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January 20, 2012

Effort Increases Efficiency, Reduces Costs and Retains Major Programs

The Southwest Florida Water Management District this week completed its organizational restructuring which is expected to reduce District expenses by more than $15 million a year. The reorganization increases efficiencies, reduces operational costs and meets the District’s core mission responsibilities in the areas of water supply, flood protection, water quality and natural systems.

“We are funded with taxpayer dollars,” said Executive Director Blake Guillory. “Especially during difficult economic times, we must use sound business principles to provide maximum value to the taxpayers of our District.”

Guillory and his executive leadership team reviewed each division and program to identify opportunities to improve processes and combine programs for efficiency and effectiveness.

“We were able to accomplish our goals while still retaining all of our major programs,” Guillory said.

Many of the organizational changes were driven by a workload and staff analysis conducted by an independent consulting firm. This report identified the potential to increase the District’s efficiency and reduce costs by restructuring the organization and improving its technology, processes and procedures.

Part of the changes includes realigning staff based on the types of work they do to increase efficiency and reduce duplication. For example, the creation of the Operations, Maintenance & Construction Division pulled together all the field operations, maintenance and construction of the District under one Division. Under that Division, the Land Resources and Operations bureaus were combined, and a Data Collection Bureau was created to consolidate all data collection efforts.

Significant savings will also result from the reorganization of the Regulation Division. Permitting review processes will be centralized in the District’s Tampa office to ensure that permit applicants throughout the District are treated consistently. Grouping staff by programs in a central location will increase efficiencies, eliminate duplication of services and reduce costs.

The District will continue to maintain a local presence in the existing service offices to maintain quality customer service and to ensure that the public has convenient access to District staff. Also, online permitting services are being enhanced and improved to make it easier and more convenient to submit permit applications and access permit data.

“The District is committed to provide quality service in a timely, convenient and consistent manner to our customers while continuing to protect our precious water resources,” Guillory said.

Reduction in Force
As part of the reorganization efforts, the District staff is being reduced by 148 people, most of whom agreed to voluntary separation plans. The remaining reductions include primarily temporary, contractual and student staff. The District will continue to employ 615 by Oct. 1, 2012.

“Despite the reductions in force, we still have a large, talented pool of employees remaining at the District. I am confident that we can continue to protect the water resources of our region and meet the needs of our citizens.”

Moving Forward
Thanks to its pay-as-you-go philosophy, the District has reserves available to help balance the budget. However, projecting limited growth in our area and slightly declining property values for 2013, the District will continue to look for savings.

“Just as every business and family has done, we too will be taking a closer look at everything we do, and finding ways to create efficiencies or streamline our operations,” said Guillory.

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