Washtenaw County to save $326,000 by restructuring job duties
Washtenaw County is expecting to save approximately $326,000 in the coming year by restructuring personnel in several offices.
The savings will be achieved by eliminating multiple positions and redistributing those responsibilities throughout the departments. Those who will take on additional duties will receive a pay increase.
Employees affected by the changes will see a 4-percent pay raise, which will apply to both union and non-union employees.
The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners Ways and Means Committee will vote on the changes on Wednesday night.
Commissioner Conan Smith said restructuring is a common way for the county to save money.
Anytime a position is reclassified, it's standard policy that the employee receives a step up in their pay grade and a step back in seniority, Smith said. That has led to some confusion that the county is simply giving employees raises.
While some are receiving pay increases, they are taking on more responsibility and the county saves money overall, Smith said.
Aside from its impact on the county’s bottom line, Smith said creating a “cross lateral team” to work together on related responsibilities also promotes creativity and efficiency.
For example, the administrator’s office has been working without a deputy administrator and that position will be eliminated. The deputy administrator’s responsibilities will be distributed among the finance director, human resources director, legal counsel and infrastructure management director.
“We’ve been seeing many institutions switch to a lateral structure instead of hierarchical structure,” Smith said. “We have four people who are collaboratively responsible for similar work, and research finds, and our own experience finds, that it creates a kind of dynamic environment where you get better ideas and people are more creative.”
The county will also restructure personnel in the finance and facilities management/information technology departments.
The county started working last year to eliminate a $17.5 million structural deficit.