[ PRINT ]

BCC to Discuss $29M in Spending Reductions


At the Tuesday, May 15 Commission Meeting, agenda items 5a2 and 5a3 deal with an “efficiency audit” performed by consultants Gerstle, Rosen & Goldenberg at the request of county administration.

The audit found areas of significant savings, both in county operations and in the constitutional offices (except the Sheriff who evidently refused to answer any of their questions), estimated in the range of $29M. They looked in four areas: operating efficiencies, outsourcing, staff reductions, and additional sources of revenue. (It appears that only the outsourcing will be discussed in 5a2, and 5a3 addresses efficiencies regarding the constitutional offices).

These savings involve the elimination of 921 positions, mostly through outsourcing, and the bulk of the savings comes from reduction in benefit obligations.

With the county facing a potential $15M shortfall in the 2013 budget to be discussed at the first workshop on June 12, searching for areas to reduce spending is sorely needed and this study is an excellent move in that direction. Staff should be commended for both commissioning the study and for bringing it to the board for direction.

We are not overly optimistic that this initiative will be warmly embraced however. Already, the counter-arguments have begun. Chairman Vana says “My goal was never to try to get rid of a million people”. OFMB Director Bloesser warns that “it was unlikely that many of the findings could be put into effect before the budget year begins on Oct. 1”. Clerk Bock says that the proposed savings in her office are “incorrect and irresponsible”.

Nevertheless, this is the kind of direction that TAB has been calling for for several years, and we ask partners and supporters of TAB to attend the Tuesday session in support of the consultants proposals, or communicate your views to your commissioner.

The full content of the report can be found in the attachment for item 5a2 and the initial reactions are captured in the Palm Beach Post: Consultant: Palm Beach County can save $32M with 1,000 job cuts, add $3M with rate hike.

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