Reorganization of City Government Includes Changes to Planning, DPW and Other Departments

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When the City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, they also approved a reorganization of Watertown’s municipal government.

Some changes impact who directly reports to the City Manager or the Deputy Manager. Other positions have been moved into new departments, and some departments have been split into divisions.

One department with new divisions is Community Development and Planning, which will have Planning and Building Divisions and a third for community events and the Commander’s Mansion.

The Planning Division includes a Current Planning Group and a Planning Director to oversee long-range planning. Assistant City Manager Steve Magoon, who is also the director of Community Development and Planning, said the new position of Planning Director will be able to look at development in the long-term.

“One of the things we often find in local planning is day-to-day planning tends to consume the time of staff and, to be very direct about it, without separate functions the long-range planning tends to get pushed aside,” Magoon said.

Councilor Tony Palomba asked what the difference will be, and why some of the positions fall under current vs. long-term planning.

“In the short run, in this organizational structure, current planning is doing the development via the (Planning and Zoning) boards and commissions,” Magoon said. “Long-range planning is pretty much everything else, including Public Arts & Culture, where we are talking about the bigger picture, similarly for open space design, designing public open spaces.”

With planning for transportation, housing, and the environment, Palomba wondered why they fit under the current planning. Magoon said that there will be overlap, but those positions will work on both current and long-range planning efforts.

The Department of Public Works will add a new Engineering Division, and remove the Property and Buildings division, because there is a separate Department of Public Buildings, which oversees municipal and school facilities.

Also, there is a new Street Lighting and Wiring Division, where the Chief Electrician and Lineman will move from the Property and Buildings Division. There will also be a Traffic Control Division, with the Supervisor of Traffic Control, the Skilled Craftsman and the part-time Weights & Measures position.

The meter analysis position has been turned into the Assistant Director. That position will oversee the Water and Sewer Divisions, said Public Works Superintendent Greg St. Louis.

“The change in the position came on organically as the city was taking on more and more projects,” St. Louis said. “So, having that person be able to work under and closely with the Administration and Finance Director allows that — to help manage the whole office staff and all the paperwork that goes along with compliance and regulations, and the ongoing workflow of the department.”

Multiple department heads will now report directly to the Deputy City Manager Emily Monea, including Recreation, the City Clerk, and the newly created Constituent Services Department.

The new department will run the planned 311 system, which will be a place for residents to get information and report problems. It will have two employees, a Community Engagement Specialist and the Social Media & Web Coordinator.

See more details about the reorganization, and new positions, below. The information is from the City of Watertown Annual Budget 2023-24. Click here to see City Manager George Proakis’ budget presentation. See the detailed budget documents here.

Manager’s Direct Reports

The Manager will continue to supervise the following positions, but the organizational chart will note that each of these direct reports to the City Manager will also have access to either the Deputy Manager or the Assistant City Manager for Community Development & Planning to provide support on a day-to-day basis. These “liaison assignments” are designed to ensure that department heads have one additional support person in the City Manager’s office who understands their department needs and can assist the department head and the City Manager as necessary. These positions include:

• Fire Chief (Manager Direct Report / Deputy Manager as Liaison Assignment)
• Police Chief (Manager Direct Report / Deputy Manager as Liaison Assignment)
• Director of Human Resources (Manager Direct Report / Deputy Manager as Liaison Assignment)
• Chief Information Officer (Manager Direct Report / Deputy Manager as Liaison Assignment)
• Superintendent of Public Works (Manager Direct Report / Assistant Manager for CPD as Liaison Assignment)
• Veterans Service Officer (Manager Direct Report / Assistant Manager for CPD as Liaison Assignment)
• Senior Center Director (Manager Direct Report / Assistant Manager for CPD as Liaison Assignment)
• Health Director (Manager Direct Report / Assistant Manager for CPD as Liaison Assignment)

Deputy Manager’s Team

The Deputy City Manager will become the direct supervisor of:

• The Recreation Director / Department
• The John A. Ryan Skating Arena Director / Department
• The City Clerk / City Clerk’s Office
• The new Constituent Services Department, which will operate the 311 system, consistent with Budget Policy Guideline II.I
• A two-member communications team, including:
o Community Engagement Specialist (new position / see below)
o Social Media & Web Coordinator (transfer from IT; maintaining a ‘dotted line’ connection to the IT department)

Chief Financial Officer and Team

The new Chief Financial Officer will be hired. For this budget, this position is shown in the City Manager’s Department budget. Going forward, the CFO will manage a new Finance Department that will incorporate the CFO’s office (with just the CFO position), and three divisions, as follows:

• Assessing
• Treasurer / Collector (including Parking Lots and Meters)
• Procurement (the current ‘Purchasing’ office will be renamed Procurement)

Department Name Adjustments:

• As our ongoing Human Resources study progresses, the Personnel Department will be renamed the Human Resources department. Further changes in this department may be forthcoming after the study is complete, consistent with Budget Policy Guideline item II.J.
• The department that operates our Senior Center will be named “Senior Services” to reflect their broad role in the Center, in senior programming, and in support for the Council on Aging.

DPW Divisions

DPW divisions are being realigned as follows:
• Engineering will become its own division. This division has its own budget sheet for Fiscal Year 2024.
• The division currently called “Property and Buildings” is reorganized. The property and building function is no longer necessary within DPW now that we have a combined Public Buildings department that we share with the School Department.

Yet, DPW has an increased need to manage traffic control facilities. Therefore:
o Costs of managing the DPW facilities will be moved into the DPW Administration budget.
o The wiring functions of this division will be combined with the street lighting division, which previously had no staff. The Chief Electrician and Lineman position previously in the Property and Buildings team will become staff of this division. The division will be called Street Lighting and Wiring.
o The remaining division will be renamed Traffic Control. The vacant supervisor position will be filled as Supervisor of Traffic Control. The Skilled Craftsman will remain in this division along with the part-time Weights & Measures position.

Community Development & Planning Divisions

Community Development & Planning (CDP) has operated informal divisions for many years. The department will be divided into divisions under the proposed organization. While the divisions remain on one budget page for Fiscal Year 2024, we will more formally divide the budget of these divisions in future years. The divisions are as follows:

• Planning Division, which will be directed by the new Planning Director, who will also oversee all long-range planning activities and the Live Well Watertown / Farmers market program. The Planning Director will also supervise:
o Assistant Planning Director who will oversee the Current Planning Group and all current planning activities
o Zoning Enforcement Officer who will oversee the Zoning & Code Enforcement Group
• Building Division overseen by the Building Commissioner
• Community Events and Commanders Mansion Division overseen by the Function Facility Manager

Fiscal Year 2024 New Positions and Position Changes

A summary of new positions and changes is below. Where these positions work to implement Budget Policy Guidelines, the relevant section is noted next to the position title.

New Leadership Positions

The following are new leadership positions included in the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget

● Chief Financial Officer
● Constituent Services (311) Director (II.I)
● Planning Director (Director of new CDP Planning Division) (II.D)

New Staff Positions

The following are new staff positions included in the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget:

● Constituent Services (311) Representative (II.I)
● Community Engagement Specialist
● Assistant City Clerk
● Assistant Procurement Director
● Parker School Custodian
● DPW Staff Engineer (II.A) (II.E)
● DPW Projects Manager (II.A) (II.E)
● Health Officer (focused on rodents) (II.H)
● DPW Parks Heavy Equipment Operator (II.E)
● Assistant Building Inspector
● Senior Planner: Economic Development (I.A) (II.D) (II.F)
● Senior Planner: Open Space (II.D)
● Associate Assessor
● IT Help Desk Technician (II.M)

Changes to Positions

The following are changes to positions included in the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget

• Community Wellness Program Manager in the Health Department becomes a part of the Community Development & Planning Department
• Water/Sewer Analyst becomes the Assistant Director of the DPW Administration Division
• Supervisor of Property and Buildings becomes Supervisor of Traffic Control
• Chief Electrician becomes the Supervisor of the new Street Lighting & Wiring Department
• Supervisor of Custodians becomes the Assistant Director of Public Buildings
• Teen Librarian becomes full-time position

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