I just heard from a friend of mine that the City of Chicago has just layed off many planners (she said 100....) in a restructuring of the department. Is there anyone on the boards that works for the City of Chicago? Just wanted to sent my positive thoughts your way.....
Daley Announces Consolidation of City Departments to Deliver Services
Steps Will Also provide $5 Million in Annual Savings
Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced the consolidation of several city departments that will make delivery of services more efficient and accessible for residents and businesses and save tax dollars
"We have always put the better management of government first before turning to taxpayers for more," Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
"Since I’ve been Mayor we’ve cut over two and a half billion dollars through management improvements. Each year we’ve announced new improvements to protect our taxpayers. But the steady slowdown of the nation’s economy – into a recession -- is affecting every family, every business and every level of government and its impact is spreading worldwide," he said.
"For months I’ve warned that we’re facing a national economic crisis and that Chicago’s economy was getting worse," Daley added.
For Chicago and other cities, the situation has meant slower and lower revenues, even as the demand for services continues, he said.
Early this year, to get ahead of the nation’s worsening economy the city announced a series of budget cuts and management improvements to help the Chicago withstand the country’s deepening recession.
Those steps included:
An immediate hiring freeze across all departments;
A 3 percent across-the-board spending cut on all 2008 non-personnel costs, excluding those critical to public safety and contractually-obligated expenses;
Suspension of all overtime not needed for safety and security;
Renegotiation of price, terms and scope of some vendor contracts; and
Suspension of all non-critical out-of-town travel
In July, Daley announced another round of budget reductions including furlough days for non-union employees, the elimination of the non-union employee wage increases scheduled for July 1, 2007 and January 1, 2008 and a voluntary severance program for eligible City employees.
"These actions combined to save about $30 million, but obviously there is much more we need to do," the Mayor said.
Daley has also said that City of Chicago property taxes will not be raised next year.
"Throughout this tough economy, I have challenged my staff to continue to find ways to manage government more efficiently – particularly to protect our working families and those who are most in need."
"Today, I am announcing that in our 2009 budget, we will consolidate several city departments – largely in the areas of human services, economic development and business affairs -- to help accomplish that," he said.
Specifically, the city will:
Merge the Departments of Human Services, Children and Youth Services, Senior Services, the individual training part of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Plan to End Homelessness section of Housing into a new Department of Family and Support Services.
"Today, if a family needs different kinds of help, they frequently have to go to a number of different departments and locations. By consolidating these services, we hope to provide one place where families can learn about and apply for all the assistance for which they qualify," Daley said.
Merge the Zoning Department, the land use section of Planning and the property screening function of the Environment Department into a new Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning, which will develop and implement the City’s land use plans and policies that protect the character, harmony and stability of residential and business communities.
Merge a major portion of Planning, most of Housing and the business side of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development into a new Department of Community Development.
This move consolidates the City’s economic, housing and community development functions, providing for a centralized process for city developments – whether affordable housing, retail, or a combination.
It also aligns workforce with project development to improve the supply chain of trained workers to new or expanding businesses.
Combine the Departments of Business Affairs and Licensing and Consumer Services into a new Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to provide streamlined services for businesses – from licensing to inspections to protection from unfair practices.
"Our goal is to streamline the system, avoid duplication, reduce our costs -- particularly in the areas of overhead and administration -- and support our residents with high-quality services," he said.
The consolidation will reduce the city’s headcount by almost 240 positions, 103 of which are on the corporate fund, and reduce annual corporate fund costs by about $5 million.
"We will begin implementing the consolidations with budget approval and we expect the new departments to be up and running by January 1st," Daley said.
"During these challenging times, we all need to work together to provide the services our people need, but in a way that our taxpayers can afford. This is not a short-term problem. Looking to the future, every city needs to be concerned about the effects of our nation’s deteriorating economy," the Mayor said.