From a recent article in the Tallahassee Democrat (spotted by our intrepid team
of investigative reporters) is an article below on the reorganization of the
City of Tallahassee:
In a major shake-up of city government, Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez
eliminated three departments and 10 managerial positions today.
Fernandez did away with the departments of Public Works, Economic and Community
Development and Environmental Policy and Energy Services. The work of each will
be shifted to several different departments.
The changes, Fernandez said, will better streamline city government and "align
ourselves to be more responsive to the folks using service, whether it was a
customer, the commission."
As a result, the following four people were fired today (salaries as of
September). Their last day will be Wednesday:
Director of Public Works Gabe Menendez ($143,663)
Manager of Public Works operations Michael Scheiner ($100,651)
StarMetro transportation finance administrator Johnny Session ($113,520)
StarMetro superintendent of transit maintenance Ralph Wilder ($89,744)
Fernandez ($228,000) also eliminated six other management positions, one of
which, the Public Works administrative services manager, is currently vacant.
The employees in the five other positions in EPER, Utilities and ECD have been
reassigned. No positions were added.
Fernandez said he tried to find jobs for everyone affected by the
reorganization, but in the end, was not able to to so. He did not say how much
the city would save by eliminating the positions.
There likely will be raises for those promoted, but he did not address specific
numbers on Tuesday.
"We will revisit that after implementation," he said. "I expect that there will
be increases and possibly some decreases over the next few months to reflect
The news comes a day after Lonnie Ballard ($126,000), assistant city manager
over Development and Transportation, resigned to pursue other opportunities.
The changes are by far the most substantive made by Fernandez, who succeeded
former longtime City Manager Anita Favors Thompson in late November.
He also rearranged and changed the names of the city's four main areas.
Starting Wednesday, city administration will be divided into Citizens Services,
Administrative and Professional Services, Community Engagement and Public
Safety and Development Services and Economic Vitality.
The reorganization isn't perfect, Fernandez conceded. He said he'll continue to
reassess the organization's structure.
"A year from now, it might not look exactly the same, or it may look exactly
the same," he said. "It's not done for the show. It's done because we think it
makes sense. I hope people will accept it for what it is."
Commissioners appeared to agree with the city manager's changes.
"I think change is good," said Commissioner Scott Maddox. "I support the
manager 100 percent."
Commissioner Curtis Richardson said he's pleased with how Fernandez is
"flattening" the organization and rooting out bureaucracy. The moves, he said,
will lead to better communication and improved services for residents.
"I think that it's important for him to put his imprint on city government,"
he said, "and put those people in places he thinks can best move the