective use of detectives’ time by involving patrol officers in investigations. An increase in the number of civilian support personnel was also proposed.
The public works department was found in general to be well managed, but more adequate investment was needed in maintaining town buildings, roads, and vehicles. The consultants also proposed modifying the system of sewer service fees. Other recommendations were made in the area of staffing: a better match of skills to work performed, reduction of the number of supervisory positions, and more efficient use of seasonal workers. A recommendation was also made for automating refuse pickup and for upgrading technology.
Berkshire Advisors’ consultants conducted a study of management and staffing in all departments, with particular emphasis on the major departments. For the department of social services, the consultants recommended that program offerings be reorganized to streamline delivery, that branch office services be limited, that a new central department facility be acquired, and that certain staffing changes be made in specific areas. For the sheriff's department, the consultants recommended that detectives focus more efficiently on activities likely to lead to case clearance, and that changes be made in deployment and scheduling. In the department's patrol division, the consultants proposed changes in deployment to better handle the paperwork volume.
Recommendations made in the other departments (tax, finance, health, mental health, data processing, agricultural extension, planning and inspections, and buildings and grounds maintenance) were largely in the areas of staffing, automation, billing procedures and policies, and planning and work scheduling.
Berkshire Advisors performed a management review of all Culver City departments including police, fire, public works, parks and recreation, finance, treasury, transportation, fleet maintenance, building maintenance, and personnel. Numerous opportunities to improve operations and reduce costs were identified. For the most part, the recommendations focused on steps the city should take to streamline organizational structure, modify work processes, improve scheduling practices, ensure work is done by staff with appropriate skills, make more effective use of technology, and adjust the size of work crews.
The review of the Seattle Police Department has three primary objectives: evaluating the size of the patrol force, determining the appropriate balance and division of responsibilities between patrol and non-patrol functions, and evaluating the staffing levels used to support special events. The study focused particular attention on evaluating the impact modifying approaches used to respond to selected calls would have on staffing needs and evaluating what additional staffing would be needed to substantially improve response times.
Berkshire Advisors conducted a review of the New Orleans Police Department. The purpose of the study was to review the department’s organizational structure and deployment, staffing needs, community policing approaches, and recruiting practices. Particular attention was focused on reviewing research findings on reducing crime and community policing and developing approaches to incorporate these findings into New Orleans organization and operations. In addition, the study detailed the staffing needed to substantially improve response times (and the department used these findings to direct more resources to patrol even prior to the final report being made public).
Berkshire Advisors conducted a performance review and audit of the Pawtucket Police Department. Because employee salaries consume the bulk of a police department’s budget and because the effectiveness of a police department depends primarily on the quality of staff and what they are expected to do, this study focused primarily on people related issues. The review’s approach consisted of evaluating opportunities to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness; evaluating staffing, scheduling, and overtime usage; using employee surveys to support the evaluation process; evaluating organizational arrangements; assessing shared services opportunities; using benchmarking and best practices analysis to support effective management; and developing strategies to support change.
Recommendations included modifying the department’s organizational structure to address issues relating to spans of control and a lack of supervision; establishing strategies for enhancing diversity and language proficiency of department staff; ensuring the availability of additional capacity when needed; establishing expectations for how long staff should be assigned to specialized positions; strengthening the promotional process; and collaborating with other agencies to perform selected functions.
The patrol staffing and deployment study of the Colorado Springs Police Department focused on a comprehensive assessment of patrol division functions. The consultants developed detailed staffing and scheduling models that department staff can use in the future to determine the number of officers needed for each hour of the day and to determine an optimal schedule to ensure enough officers are working each hour. The models will help ensure that the department protects the safety of its officers, supports proactive police work, and delivers the best service possible to the citizens of Colorado Springs.
Recommendations were made to adjust staffing levels to more accurately reflect actual workload requirements; strengthen patrol supervision and discipline; and revise scheduling practices to ensure a minimum number of experienced staff is assigned to all shifts. Additional recommendations included better management of the process for follow-up investigations; increasing accountability for overtime expenditures; taking steps to reduce unproductive time at the beginning and end of each shift; and more consistently using crime analysis data to improve responsiveness to community needs.
Berkshire Advisors completed a deployment audit for the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department (KCPD). This review consisted of an in-depth analysis of the organization, management, and operations of the police department. Additionally the review included detailed analysis of the department’s staffing including deployment, scheduling, and an assessment of the roles and responsibilities of sworn versus civilian employees. As part of this engagement a comprehensive employee survey of all KCPD employees and a benchmarking survey of select police departments were conducted. A conjoint survey was also performed with selected stakeholders.
Berkshire Advisors completed a management and manpower analysis study of the Oklahoma City Police Department, focusing on operational efficiency and effectiveness, and staffing needs. This study included a review of the department’s E911 emergency communications center. Interviews and briefings were held with the assistant city manager, the police chief, sworn and civilian police department employees, a representative of the city planning department, and the leader of the Fraternal Order of Police. Detailed staffing models were developed for current and modified patrol schedules and a range of analytic tools was used including conjoint analysis, linear programming, queuing analysis, workflow processing, and activity analysis. In addition, a civilianization assessment was completed and benchmarking data was collected from a number of peer departments.
Berkshire Advisors completed a comprehensive review of the Dallas Police Department. This review included an analysis of all aspects of the organization, management, and operations of the police department and focuses special attention on evaluating staffing needs. A key objective of this engagement was to provide a package of recommendations for improvement to assist the new police chief when he assumed leadership of the department. As part of this engagement a comprehensive survey of all Dallas Police Department employees was conducted. A citizen survey was also conducted and citizen focus groups and public drop-in sessions were held to gauge citizen satisfaction with department services. In addition, benchmarking and best practice surveys were also completed.
The purpose of this engagement was to conduct a review of all police department functions, to provide suggestions for process improvements, and to develop staffing models based on workload requirements. The study included best practices research and community focus group discussions.
Recommendations included establishing a new vision for policing around which employees can rally and modifying the department’s organizational structure to facilitate achieving this vision; establishing basic performance expectations for key positions and holding staff accountable for meeting those expectations; developing a comprehensive approach to ensuring the quality and integrity of department staff; taking a number of steps to make more effective use of patrol resources and to improve response times; conducting a space needs study and improving facility maintenance; using the budget as a management and accountability tool; and integrating code compliance into the plans the department develops to address community needs.
Berkshire Advisors completed a best practices assessment of the St. Paul Police Department. In keeping with the city’s commitment to maintain current staffing levels, the overall goal of this assessment was to identify the most efficient and effective ways in which to add or redeploy resources and to identify strategies for improvement. Staffing models and a resource allocation framework were developed and interviews were held with sworn and civilian police department employees, city government leaders and selected department heads, and the leader of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. Key recommendations included revising the current organizational structure to more appropriately align functions; collaborating with the city to implement a new financial management operating system; revising the existing patrol schedule to match the calls-for-service workload; establishing a more rigorous approach to managing overtime; establishing a system for defining performance expectations, weighting priorities, and measuring performance; and revising the training new managers and supervisors receive and the training curriculum to ensure it is consistent with department values.
Berkshire Advisors conducted a utilization and staffing study of the Pearland Police Department. The purpose of this study was to provide recommendations for an innovative and sustainable method of determining current and future police department staffing needs. The study included interviews with more than 80 employees and stakeholders, research on effective practices relating to reducing crime and traffic injury accidents, focus group meetings with community representatives, best practices research and analysis, benchmarking, and a patrol officer activity analysis survey.
Recommendations were made for the department to develop a formal strategic plan that defines its strategic objectives and the approaches it will use to achieve them; revise it’s organizational structure; adjust patrol officer staffing and deployment to improve response times and to allow time for proactive activities; create formal and informal opportunities for patrol officers and investigators to interact; establish expectations for how long staff should be assigned to specialized positions; hold investigative sergeants responsible for tracking progress on warrant service for the cases assigned to the detectives who report to them; strengthen internal affairs operations by ensuring that all complaints by citizens are documented and by establishing a protocol for using an outside qualified investigator to conduct complex, sensitive investigations; and establish strategies for enhancing department diversity and language proficiency.
Berkshire Advisors conducted an innovation and efficiency study of the Phoenix Police Department. The primary purpose of this review was to support the department’s effort to adjust to its new fiscal and service reality demands. Study objectives included establishing a baseline of the department’s current performance from which to measure the impact of proposed changes and making recommendations for increasing organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Recommendations were made to adjust work schedules to eliminate unnecessary overlap; redeploy dedicated staff to more accurately reflect department needs; make more effective use of supervisory resources; consistently use formal solvability factors to determine which cases should be assigned to detectives for follow-up investigation; adjust administrative support to provide a more uniform proportion throughout the department; and modify approaches to rotating commanders and lieutenants.
Berkshire Advisors completed a comprehensive review of the Ardmore Police Department. The study recommended that the department address management shortcomings and a reorganization that would support efforts to improve the department’s performance. In addition, the study recommended improvements to training, human resource, and performance management practices. As part of this engagement a comprehensive employee survey of all department employees was conducted.
Berkshire Advisors completed an efficiency study of the Memphis, Tennessee police and fire departments. Study objectives included review of the functions of specialized units; assessment of communications and dispatch operations; evaluation of uniform patrol deployment and scheduling; and an assessment of department vehicles.
For the police department a “function and activity” questionnaire was completed by unit managers that indicated the specific functions and activities performed by their bureau, unit, or office; civilianization analysis was conducted to determine the functions that can be more effectively handled by civilian staff; and specialization assessments evaluated each department function and service to determine whether it should be performed by generalists or specialized staff.
The consultants advised revising spans of control for the director, majors, and lieutenants to ensure better focus on operational priorities; modifying the current position assignment system and bumping process to ensure consistent staffing of the investigative division; revising case assignment practices to focus investigator time on criminal cases for which there is a reasonable likelihood the case can be solved; and continued exploration of the costs and benefits of providing take home cars to patrol officers and other uniformed officers who live within the city limits.
Berkshire Advisors completed an independent professional evaluation of the Independence Police Department. This review included an analysis of all aspects of organization, management, and operations of the police department with particular focus on deployment and staffing. As part of this engagement employee surveys, conjoint surveys, and a benchmarking survey were conducted.
For the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department’s capacity-building staffing assessment four key issues were considered: what work needs to be performed; what level of workload currently exists and what factors affect the demand for services; what measures of service quality should be employed and how do the resources devoted to an activity affect the quality of work performed; and what level of service and quality is desired and what level of staffing is needed to achieve service expectations. Three types of modeling approaches were used to assess staffing needs: for time sensitive department functions queuing analysis spreadsheets were developed to determine the number of staff needed by hour of the day and day of the week; for transaction driven functions that are not time sensitive workload analysis was used to determine staffing needs; for other functions staffing needs were determined based on the level of work a reasonably productive employee can be expected to achieve.
Because of the narrow scope of the engagement, recommendations were limited to specific staffing levels needed by function and activity; opportunities to civilianize positions currently held by sworn staff; and ways to use dynamic staffing models to ascertain future staffing requirements.
The objectives of the efficiency study/performance audit of the Ocala police and fire rescue departments were to assess the operational efficiency of each department; identify potential redundancies or service duplications; analyze organizational structure; identify opportunities to consolidate operations; assess staffing needs; evaluate how well each department complies with the mandates set for it; and assess how expected changes in the city may affect future needs.
Key approaches/analytical tools. The study of the police department consisted of an assessment of the organizational structure of each bureau; examination and evaluation of the delivery of services; and assessment of department management completed activities including human resources processes. A systematic framework was used to identify services that might be provided most cost effectively on a shared or regional service delivery basis. A civilianization analysis was completed to assess which positions should be filled by sworn officers and which positions should be filled by civilians; a survey was designed to ascertain employees’ opinions; and linear programming and queuing analysis were used to determine how officers should be deployed and scheduled on each shift.
Key recommendations: Opportunities to strengthen the management and operations of the police department were identified in the areas of report writing; supervision; take home car program; organization of support services bureau; organization of investigations bureau; preliminary investigations; lobby staffing; and crime prevention. Other recommendations were made to take steps to address perceptions relating to the department’s management and leadership; recruit a more diverse workforce; and strengthen relationships between the city and the department.
Berkshire Advisors evaluated patrol staffing needs for the Casper Police Department. The consultants reviewed historical information on the number of calls-for-service received and developed staffing recommendations. In addition, the consultants evaluated how staffing needs varied for three alternative scheduling configurations (eight-hour days, ten-hour days, and twelve-hour days).
Berkshire Advisors recently completed a workload and personnel resources allocation study for the Raleigh Police Department. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the organizational structure of the department focusing particular attention on ensuring that the workload is appropriately balanced among the various organizational units, ensure the workload is equitably distributed among field operations staff, assess the workload of detectives and evaluate the effectives with which supervisors are scheduled.
For the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Berkshire Advisors completed an efficiency and effectiveness study of the Philadelphia Fire Department. Study objectives included establishing a baseline of the department’s current performance from which to measure future performance; making recommendations for increasing organizational efficiency and effectiveness that are consistent with applicable NFPA, state, local, and federal standards; and developing mechanisms and strategies to facilitate the necessary change within the department to bring about greater efficiency (including specifying how the recommendations are to be implemented). The study included overtime practices, levels and quality of EMS supervision, best practices research, benchmarking, an employee survey, and community focus groups.
Primary study recommendations included modifying the organizational structure to eliminate barriers to improving department performance; focusing consistent attention on fire and EMS prevention activities; designing management information systems; restructuring roles and responsibilities; making strategic investments in training; establishing or increasing quality assurance capacity for EMS, fire suppression, and dispatch operations; and deploying civilian EMTs to support ALS and BLS units, to help reduce overtime costs, and to ensure consistency in the level of support provided to paramedics.
Berkshire Advisors completed a review of the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department. This comprehensive study evaluated all aspects of the department’s operations and focused particular attention on evaluating the deployment of fire suppression and EMS resources. In addition, recommendations to strengthen administration, training, communications, and inspections were developed. As part of this engagement a comprehensive survey of all Dallas Fire-Rescue Department employees was conducted. Citizen focus groups and public drop-in sessions were held to gauge citizen satisfaction with department services. In addition, benchmarking and best practice surveys were also completed.
Berkshire Advisors completed an efficiency study of the Memphis, Tennessee police and fire departments. Study objectives included review of the functions of specialized units; assessment of communications and dispatch operations; evaluation of uniform patrol deployment and scheduling; and an assessment of department vehicles.
For the fire department, interviews and briefings were held with the fire director and more than 80 commissioned firefighters and civilian employees; regression analysis determined the correlation between response times and fire loss; mapping analysis was used to improve the deployment and response time of apparatus to fire and EMS emergencies; and benchmarking data was collected and analyzed.
Recommendations included coordinated training and certification of emergency operations lieutenants to better support in-service fire crew inspections; relocating fire engines to ensure consistent response times within the department’s service level expectations and to eliminate unnecessary coverage overlaps; rescheduling arson investigators to ensure more efficient and productive investigations; and increasing the number of services for which fees are charged.
The outcomes of the study of the Hamilton Fire Department included assessing the deployment and use of resources from a risk management perspective; using analytic models to assess resource needs; determining if adequate controls are in place in critical areas; identifying alternative approaches to funding services that considered both risks and costs; and making realistic and practical recommendations for increasing the department’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Recommendations included revising staffing allocations to better reflect fire and EMS workload; adjusting the workweek for firefighters and paramedics; modifying the department’s organizational structure by reestablishing the administrative captain position and establishing an EMS deputy chief position; strengthening pre-fire planning to ensure plans are updated and reviewed; and modifying dispatch protocols to specify when lights and sirens should be used.
This comprehensive review included assessing the deployment and use of fire department resources from a risk management perspective; using analytic models to assess resource needs; identifying alternative approaches to funding services that considered both risks and costs; making realistic and practical recommendations for increasing the department’s effectiveness and efficiency; and proposing mechanisms to facilitate change within the department to bring about greater efficiency. Individual interviews, briefings, and focus groups were held with elected officials, union representatives, and community stakeholders, and benchmarking and best practices information was gathered in a number of areas.
Recommendations were made for a number of steps to be taken to improve consistency across the department including how incidents are responded to; negotiating with the union to allow prevention staff to work flexible hours when meeting service needs demands it; redeploying apparatus and staff to eliminate geographic coverage overlaps; taking a number of steps to strengthen the commitment to firefighter fitness and safety; considering shared or regional service delivery for nine functions; and taking a number of steps to build on existing efforts to strengthen training.
Berkshire Advisors completed a study of the West Palm Beach Fire Rescue Department. One of the primary objectives of this study was to help the department address its challenges to reconfigure service delivery while maintaining its high level of service at a much lower cost. A range of qualitative and quantitative analytic methods was used including interviews, briefings, and focus groups with city managers and department employees; community drop-in sessions; online employee surveys for both sworn and civilian staff; and review and analysis of operational, organizational, and financial documents. Linear programming and queuing analysis was conducted to determine how firefighters should be deployed and scheduled across shifts. In addition, benchmarking information was collected from eight jurisdictions.
The consultants recommended more efficient shift schedules for firefighters and fire inspectors; revising the organizational structure to streamline operations and realign management roles and responsibilities; strengthening information systems to eliminate redundant systems; reconfiguring apparatus deployment and staffing; modifying EMS billing procedures; and adjusting incentive pay. In addition, the consultants identified functions for potential privatization, shared, or regional service delivery.
Services provided: Berkshire Advisors completed a comprehensive review of the Newport, Rhode Island fire department. The study included examination and evaluation of the delivery of current and future services, analysis of all aspects of the department’s organization, management, and operations, and a review of its fiscal performance. Mapping analysis was used to determine optimal locations for the city’s fire stations. A civilization analysis was performed to assess which positions sworn staff should fill and which positions civilians should fill. Linear programming and queuing analysis was conducted to determine how firefighters should be deployed and scheduled across shifts.
Study outcomes: To help ensure greater accountability, recommendations included establishing concise goals and objectives, clearly articulating expectations, and implementing mechanisms to monitor performance of individuals and of squads. Restructuring the daily shift schedule was recommended to allow sufficient time for training and pre-fire planning. Other recommendations included fire station relocation to make more effective use of the department’s emergency response resources; promoting greater collaboration between department managers; and establishing a structured, systematic approach to training.
Berkshire Advisors performed a management review of the Thornton Fire Department. This study addressed a number of issues including the number of fire stations needed, fire station location, apparatus needs, staffing requirements, organizational structure, deployment of emergency medical services resources and dispatch requirements.
Services provided: Berkshire Advisors completed a review of the Ocala fire rescue department. Interviews and focus groups were held with city officials, representatives of labor organizations, department employees, leaders of city departments that provide support services, and representatives of community and business organizations, housing, and social service agencies. The study included examination and evaluation of the delivery of current and future services, and an analysis of all aspects of the department’s organization, management, and operations. Mapping analysis was used to determine response times and optimal locations for the city’s fire stations. A civilization analysis was performed, linear programming and queuing analysis was conducted to determine how firefighters should be deployed and scheduled across shifts, and detailed analysis was also completed to determine what types of inspections could be performed by in-service crews.
Study outcomes: Recommendations included developing a comprehensive approach to ensure consistent management and operational approaches across shifts and stations; establishing a conclave to determine how the city and county can provide a better coordinated response to calls; adjusting the types of calls to which the department responds; requiring firefighters to meet minimum fitness requirements; and making an investment to develop and implement a range of recruiting strategies to help ensure a diverse workforce.
Study objectives of the review of the Philadelphia Fire Department included establishing a baseline of the department’s current performance from which to measure future performance; making recommendations for increasing organizational efficiency and effectiveness that are consistent with applicable state, local, and federal standards; and developing mechanisms and strategies to facilitate the necessary change within the department to bring about greater efficiency (including specifying how the recommendations are to be implemented). The study included assessment of the department’s communications center. Study recommendations included modifying the organizational structure to eliminate barriers to improving department performance and establishing or increasing quality assurance capacity for dispatch operations.
Berkshire Advisors conducted a review of patrol staffing and deployment study of the Colorado Springs Police Department, that includes an evaluation of the department’s communications center that supports police and fire dispatch. Project deliverables include a plan to most efficiently and cost effectively deploy resources, evaluation of shift schedules, and evaluation of dispatch approaches.
The purpose of the study of the Boynton Beach Police Department was to provide a concise report outlining the department’s current operations and how it relates to the mission, goals, and core values of the city, as well as the needs of the local communities. The study includes an evaluation of the department’s communications center that supports police and fire operations.
Berkshire Advisors completed a management and manpower analysis study of the Oklahoma City Police Department, focusing on operational efficiency and effectiveness, and staffing needs. This study included a review of the department’s E911 emergency communications center. Queuing analysis was used to determine the number of telecommunicators needed by hour of the day and day of the week and linear programming was used to determine the most efficient schedule. E911 communications center recommendations included scheduling and staffing adjustments to strengthen operations and monitoring.
Berkshire Advisors conducted an innovation and efficiency study of the Phoenix Police Department. The primary purpose of this review was to support the department’s effort to adjust to its new fiscal and service reality demands. Study objectives included establishing a baseline of the department’s current performance from which to measure the impact of proposed changes and making recommendations for increasing organizational effectiveness and efficiency. The consultants worked closely with a steering committee that included department, city, and community stakeholders that provided feedback on the study process and perspective on key policy issues that affect the study recommendations. One of the study’s primary recommendations was for the department to defer its plan to split communications and dispatch into two sites. The consultants advised that dividing operations between the two sites would increase supervisory costs and limit flexibility in moving staff between call-taking and dispatch responsibilities during periods of peak activity.
The management study of the Independence Police Department focused on strengthening operational efficiency, improving effectiveness, and assessing baseline staffing needs. This included a review of the city’s emergency communications center that serves the city’s police, fire and EMS departments. Queuing analysis was used to determine the number of telecommunications operators needed by time of day and day of the week and linear programming was used to determine the best schedule. Recommendations included adjusting staffing in the emergency communications center to better reflect actual workload.
The key objectives of this study were to develop recommendations to improve the fire department’s organizational effectiveness and efficiency, provide information that will help managers become more effective leaders, develop strategies to facilitate department-wide changes, and establish a baseline from which to measure future performance. The study included a review of the city’s 911/311 call-taking center and a review of fire dispatch operations. Key recommendations included revising the organizational structure in an effort to foster a more integrated and collaborative environment, decrease duplication of activities, and to streamline overall operations; establishing a tiered approach to responding to medical emergency calls-for-service; separating 311, water customer service, and city dispatch services from 911 call taking services; for the police department to assume responsibility for managing call-taking operations; and establishing a technology specialist position to support technology maintenance and development.
The objectives of the review of the Ocala Police Department were to assess staffing needs; examine and evaluate the delivery of services; identify potential redundancies or service duplications; analyze organizational structure; identify opportunities to consolidate operations; evaluate how well the department complies with the mandates set for it; assess the operational efficiency of the department; and assess how expected changes in the city may affect future needs. One of the primary recommendations of this study was for the city to work with the county and other municipalities within the county to establish an independent 911/emergency communications authority to oversee a consolidated 911/emergency communications center. A systematic framework was used to identify services that might be provided most cost effectively on a shared or regional service delivery basis and linear programming and queuing analysis were used to determine how communications staff should be deployed and scheduled on each shift.
The study of the Newport Police Department consisted of fiscal performance analysis including liabilities and expenditures; assessment of the organizational structure of each division; examination and evaluation of the delivery of services; and assessment of department management activities. This study included a review of the city’s emergency communications center. Interviews and focus groups were held with the mayor, city manager, members of the city council, leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police, department employees, and representatives of community and business organizations, housing, and social service agencies. Linear programming and queuing analysis was used to determine how emergency communication staff should be deployed and scheduled on each shift. Recommendations included providing intensive training for managerial and supervisory staff to increase their leadership and management skills and restructuring staff assignments and position titles in the emergency communications center to provide for increased supervision and training on each shift.
The study of the Kansas City Police Department focused on five areas: accountability, management systems and processes, people development and management, planning and using information to inform decision making, and resource allocation. This study included a review of the city’s emergency communications center that, in addition to serving the city of Kansas City, also serves several neighboring communities. Recommendations included increasing communications center staffing to ensure citizens receive a high level of service, reducing the time required to fill vacant positions, and modifying scheduling practices so that the number of call-takers and dispatchers working varies with workload.
Berkshire Advisors completed a study of the Memphis police and fire departments. The objectives of the study were to review organizational structure; deployment and scheduling; and review communications and dispatch operations. Communications center recommendations included employing sufficient call-takers to ensure that when a resident calls 911 there is an extremely high probability that a communications employee will be available to handle the call and employing sufficient dispatchers to ensure that one is available to immediately dispatch an officer to a call, maintain radio communications with all officers in the field, and cover NCIC records responsibilities.
Working with an executive committee, which included the mayor, city manager, and human resources director, and an internal steering committee, which included managerial and supervisory staff, Berkshire Advisors evaluated the Ardmore Police Department’s management, organization, operational efficiency and effectiveness, and staffing needs. This study included a review of the city’s public safety dispatch center that serves the city’s police and fire departments, the regional EMS provider, and six neighboring towns. Queuing analysis spreadsheets were used to determine the number of call takers and dispatchers needed by hour of the day and day of the week and a dynamic staffing model was developed that department managers can use to ascertain future staffing requirements. Key recommendations included establishing the public safety communications center as its own city department rather than a unit within the police department and developing a comprehensive recruitment plan to address vacancy issues.
Berkshire Advisors consultants performed a comprehensive management study of the public works and parks and recreation departments of the City of Atlanta. For the parks and recreation department, the consultants developed a framework for evaluating what parks and recreation services the city should provide, what the city’s role in providing those services should be, and where services should be provided. The consultants then used this framework to evaluate the utilization of existing facilities and to develop recommendations to redesign the existing network of recreation centers and pools. In addition, recommendations for modifying the department’s role in providing selected services and for improving coordination of its activities with not-for-profit providers of recreation services were developed.
To support these management recommendations, the consultants surveyed a representative sample of Atlanta residents to gauge their satisfaction with public works and parks and recreation department services and to identify areas where improvement efforts should be focused.
Berkshire Advisors consultants completed a management study of the parks and recreation department of North York, Ontario, a municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. Because departmental services evolved piecemeal, planning had been directed at specific programs rather than systematically. A clearly articulated departmental mission statement was recommended, as was a conceptual framework for guiding systematic thinking about programs and facilities. The framework proposed by the consultants provides a way for the department to define its role in offering specific recreational services. In addition, the consultants developed a formula for determining the subsidy level the department should provide for each service. Because the department's organization segmented operations and centralized decision making, the consultants recommended a structure based on districts rather than functions. To support the management recommendations, a survey of North York residents was performed. Over 400 surveys (a 23.5 percent response rate) were analyzed.
Berkshire Advisors consultants performed a comprehensive management study of the public works and parks and recreation departments of the City of Atlanta. As part of this engagement, the consultants made a number of recommendations to make more effective use of technology to improve the performance of a number of public works divisions. In addition, recommendations were developed to acquire labor saving equipment, to reduce crew sizes for a number of maintenance functions, and to redeploy resources to focus on areas such as lot cleaning, where adequate services were not being provided.
To support these management recommendations, the consultants surveyed a representative sample of Atlanta residents to gauge their satisfaction with public works and parks and recreation department services and to identify areas where improvement efforts should be focused.
Berkshire Advisors consultants performed a management review of the City of Baltimore Public Works Department that focused primarily on the bureau of solid waste and the building maintenance division. A range of management issues were addressed including the appropriateness of the organizational structure, the extent to which work crews were appropriately sized, the need for management information, managerial and worker training requirements, and how the department could make more effective use of technology to improve operations.
Berkshire Advisors consultants performed a comprehensive review of the City of Stockton police, fire, and public works departments and also conducted reconnaissance level reviews of all other city departments. In the study of public works activities, the consultants recommended ways to reduce the number of employees and vehicles required to collect refuse. In addition, he consultants recommended that the department purchase street sweeping equipment that will enable it to make more effective use of personnel. A task system was also proposed to improve productivity of some department workers. The city council voted to accept the study recommendations and the city manager is currently implementing them.
Berkshire Advisors consultants studied eight major government departments (fire, police, municipal courts, public utilities, public works, capital projects, planning and development, and health and human services) in Houston, Texas, the country's fourth largest city. The public works department was found to be well managed, but opportunities were identified for further service improvements and cost reduction, particularly through changes in scheduling and staffing. Recommendations were made to improve planning, analysis and investment in a number of areas as well as to achieve economies of scale from the recent consolidation of units.
Berkshire Advisors performed a management review of three Cayuga County departments: the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Health and Human Service, and the Highways Department (including fleet maintenance). In each department substantial opportunities to reduce costs and/or improve the quality of services provided to County residents were identified. In several cases, fundamental modifications in the County’s approach to serving residents were recommended. For the most part, however, the opportunities to improve performance resulted from ensuring workers had the technology and tools they need to be effective, modifying organizational structure to ensure the structure facilitates efforts to serve County citizens, ensuring workload and staffing levels are calibrated, and by modifying scheduling and deployment practices.
Berkshire Advisors consultants completed a strategy conclave for the Queens Borough Public Library of New York. At the time of the conclave, the library was facing significant challenge, not the least of which was the need to achieve greater senior management commitment and consensus on which challenges needed to be addressed in the short term. The consultants worked with the senior management team to assess the library’s organizational capabilities, to identify priorities for change, and to develop preliminary plans to address those priorities.
Berkshire Advisors completed a management review of the Houston Public Library. In addition to identifying ways to improve the library’s organization and operations, the consultants developed a staffing model that could be used to ensure a consistent approach to staffing in each of the library’s 35 branches and to determine the staffing implications of changes in workload and service expectations.
Berkshire Advisors consultants reviewed the management, organization, and operations of the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, library system. The governance structure was examined and recommen¬dations were made to improve coordination among system managers, county officials, and the library board. Proposals were made to modify the organizational structure as a means to improve accountability, and to alter staffing arrangements to ensure that the system made effective use of its most skilled staff. In addition, Berkshire Advisors consultants recommended improvements in the library system's performance evaluation system.
Berkshire Advisors conducted several projects for the Detroit Public Schools.
Efficiency and Effectiveness Study. Berkshire Advisors completed a comprehensive management review of the entire school district. The primary objectives of this study were to evaluate the district’s organization, management, and operations to identify opportunities to streamline operations and to redirect resources; to work with district leadership to determine how DPS should be organized and managed to achieve district goals; to identify and develop specific recommendations to address priority issues to ensure the fiscal and operational integrity of the school system; and to create a baseline of the district’s current performance against which the success of district improvement initiatives can be gauged.
DPS leaders accepted all study recommendations. The study recommendations were also extremely well received by most stakeholders in the Detroit community. According to an editorial in the Detroit News – “[the study plan presents] a strategy to shake the school system to its roots in the interest of efficiency and better education. Beyond the details, the new plan is a needed philosophical jump start.”
Special Education and Student Support Services. Based on the critical compliance and service issues identified in the efficiency and effectiveness study Berkshire Advisors consultants were requested to assist Detroit Public Schools with restructuring of special education and student support services. We assisted the district in developing an organizational and management structure to support the growing percentage of special education and high-risk students as the district’s overall student enrollment was growing.
Quality Improvement Initiatives. Berkshire Advisors consultants managed the district’s implementation of their Malcolm Baldrige Approach for School Improvement and Performance Excellence. This project included managing grant implementation and facilitating quality improvement teams across all divisions of district operations. The most critical component of this project was the development of a comprehensive school improvement process that integrated the requirements of No Child Left Behind, Michigan’s Education YES, and Baldrige continuous improvement principles.
Deficit Elimination And Transition Planning. Similar to many school districts across the country, Detroit Public School has been faced with severe financial challenges, declining enrollment and increasing costs. Additionally in January 2006 the district transitioned from a CEO and appointed school board form of governance to a superintendent and elected school board form of governance. Berkshire Advisors’ consultants assisted the district with development and implementation of a comprehensive transition planning process and development of their deficit elimination plan.
The primary objectives of this performance audit were to identify opportunities for shared services between the department and the town, ensure the department’s efficient and effective use of resources, evaluate community outreach efforts, and review and evaluate the school department’s budget and financial processes, performance, management, and operations. Benchmarking comparisons with eight other school departments in the state were made; all policies, procedures, and established standards were reviewed, and a cost and benefit analysis between regional delivery and local delivery models was conducted. Recommendations were made for renegotiating a number of provisions of the NEA contract; revising policies relating to student discipline and training all administrators and staff on how to consistently implement the revised code of conduct; reviewing and adjusting the middle school co-teaching model to reflect student needs; strengthening the middle school special education program and services to gifted and talented elementary and middle school students; crafting a professional development program that is tailored to the needs of individual schools; increasing funding for instructional materials and supplies to ensure each school has sufficient resources to implement their curriculum; and redeploying instructional support positions to provide broader support and assist in articulating the curriculum across grade levels.
Berkshire Advisors conducted a comprehensive study of the Miami-Dade County Public School District utilizing Florida's OPPAGA Best Practice Standards established by the state to monitor both the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of its public school districts. This review evaluated the district's performance in meeting benchmarks established in 13 operational areas, including management structure, performance accountability, educational service delivery, human resources, food services, safety and security, maintenance, construction, facilities construction, use of lottery proceeds, cost controls, and transportation. An analysis of opportunities for cost-savings in each of these areas was performed as part of this study. In addition to individual interviews and in-depth analysis of district's policies, procedures, audits, data documentation and other relevant materials, this study included visits to schools and district operation sites, and public forums that were conducted in locations throughout the county.
Berkshire Advisors conducted a comprehensive study of the Sarasota County Public School District utilizing Florida’s OPPAGA Best Practice Standards established to monitor the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the state’s public school districts. The review evaluated the district’s performance in meeting benchmarks established in ten operational areas: management structure, performance accountability, educational service delivery, human resources, food services, maintenance, facilities construction, cost controls, administrative and instructional technology, and transportation. An analysis of opportunities for cost-savings in each of these areas was also performed. In addition to individual interviews and in-depth analysis of the district’s policies, procedures, audits, data documentation and other relevant materials, visits to schools and district operation sites occurred and public forums were held in locations throughout the county.
Berkshire Advisors completed a comprehensive management review and program audit of the Newport, Rhode Island Public Schools for the Newport City Council. The primary objectives of this study were to review and evaluate the school department’s budget and financial processes, performance, management, and operations. This review also evaluated shared services alternatives between the City of Newport and the Newport Public Schools and recommended areas where shared services could provide more effective and efficient services to both the school department and the city. This study provided detailed recommendations for increasing the organizational efficiency and effectiveness in the areas of educational services, non-instructional operations, and facilities. In conducting this study, in addition to individual interviews and in-depth analysis of department’s policies, procedures, audits, data documentation and other relevant materials, visits to all schools sites occurred, a public forum was held, and a comprehensive survey was distributed to all department employees.
Berkshire Advisors conducted a comprehensive study of the Volusia County Public School District utilizing Florida’s OPPAGA Best Practice Standards established by the state to monitor both the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the state’s public school districts. This review evaluated the district’s performance in meeting benchmarks established in ten operational areas: management structure, performance accountability, educational service delivery, human resources, food services, maintenance, facilities construction, cost controls, administrative and instructional technology, and transportation. An analysis of opportunities for cost-savings in each of these areas was performed as part of this study. In conducting this study, in addition to individual interviews and in-depth analysis of district’s policies, procedures, audits, data documentation and other relevant materials, visits to schools and district operation sites occurred and public forums were held.
Berkshire Advisors performed a management review of the central office of the Lawrence Public Schools. In addition to evaluating the organization, management and operations of curriculum and instruction related activities the consultants also identified ways to improve business and support operations. The business and support functions evaluated included: finance, personnel, grounds maintenance, facilities maintenance, food services, security services, and custodial services.
Berkshire Advisors completed a comprehensive management review for District 11. This study assessed the district’s organizational structure, developed recommendations to improve operational effectiveness, and identified steps the district could take to implement school-based management philosophies. The study also focused on ways to effectively integrate technology into the district’s management approaches.
Our comprehensive review of the Dayton Public Schools was praised by the Dayton Daily News as a "blueprint for the future". The study focused on three key issues: overall district management, revenue and expenditure trends, and performance monitoring. The consultants also assessed the effectiveness of the district's school principals. The study was prompted by concerns over district spending patterns, and the need to develop broad-based support for long-term financial plans.
Recommendations included a new management approach featuring greater autonomy for successful schools, new management approaches that more closely link performance and cost, and an easing of certain contractual restrictions that limit the system's educational effectiveness and efficiency. Recommendations were also made to restructure the superintendent's cabinet to provide greater support in such critical areas as operations management and outreach to social service providers. Altogether, some $12.6 million in annual savings were identified, offset by some $3 million in recommended new investments.
The consultants reported to the Dayton Business Committee, a group of chief executive officers of Dayton's largest companies, but also worked closely with the superintendent and the school board and interacted with the community. Upon public presentation of the results, the superintendent, board, business community, and press all voiced general support for the recommendations. Dayton’s voters subsequently approved a new spending plan. Berkshire Advisors provided ongoing implementation assistance throughout 1994.
Berkshire Advisors consultants worked with the District of Columbia Public Schools to define the district's management vision, to develop an overall management framework to guide district operations and to develop an allocation model to systematically project staffing that will be required once the framework is in place. We provided the district with an outline of how it should be organized, managed and operated, focusing on functions and activities that most directly affect the quality of education district students receive. The model provided a comprehensive picture of the staffing resources that were needed to meet the educational needs of the students and how those resources should be allocated among schools and central office units. The work was performed under the sponsorship of the Federal City Council, a group of local business leaders.
Berkshire Advisors consultants’ in-depth assessment of the Seattle Public Schools was described by a leading member of the State House of Representatives as the most comprehensive, unbiased study of the school district ever conducted. It was conducted under the auspices of the State Legislators, with additional oversight by local business and community leaders.
Among the major findings was that the school board and superintendent failed to provide strong, consistent leadership. Although spending on the part of the district was not found to be excessive, costs had not been reduced with the decline in enrollment, and as a result the district's fund balance was approaching virtual depletion. Student performance was characterized by disproportionality, with white students scoring significantly higher than minorities on achievement tests. Community perceptions of the schools were mixed overall, but among the major areas of dissatisfaction was district management of the desegregation plan.
The absence of a long-range vision to guide district operations was found to be a causal or contributing factor in these areas. The consultants therefore recommended that the school board be restructured, with a new organization that would ensure greater strength in strategic planning, external relations, school-based management, program evaluation, staff development, and instructional support.
Opportunities for improving effectiveness and efficiency were also identified, particularly in the degree of focus of instructional improvement programs, in facilities utilization, and in staff evaluation and discipline. In other areas, the high level number of Seattle students who were disadvantaged suggested the need for additional funding.
The report was praised by a number of school and community leaders, among them the superintendent, who called the findings sound, and the co-president of the Parent Education League. In an editorial, The Seattle Times called the study the "first step toward a new vision for Seattle schools."
Berkshire Advisors consultants conducted a comprehensive review of the administration of the Baltimore City Public Schools. The study addressed changes that could be made in the organization, management and processes of the central administration that would have the most positive impact on learning in the schools. Central management processes - including decision-making, communication, planning, accountability, staff development and budgeting - were examined.
In addition, issues relating to the efficiency and effectiveness of central office operations were assessed. The study also examined the district's organization structure, and several key operations, including human resources, curriculum and instruction, facilities management, finance, information systems, food services and purchasing. We evaluated the effectiveness with which work performed corresponds with system priorities; identified obsolete, duplicate or ineffective functions; and assessed resource needs.
The project was funded primarily by local foundations and the study team reported to a task force of community leaders brought together by the Associated Black Charities of Baltimore. The team also worked closely with the superintendent, the school board, and members of the city council. Upon its completion, the president of the school board was quoted in the local newspaper saying that the report "goes way beyond moving boxes and organizational charts around, and gets to the heart of the matter, which is the classroom." The Baltimore Sun attested to the success of the study by endorsing implementation of the recommendations.