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Posted on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Washtenaw County to save $326,000 by restructuring job duties

By Tom Perkins

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.


Sandy Castle

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

ALL NON-UNION COUNTY EMPLOYEES are receiving up to 4% raises,unless they are topped out in their payscale. The unions negotiated paycuts worth 8 MILLION DOLLARS, in good faith that the county was in dire straits. There are MANY county employees doing more with less, yet the county has deemed that some deserve more money, and have taken it from other employees to give it to them. How does this address our budget shortfalls? Not in a positive way, that's for sure. We need to vote out these county commissioners who have no regard for our money!


Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Where is the outrage A2? I have more seen more outrage over public art and fences in historic districts than the fact that County employees are being given raises (you can call them what you want but they are salary increases) when the County has an almost $18M deficit. Really????

Dog Guy

Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

Washtenaw County to reduce costs through flunkymation.

Mr. Ed

Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Conan has never paid back the County. One way to save money is at the polls. Conan still thinks he's in the family business and he can do as his mommy tells him.


Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

"While some are receiving pay increases, they are taking on more responsibility and the county saves money overall, Smith said." In the private sector they take on more responsibility and get no pay increases, but this is the government and it is our tax dollars, so with that said let's give them a raise!

Guinea Pig in a Tophat

Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

"The county started working last year to eliminate a $17.5 million structural deficit." This adjustment is 1.86% of that deficit. I know a good chunk of money is being saved, but I'm wondering what else they'll need to do / have done to get rid of the deficit.


Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

For the people losing jobs, who will pay their unemployment?


Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Elimante lower jobs so we can pay the people at the top more . . . .