How Naperville could combine some city, library, museum functions
If Naperville City Council members are looking for easy ways to streamline internal services and cut costs, Mayor Steve Chirico says a new report out this week is not the place to find them.
But while it doesn't have easy answers, Chirico said the report is a worthwhile starting point because it identifies potential service consolidations among the city government and two organizations under its auspices -- the Naperville Public Library and the Naper Settlement museum.
"It does sound like we have some opportunities for some efficiencies," he said.
Chirico announced during his third State of the City address in March that the city would initiate a review of employee functions that might be redundant among the three organizations as a way to boost "collaboration, consolidation and efficiency."
"What the council wants to see is, are there duplicate positions out there that we can consolidate?" he said Friday.
The review began in April and resulted in a report released Thursday, compiled by city employees Linda LaCloche in communications and Jennifer Louden in transportation, engineering and development.
The report outlines how services are performed and how they could be done differently in human resources, legal services, finance and procurement, information technology, communications and marketing, buildings and grounds, and fleet maintenance.
The report didn't identify any consolidation opportunities in fleet maintenance and found only one in legal services, but it listed several suggestions in the other five areas.
Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, president and CEO of Naper Settlement, said it would be premature to discuss implications on museum operations because officials from the three agencies have not met since the report was released.
"At this time, the report establishes the current realities about shared services in the various areas of focus, and how Naper Settlement currently coordinates many of its services with the city," she said.
Naperville Public Library Executive Director Julie Rothenfluh was out of the office Friday and could not be reached.
The report did not overtly suggest any positions to cut or combine, but Chirico said he expects City Manager Doug Krieger will take a "deep dive" into that as the city prepares to begin its 2019 budget preparation next month.
Krieger said the report offers a "baseline" from which to review internal operations of the city, library and historical museum.
"Over time, operations change," Krieger said. "And I think the report provided a great opportunity to take a fresh look at what we do and see if that is what makes sense for the community."
Among the ideas listed as "opportunities to explore" are to:
• Create consistent budgeting methodologies.
• Develop standard procurement procedures and coordinate purchases.
• Use city fiber to connect library buildings and share internet with the library.
• Use Settlement or library assistance in graphic design for the city.
• Enter into shared contracts for landscaping, janitorial services and winter operations.
• Seek to extend the library's "education pricing" on technology for the Settlement.
• Allow the Settlement and library to use a city system for job applicant tracking without manual data entry.
• Consolidate city volunteers into a group of Settlement or library volunteers.
Chirico said he was a bit surprised the city, library and Settlement are not already collaborating on things such as landscaping and janitorial contracts. But those could offer one opportunity for savings, Krieger said.
Although the process has taken four months and is just beginning, Chirico said the exploration of consolidation is worth the trouble.
"Once you talk it through and set aside concerns and focus on where can we work together and help each other, then you start to become more innovative," he said. "I'm hopeful we can find some opportunities to work together so we can take advantage of some of the resources that we already have."