Daly City’s Library and Recreation Departments merged on July 1, 2011. The department is called Library and Recreation Services. The Parks Division joined the Public Works Department prior to the merger. Consolidation of City departments is becoming more common as California’s local governments seek operational efficiency improvements to cut costs. As the nation continues to suffer through fiscal challenges, cities are seeking innovative approaches to preserve locally delivered programs and services.
In the fall of 2009, Daly City hosted community engagement workshops to give residents an opportunity to provide the City with cost-saving ideas to address ever-widening budget shortfalls. One recurring suggestion was the reduction of executive-level management positions. The merger of the Library and Recreation departments allows the City to utilize one executive position instead of three, thereby eliminating two management positions.
In addition to reducing duplication in administration, staff at all levels of the new organization will be working much more collaboratively. Opportunities are being identified across the divisions (Library, Recreation, and Senior/Neighborhood Services) to identify better ways to serve the public with the resources currently available. One example of improved service includes better access to recreation facilities and classes through coordination by staff at library facilities. Another example is sharing of expertise from one division to another, such as children’s programming.
Prior to the merger of the Library and Recreation Departments, the City’s Parks Maintenance Division was seamlessly transferred to the Public Works Department because at its core, it is a division that performs maintenance functions. Daly City’s Public Works Department already encompassed Building Maintenance, Streets Maintenance, and Vehicle Maintenance. Now all four divisions operate out of the same facility and are under the same functional department. The Parks Division will continue to perform the same maintenance functions as it has for many, many years.
Cities across California are undergoing major changes – mainly driven by diminishing resources and increasing costs of providing traditional local government services.
While no other major changes have been identified in Daly City, every service and function the City provides and performs will be reviewed for opportunities to improve effectiveness and efficiency.