SEPTEMBER 13, 2007

5:30 P.M.


I.          CALL TO ORDER


            With a quorum present, Mayor Pro Tempore Belmares called the meeting to order.


II.        ROLL CALL


            In attendance:


            Mike Garza,                                                                             Council Member, District I

            Hector Garcia,                                                                          Council Member, District II

            Michael Landeck,                                                                     Council Member, District III

            Johnny Amaya,                                                                         Council Member, District IV

            Johnny Rendon,                                                                        Council Member, District V

            Gene Belmares,                                                                        Mayor Pro Tem, District VI

            Juan Chavez                                                                             Council Member, District VII

            Juan Ramirez,                                                                           Council Member, District VIII

            Gustavo Guevara, Jr.,                                                               City Secretary

            Carlos Villarreal,                                                                       City Manager

            Cynthia Collazo,                                                                       Deputy City Manager

            Horacio De Leon,                                                                     Assistant City Manager

            Jesus Olivares,                                                                          Assistant City Manager

            Raul Casso,                                                                              City Attorney


            Motion to excuse Mayor Salinas.


            Moved:  Cm. Amaya

            Second:  Cm. Garza

            For:  7                                                  Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0




            Mayor Pro Tempore Belmares led in the Pledge of Allegiance.


IV.       Discussion with possible action regarding the proposed reorganization plan prepared             by the Waters Consulting Group.


            Carlos Villarreal, City Manager, reported that the Waters Consulting Group will be        presenting a long report.  He added that this is just a beginning and there will be                 further analysis of individual departments that will be done immediately after the     initiation            of the new fiscal year.


            Ted Benavides, Senior Vice President of the Waters Consulting Group, stated that        that there are recommendations for cost reductions in the presentation which will be done by:  eliminating vacant positions; doing reimbursements or through attrition.  He            emphasized that there are no lay-offs in the proposal.  He gave the following letter to the            Mayor and Council Members.




            September 13, 2007


            To:  The Honorable Mayor and City Council Members from the City of Laredo, Texas


            This memo is in response to a request for information from Council member Mike Garza, at             the August 13, 2007 Council Meeting, to provide a departmental comparison of all             benchmark cities.


            Attached you will find three spreadsheets with staffing comparisons by department for the             benchmark cities used in the Organizational Study.  All of the spreadsheets are sorted by             the greatest "difference" in the number of FTE's per department between the City of       Laredo and the average of the benchmark cities.  Numbers in "red" represent the           departments in which Laredo is staffed greater than the average of the benchmark cities.         The number in parentheses represents how many more staff Laredo in a department than     the average of the benchmark cities.


            The first spreadsheet (City of Laredo FTE's By Department Compared to All Benchmark             Cities) is a comparison of Laredo to all of the benchmark cities.  The second spreadsheet             (City of Laredo FTE's By Department Compared to non-Rio Grande River Cities) compares             Laredo to the non-Rio Gande River cities.  The third spreadsheet (City of Laredo FTE's By             Department Compared to Rio Grande River Cities) compares Laredo to the only Rio    Grande River cities.


            While this information does indicate a number of differences it is important to realize that             further and more detailed analysis would be       needed to clarify the numbers reported.  In             obtaining the benchmark cities staffing levels by department there are appears to be             discrepancies between cities on which function fall under which department headings.              Therefore, these spreadsheets can only be used a guidance to those departments which require additional detailed information to be obtained.


            In addition, the total number of employees reflected for each city is based on the number             reported in the Organizational Study's survey not the total of the number of employees   listed for the departments on the spreadsheet.  Each city classified the total number of      employees differently and reported "budget" categories and employee counts differently.    For example, not all of the cities fully detail    their part time and seasonal employees.


            The data would indicate that the following (see page 2) Laredo departments need to be             evaluated to determine their appropriate staffing levels base on benchmarking data.  This             analysis could be conducted by the Laredo Budget Office staff.




            Ted Benavides

            Senior Vice President


         Page 2

         List of Departments


Health Department

Bridge System

Parks & Recreation




City Manager

Community Development

Solid Waste

Human Resources

Tax Office

City Secretary

Convention /Visitor Bureau

Building Services



            Update of the Organizational Analysis Findings

            September 13, 2007

            The Waters Consulting Group, Inc.


            Key Objectives

            The City of Laredo Contracted with WCG to:


§         Evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the City’s Departments and Divisions;

§         Identify opportunities to reduce operating cost and improve services to external       and internal customers;

§         Conduct a third party performance review of the operations and organizational                      structure of these departments; and

§         Create a leaner departmental structure, more customer focused and more nimble        organization.


            Project Methodology


§         Interviews with Council, The City Manager’s Office and Department Directors;

§         In-depth review of budgets, organizational charts, staffing allocation and salary data;

§         Survey of peer organizations of similar size, scope of services provided and economic base;

§         Review of best practices.


            Phases of Project


§         Phase I – Initial Strategy Meeting

§         Phase II – Interviews

§         Phase III-Comparison of Benchmark Cities and Analysis

§         Phase IV-Comparison of Laredo executive salaries to those of other Texas cities.

§         Phase V-Development and presentation of Draft and Final Report


            Staffing Comparisons


            A review of the overall distribution of staff with years of service is positive.  Amongst the                  City of Laredo’s approximately 2,249 employees allocated between 29 Departments:   


§         37.8% employed for Five Years or Less

§         27.5% have worked for Five-to-Ten Years

§         13.5% have worked Ten-to Fifteen Years

§         10.8 % with more than 20 Years

§         10.4% employed Fifteen-to Twenty Years


            Benchmark Comparisons


            Comparison of 10 communities – 5 with populations larger than Laredo and 5 with smaller               populations:


§         Laredo Population:  203,212; Number of Full-Time Staff:  2,249

§         Large Cities Population Range:  207,852-362,972 (Average=269,205)

§         Large Cities Staff Range:  1,762-3,213 (Average=2,280)

§         Small Cities Population Range:  131,600-196,119 (Average=163,067)


            Benchmark Comparisons


            Comparison of 10 communities – 5 with populations larger than Laredo and 5 with  

            smaller populations.


§         Laredo Employee to Population Ratio = 1:90

§         Lowest  Benchmark City’s (Amarillo) Employee to Population Ratio = 1:104

§         Highest Benchmark City’s (Corpus Christi) Employee to Population Ratio = 1:93

§         Average of Benchmark Cities Employee to Population Ratio = 1:117


            Benchmark City Comparisons        










Grand Prairie
































Corpus Christi























               Rio Grande City Comparisons









El Paso


































               Staffing Recommendations


§   Financial Services Department should conduct a more detailed review of the departmental comparisons survey of benchmark cities to refine the staffing levels on a department by department basis.

§   Financial Services Department should evaluate and report to the City Manager on factors such as the City’s unique services (e.g., bridge Operations; Health Services) and their possible negative impact on the City’s staffing ratio.


               Departmental Restructuring


§   Departments are being recommended for elimination, modification or enhancement

§   Fewer departments are being recommended from 29 to 20

§   Positions are being eliminated

§   The organization is being streamlined for efficiency and effectiveness

§   Portfolios are being created for the DCM and the two ACMs


               Span of Control Assessment


§   Need to develop organizational charts for all departments down to the lowest level and to match all the positions with the positions on the City’s master personnel listing

§   Need to set a target for supervisors to subordinates such as:  one supervisor to every six subordinates when reviewing department organizational charts

§   Eliminate as many of the one-to-one reporting structures as possible


               Organizational Realignment Details


§   Airport – Airport Manager (Report to Transportation Director)

                  -Airport Director will be reclassified to Airport Manager

                  -Eliminate Marketing Manager position ($87,471)

§   Bridge – Bridge Manager (Report to Transportation Director)

   -Reclassify the Bridge Director Position – re-title to Bridge Manager

   -Assistant Bridge Director to be reclassified to Assistant Bridge Manager

§   Budget – Budget Manager (Report to Financial Services Director)

   -Move Budget Department as a division under Financial Services Department

   -Re-classify the Budget Director to Budget Manager

   -Delete Administrative Assistant I position in Budget ($45,390)

§   Building Services (Re-title as BUILDING DEVELOPMENT SERVICES)

   -The Building Official will manage the Building Inspection Division

   -Add One Stop Shop into Building Development Services

§   City Attorney – City Attorney (report to Carlos Villarreal, City Manager)

§   City Manager’s Office (Report to Carlos Villarreal, City Manager)

   -Move Customer Service Coordinator and Clerk III to New Information Services &  

     Telecommunications Department

     Transfer out Real Estate Office (5 employees) to Community Development  


   -Transfer in the Legislative Liaison Officer from PIO

   -Retain Internal Audit (3 employees)

   -Delete One (1) Land Acquisition Manager position ($105,827)

   -Transfer Two (2) Real Estate positions to FAA Noise Program ($107,862)

   -Transfer One (1) Real Estate position to Bond ($56,544)

   -Eliminate PIO Manager position ($73,978)

§   Communications & Administrative Support Services

   -Eliminate the Department as a separate entity

   -Transfer employees from the State Emergency Administration Division (9-1-1) of the   

    Communications & Administrative Support Services Department to the Information  

    Services & Telecommunications Department)

  -Transfer employees from Fleet Maintenance Shop to become a division of the Public 

   Works Department)

§   Community Development – Director (Report to Cynthia Collazo, Deputy City (Manager)

   -Transfer in the Real Estate Office from City Manager’s Office

§   Convention & Visitors Bureau – Manager (Report to Economic Development  Director)

   -Eliminate Convention & Visitors Bureau Director position ($109,612)

   -Re-title Assistant Director to Manager

   -Move the Convention & Visitors Bureau to the Economic Development Department

§   Economic Development (New Department) – Director (Report to Cynthia Collazo, Deputy City Manager)

   -Create Department to include the:

§         Convention & Visitors Bureau

§         Business and Retention (New)

§         The Laredo Development Foundation

§   Engineering – Engineering Manager (Report to the Director of Public Works)

   -To manage the Engineering Division in the new Public Works Department

   -Transfer Two (2) Engineering FTE’s dedicated to bond projects

§   Environmental Services – Manager

   -Move department to Public Works Department

§   Financial Services – Director (Report to Assistant City Manager)

  -Move Tax department under Financial Services

  -Move Budget Department under Financial Services

  -Re-classify Budget Director Position to Budget Manager

§   Fire – Fire Chief (report to Carlos Villarreal, City Manager)

§   Health – Director (Report to Cynthia Collazo, Deputy City Manager)

§   Human Resources – Director (Report to Horacio DeLeon, Assistant City Manager)

   -Transfer in the Employee Health & Wellness Division (5 employees) from ITSS

   -Transfer in Risk Management Office, entailing Manager and six staff members, from  


§   Information Services & Telecommunications Department (New Department) – Director (Report to Horacio DeLeon, Assistant City Manager)

   -Transfer Nine (9) Crime Scene Investigation Officers to Patrol

   -Transfer in the employees from State Emergency Administration Division (9-1-1) 

    (currently part of CASS) into this Department

   -Transfer in the Customer Service Division from City Manager’s Office to 3-1-1

   -Transfer out the Employee Health & Wellness (5 employees) and establish as a 

     separate division of Human Resources

   -Transfer out Risk Management, entailing Manager and six staff members, from ITSS

     to Human Resources

§   Library – Manager (Report to Parks & Leisure Services Director)

   -Move the Library Department under Parks and Leisure Department

   -Eliminate position through attrition ($115,110)

§   Parks & Leisure (New Department) – Director (report to Jesus Olivares, Assistant City Manager)

   -Transfer in Library Department and convert to a separate division

§   Planning & Zoning – Director (Report to Cynthia Collazo, Deputy City Manager)

§   Police Department – Police Chief (Report to Carlos Villarreal, City Manager)

   -Eliminate one Assistant Police Chief Position through attrition ($145,860)

   -Return Evidence/Property Officer One (1) to Patrol

   -Addition of One (1) Civilian Evidence/Property Technicians

   -Return One (1) Liaison Sergeant to Patrol

   -Transition Two (2) Ordinance Officers to Patrol (Hourly officers in Municipal Court)

   -Return Captain over Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to Patrol

   -Increased utilization of volunteers

   -Re-assignment of uniform personnel from administrative positions back to patrol and 

     other direct police service delivery functions

   -Re-structure department into “Functional Alignment” with three bureaus, Operation,

    Criminal Investigations and Administrative Support

   -Place all investigative units under common supervision to increase effectiveness of  

    information flow and standardization of procedures

   -Prioritize activation of case management software and hold investigative supervisors

   -Consider Off-Site housing of Internal Affairs Department in a highly visible and

     accessible location within the City.

§   Public Works – Director (Report to Jesus Olivares, Assistant City Manager )

   -Pending further review

§   Solid Waste – Manager (Report to Public Works Director)

   -Move department to establish it as a division of the Public Works Department

   -Re-classify Solid Waste Director Position to Manager

§   Tax & Collections – Manager (Report to Financial Services Director)

                  -Move Tax Office, entailing 16 employees, as a division under Financial Services


                  -Eliminate the Assistant Tax Collector ($76,854)

                  -Re-classify the Tax Assessor/Collector to Manager

§   Traffic – Traffic Engineer (Report to Transportation Director)

   -Re-classify Traffic director Position to Traffic Engineer

   -Move department to establish it as a new division of the Transportation Department

§   Transportation Department (New Department) – Director (Report to Jesus Olivares, Assistant City Manager)

   -New Department, combining Airport, Bridge, Traffic, and Transit Services

§   Utilities – Director (Report to Jesus Olivares, Assistant City Manager)


            Mr. Benavides summarized the report by saying that the short term savings would be     $750,000 and the long term savings would be and additional $310,000.  He anticipated that          over a period of time $1.1 million would be saved due to the recommendations.


            Cm. Garza, stated that Corpus Christi mentioned in the Benchmark Comparisons is not             similar to Laredo.  He added that in the Rio Grande City Comparisons slide, all the other             cities mentioned besides McAllen are so different.


            Carlos Villarreal pointed out that a more thorough analysis of each department will be    done.


Cm. Garcia stated that Council took the step to hire an Assistant City Manager to relieve the duties of the City Manager so he would be able to overlook all the departments and be able to serve the Council Members.  He added that assigning several departments to the Assistant City Managers defeats the purpose of the Council’s decision.  He commented that he did not understand how one Assistant City Manager would oversee 600 employees while another Assistant City Manager would only oversee 50-60 employees.  He emphasized that it is not wise for the City to do this.  Finally, he stated that this is a weak report and the numbers mentioned do not “jive”.  He stated that he is opposed to several changes.


Cm. Landeck inquired why the Police Department became the focus of the analysis.  He asked how long the department was reviewed.  He said that he does not see the reasoning behind eliminating one assistant chief.  He mentioned that the Laredo Development Foundation is not a physical entity of City of Laredo and he does not believe it should be in the report.  He added that we must abide by the City Charter.  He pointed out that Assistant City Managers are not mentioned in the Charter.


Ted Benavides replied that the department was physically analyzed in one day.


            Cm. Rendon mentioned that he would feel more comfortable if there was a complete report       in order to understand the changes being recommended.  


            Cm. Chavez mentioned that he does not see anything wrong with the organization.  He   agrees that cutting back is good and supports the City Manager on this organization.  He          commented that more studies need to be done in the Police Department.


            Carlos Villarreal reported that over $750,000 would be saved and that it could increase to             $1,000,000.    


            Cm. Garza stated that we have a possible $1,000,000 in savings and we have to do what is             right for the citizens.  He added that the City Manager would be held responsible for what              goes wrong or right.


            Carlos Villarreal stated that this is just a tool and changes can be made as Council deems             necessary.  He clarified that salaries will not be reduced and no one will be eliminated.  He             mentioned that changes will take place in the future through attrition.  He commented that             by the end of next year there will be a reduction of $1,000,000 in expenses in the General             Fund.


            Cm. Ramirez recommended that the City Secretary’s Office should stay where it was    before.           


            Mayor Pro Tempore Belmares inquired about the time it will take to acquire the savings.


            Carlos Villarreal replied that it would take about a year to accomplish.


            Mayor Pro Tempore Belmares stated that there are some issues with the recommendations             made with in the structure of the Police Department.  He commented that whoever did the             study did not do a good job of reviewing the collective bargaining agreement and they    made no mention of the replacement costs of all the individuals returning to patrol.  He     added that when all the changes have been made, a million dollars will not have been saved        and we will be back at the beginning where we started.  He also inquired if the City            Manager is recommending that the City use civilians as crime scene technicians versus the          patrol officers in uniform.


            Mr. Benavides agreed.


            Mr. Villarreal pointed out that no Crime Scene Investigators are to be taken out of the   budget.  He added that no civilians will be added and no officers will be deducted.  This will happen through transition. 


            Cm. Garcia stated that the report is weak.                 


            Mr. Villarreal, stated that the figures given are of direct savings.  He stated that all officers             are in the budget and there are no civilian positions.  He added that the budget would not be             impacted.


            Cm. Garza stated that they are additional savings for the future.


            Motion to accept the recommendation as presented and remove the realignment of the    

            Police Department and do another study.


            Moved:  Cm. Garza

            Second:  Cm. Chavez


            Motion withdrawn by Cm. Garza.


            Motion to table.


            Moved:  Cm. Garza

            Second:  Cm. Amaya

            For: 8                                                   Against:  0                                            Abastain:  0




            The City Council hereby reserves the right to go into executive session at any time during             this public meeting, if such is requested by the City Attorney and other legal counsel for the             City, pursuant to his or her duty under Section 551.071 (2) of the Government Code, to             consult privately with his or her client on an item on the agenda, or on a matter arising out           of such item.




            Motion to adjourn.                                                                                            Time:  7:00


            Moved:  Cm. Garza

            Second:  Cm. Amaya

            For:  8                                                  Against:  0                                            Abstain:  0