Feb 26, 2008

Troutdale Building Dept. Review And Recommendations

Tonight's Troutdale City Council work session will focus on the results and recommendations of a consultant's evaluation report of Troutdale's building division.

The evaluation, completed by Collins Consulting Services and delivered to city staff in December, was requested by the city to improve efficiencies and customer service.

Here are some highlights from the consultant's report:
". . it became evident that there are disagreements between Troutdale, Fairview, and Wood Village about the type and level of service provided by the Division and the fact there are unresolved concerns."

"Although all employees of the division desire to meet or exceed customer expectations, existing processes and technological limitations sometimes prevent them from doing so."

"Lack of adequate resources seems to be the leading factor behind the inability to effectively serve both internal and external customers. Needed resources include: adequate staffing, technological improvements and providing various types of training for employees."

"In question is the use of contract revenues from Fairview and Wood Village to support other Troutdale General Fund Programs. Although the City's legal counsel indicates contract revenues are not subject to the requirement in ORS 455.210(3)(c) for maintaining dedicated funds for the building inspection program, choosing not to do so is an underlying cause for almost all program shortcomings."

"The lack of documented policies and procedures often results in confusion, mistakes, communication breakdowns and recurring problems. The manner of doing business can change with each employee and may result in inconsistent treatment of customers or failure to apply conditions of approval."

". . .the current computerized permit tracking system is entirely inadequate to meet the needs of the Division, its contract providers, other City departments, the Cities of Fairview and Wood Village and your customers. The system was not adequate when purchased and has not been appropriately maintained, expanded and used due to the lack of training provided to staff. The Black Bear system will soon no longer be supported by its vendor and needs to be replaced."

"Findings of this evaluation are consistent with the recent employee survey administered on behalf of the City. Employees enjoy working for Troutdale but are not happy with many aspects of the Division, the Department, and overall City administration some of which are reflected in this report. Employees want to see more proactive management where problems and conflicts are solved before they affect customers and staff. They want to be heard and have ideas addressed. They would like Council, the Mayor, City Administrator and the Community Development Director to understand and support the Division and its legal obligations to administer state building codes. Positive changes and commitment from managers and elected officials to follow through on these and other issues will help improve morale."

As you may have read on this blog, the cities of Fairview and Wood Village notified the city of Troutdale last month that they will end their respective contracts for building inspection services with Troutdale effective June 30, 2008, the end of the current fiscal year. City staffers have advised this will result in the loss of approximately $230,000 ($152,000 Fairview and $78,000 Wood Village) from Troutdale's FY 2008-09 budget.

I'm looking forward to an open and positive discussion at tonight's work session.

1 comment:

k.r. Bents said...

As to the 'secret deal' please tell me (1) that this eggregious scheme doesn't smack of double jeopardy for Troutdale taxpayers and (2) that it was not hatched in retribution by rojo de Steffey and Cogan.