A JOINT ORGANIZATION AND PROCESS STUDY
OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF BEACHES AND HARBORS
PARKS AND RECREATION
PUBLIC LIBRARY
AND
FACILITIES MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT
OF
LOS ANGELES COUNTY



CONDUCTED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
ECONOMY AND EFFICIENCY COMMISSION

 

OCTOBER, 1988


CONTENTS

Introduction............................................... 1


Methodology................................................ 4


Executive Summary.......................................... 7

Recommendation I Role of the CAO...................... 9

Recommendation II Asset Management.................... 9

Recommendation III Income Utilization................. 10

Recommendation IV Service Performance................. 10

Recommendation V Security............................. 11

Recommendation VI Contacting Effectiveness............ 11

Recommendation VII Contract Monitoring................ 11

Recommendation VIII Organization Change............... 11


Findings and Recommendation................................ 13

Finding I Role of the CAO............................. 13

Finding II Asset Management........................... 15

Finding III Income Utilization........................ 17

Finding IV Service Performance........................ 21

Finding V Security.................................... 21

Finding VI Contract Effectiveness..................... 22

Finding VII Contract Monitoring....................... 24

Finding VII Organization Change....................... 25

 

General Observations....................................... 27

County Organization................................... 27

Options Concerning Assets Management.................. 31

Potential for Merging Beaches or Other
Units with Parks and Recreation.................... 34

Observations on Safety Police and Security Functions.. 37

A Stated Need to Stabilize and the
Impact of Change.................................. 41

Appendix I: Commission Memo to the Board................... 46

Appendix II: Memos to Departments.......................... 49

Appendix III: List of Interviews........................... 56

Appendix IV: Span of Control Model......................... 60

 


INTRODUCTION


This report sets forth the general observations, findings and recommendations resulting from an organizational and process study of four departments of Los Angeles County, conducted under the auspices of the Los Angeles County Economy and Efficiency Commission.

On May 10, 1988, on motion of Supervisor Schabarum the Board of Supervisors asked the Commission to review the current status of implementation of the Commission's 1983 recommendation on county organization with particular attention to vacancies in department head positions and the role of the Chief Administrative officer and report back to the Board within ninety days.  Since that time, several additional interests in staffing (as a result of department head resignations) and organizations have been expressed by the board and referred to the Commission.

On August 1, 1988, the Economy and Efficiency Commission wrote the board recommending several actions be taken (see Appendix 1--Letter from Commission to Supervisor Dana) among which was the recommendations that the appointment of a new Director of Parks and Recreation and a director of Regional Planing be deferred until the commission had completed a review and reported back to the Board.

Because of the Board's interest in reducing the number of departments reporting to it, and the commissions suggestion that current department head vacancies might provide opportunities for reorganization, the Board authorized, among other things, a joint project between the Commission and several departments to undertake a study of those departments.  To assist in the conduct of the study, the Board directed that the departments cooperate with the Commission in forming the necessary teams.

On August 12, 1988 the Commission requested the heads of four departments to appoint team members for this study.  In response, Dean R. Smith, Chief of Administrative Services, beaches and Harbors; Walta M. Smith, personnel Officer III, parks and Recreation; Mariko Kaya, Chief Technical Services, followed by Susan C. Curzon, Regional Administrator, North Region, public Library; and, Deborah A. Turner, Executive Assistant, Facilities Management Department were appointed as the departmental team members.   Richard E. Tunison, Principal Consultant, HRS Associates, represented the Commission.

The Commission, as client, asked that the team engage as soon as possible and complete its work by October 14, 1968.  Team organizational meetings were begun on Monday, August 22, and the first interviews were undertaken the next week.  The report that follows describes the work of the study team and is herewith presented to the Task Force on Decision-Making and Organization of the Economy and Efficiency commission for its review and disposition.

METHODOLOGY

This study utilized several sources for the accumulation of information.  First the team members themselves presented overviews of their respective departments including mission, objectives, organization structure, and recent history of change within those departments.  Second a variety of reports and studies prepared by the departments, the Economy and Efficiency Commission, and others was reviewed.  Third, a large group of managers from the departments to be studied, along with several commissions from those departments, was interviewed by the study team.


The list of interviewees was developed to provide a representative sample of line and administrative management of each of the four departments that would e consistent with the intent of the study.  The lists were reviewed and endorsed by the respective department heads who then sent letters to their department interviewees advising them of the study and requesting their full cooperation (See Appendix XI for samples of these letters).  Then, interview appointments were scheduled beginning with full-team interviews of the four departments heads, followed by sub-team interviews of the balance of the group of interviewees.  In all, approximately sixty people were interviewed during the period of Wednesday, August 31 through Thursday, September 29.  (A list of interviewees is found in Appendix III.)

Four critique days were scheduled, one each week, during the course of the interviews for the purpose of exchanging information among team members and developing "wash lists" of issues for further probing an4 consideration in following interviews.  Additionally, matters that appeared to be of special significance for inclusion in this report were identified so that more information and thought could be directed to them over the remaining period.

At the conclusion of the interview phase of the study, the team met daily to review and evaluate what it had learned, to test conclusions, and to develop the findings and recommendations which are incorporated in this report.

The development of this report is a joint effort of the entire team, and, although written by Richard Tunison of HRS Associates, is has the full concurrence of the team and reflects its findings and conclusions.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The team members expressed strong belief that any organizational change should be justified by some reasonable expectation of improvement in services.  Also, proposed changes, ideally, should be analyzed and well planned before the decision is made to implement the changes. Because of the limitations of time which constrained the study team from engaging in any significant research and analysis, and the wide range of opinions expressed on given subjects by those interviewed, the team was not prepared to make specific recommendations about structural change.


Nonetheless, considerable time was spend evaluating comments and ideas about how functions and major pieces of departments might be merged on the one had, or further decentralized on the other.  Internal processes and the provision of support services were also discussed extensively; and the relationship of department heads to the Board of Supervisors and the Chief Administrative Officer came under scrutiny.

Much discussion was devoted to asset management functions in their broadest sense.  The pros and cons of departmental control and decentralization were played against the pros and cons of creating a new asset management function within the county that would centralize all related functions in a single department.  Similarly, extensive discussions were devoted to merging Beaches into Parks and Recreation.  Likewise, the pros and cons of the present decentralized safety police functions were weighted against the pros and cons of a single department providing safety police services for the entire county.  Also discussed, but not resolved, were concepts such as the merging of all craft support functions into one organization, merging data processing with any one of several other functions, placing safety police in the Sheriff's Department, and merging all lifeguards into the Fire Department.

Relationships between users and service providers were examined and evaluated.  The impact of contracting out and organization change was an issue with many interviewees and was discussed by the team extensively.

During the time allotted, the team did not feel it warn able to assess the technical and organizational questions and resolve, what was viewed by many as, controversial issues. However, it has made, what it believes to be, eight important recommendations.  These are listed below and are amplified in the Findings Section of this report where the basis of each recommendation is described in some detail.

Recommendation I 

It is recommended that the County undertake an in-depth study of the role of the CAO in light of current conditions and future needs.  If necessary,  consideration should be given to the creation of a County Manager or pursuing the vote of the people on a County Mayor Option.

Recommendation II

It is recommended that a study be undertaken to define and a set dimensions for asset management in the County clarify the respective roles and responsibilities of the departments as they relate to asset management, determine the needs for standards and uniform systems and establish guidelines, for coordinated decision making in respect to asset utilization.

Recommendation III

In the interest of furthering entrepreneurship, it is recommended that steps be taken to assure department heads that income received from properties and other revenues generated by their departments will always accrue to the department unless there are such overriding needs on the part of the County that one-time funds transfers are necessitated.

Recommendation IV

It is recommended that both service providers and users be instructed to create single-focus points, or contact individuals wherever possible.  This will help coordinate service interfaces and provide timely two-way feedback on service and support systems to enhance performance measurement and ensure adequate quality and cost control.  Further, departments should implement monitoring systems which will provide timely information to correct difficulties before they become encumbrances to programs and service.

Recommendation V 

It is recommended that a review be undertaken to define and prescribe the appropriate level of countywide professional, technical, communications, and operational standards for security forces and systems.

Recommendations VI

It is recommended that the balanced value of contracting out be studied in-depth with special consideration being given to the impact on employee effectiveness.

Recommendation VII

It is recommended that the balanced value of contracting out be studied in-depth with special consideration given to the impact on employee effectiveness.

Recommendation VIII

It is recommended that any organization change be preceded by a comprehensive plan for the management of change.  The development and execution of this plan much have the full commitment of the Board of Supervisors and management and the full participation of the affected staff.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Following are the special findings and recommendations of this study.  Additional information and background may be found in the section on General Observations.

FINDING I

There is a lack of clarity about the role of the CA0.  There are expressed concerns about the CAO carrying out a dual role in which the office is both the controller of certain operational and administrative processes and at the same time the manager of operating functions, thereby acting as staff and line at the same time.  Some observers see this as a potential for a loss of evenhandedness.

In the present environment, department heads serve at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors, but are governed in important ways by the CAO.  Department heads set goals influenced by main mission requirements, program objectives, political pressures, finical opportunities and constraints, and the particular interests of the Supervisors, yet their individual performance is reviewed by the CAO who has the power to control, to a large degree, the funding and human resources needed to achieve departmental goals for which the department heads are held accountable by the Board.

 

It appears that department heads seek out the concurrence and support of Supervisors for some things and the approval of the CAO for others.  There is no evidence of clear single authority.  In fact, even though the department heads are appointed by the Board of Supervisors and presumably report to the Board, the organization chart published recently in the 1988-1989 County Budget Book shows department heads reporting to the CAO.

 

Several managers see a solution to the overall problem in replacing the CAO with an appointed County Manager or an elected official, such as a County Mayor who would act as the county executive with appointive powers over the department heads and the clearer supervisory role over them that would follow.  They do point out, however, that this would require a vote of the people and a similar proposition was voted down in the past.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the County undertake an in-depth study of role of the CAO in light of current conditions and needs. and also what the future might demand.   If necessary, consideration should be given to the creation of a county Manager or pursuing the vote of the people on a County Mayor option.

FINDING II

There is no strategic and systematic process for managing the County's real estate assets and income producing properties. Presently, some of the county's real property assets are under the operation direction of departments, while others are under the direction of the Assets division of the CAO's office or the Facilities Management Department, also reporting to the CAO.  Currently, the county manages more than four thousand separate facilities, both large and small for its own use;  large real estate developments like the Marina del Rey; and twenty or more other major parcels under consideration of development or re-development for the purpose of revenue generation.  Additionally, several operating departments exercise control over revenue generating concessions occupying county owned or operated properties through contracts with outside businesses or suppliers of services.

Under the present arrangement, there is no clear system for tracking and accounting for these properties and contracts;  assuring the application of desired business standards'  auditing revenue performance;  conducting consistent scheduled maintenance programs and allocating required maintenance funds;  coordinating the pursuit of lease renewals and renegotiations;  and, numerous other sound asset management practices.

Recommendation

It is recommended that a study be undertaken to define and set dimensions for asset management for the County, clarify the respective roles and responsibilities of the departments as they relate to assets and asset management, determine the needs for standards and uniform Systems, and establish guidelines for coordinated decision making in respect to asset utilization.

FINDING III

Income generated by individual departments is looked upon as a vital financial resource for the independent use of those departments.  The revenues received through rentals, concessions, parking charges, use fees, and the like, which come from programs, properties or facilities controlled by operating departments are used by those departments as an offset against operating or program costs.  Sometimes, however, large amounts of reserves which have been accrued from these sources by individual departments, and have been set aside to cover future maintenance or refurbishment expenses, have been reallocated by the Board to meet other county financial needs.

Particularly where entrepreneurial efforts have been successful in generating new income to the departments, such resources have come to be seen as a stabilizer of the budget base.  The thought that these income streams could be taken out of the budget base raises fears.  Since these forms of income are used to offset the cost of operations on the departments and assure the continuation of some programs and activities, their loss can be detrimental to the programs and act as a disincentive to those who have worked hard to generate them.

Recommendation

In the interest for furthering entrepreneurship, it is recommended that steps be taken to assure department heads that income received from properties and other revenues generated by the departments will always accrue to the department unless there is such overriding need on the part of the County that one-time funds transfers are necessitated.

FINDING IV

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the delivery of support services (maintenance, custodial, personnel, purchasing, data processing, etc.).  Operating management frequently expresses dissatisfaction with the delivery of support services, whether or not they are being supplied internally by a service department, from units of the department itself, or by an outside vendor.   Besides the obvious difficulty created by limited financial and personnel resources, the root of the problem seems to be a lack of complete communication.  This creates problems where they need not exist.

There is a lack of mutual understanding.    Service providers don't always fully understand the users' needs, and users don't always appreciate how the supplier may be impaired in meeting those needs.  General planning and coordination is often weak and this leads to delays in service and the lack of ongoing feedback contributes to frustrations.   When the quality of work is inadequate or the work is not complete on times or delays occur in delivery of needed goods, the capacity of a department to provide services, carry on programs, or complete projects is inspired.

Where these problems exists between operating departments and contractors they are sometimes amplified because of weaknesses in departmental monitoring and performance quality assessment systems.

Line managers have said they are not as concerned about who provides support services (internal service departments, a unit of the operating department, or outside contractors) as they are about the quality and reliability of support services.

Recommendation

It is recognized that most internal service providers are working to increase understanding of needs and shortcomings.  This should be commended and reinforced.  It is recommended that both service providers and users be instructed to create single focus points or contact individuals wherever possible.  This will help coordinate service interfaces and provide timely two-way feedback on service and support systems to help measure performance and ensure adequate quality and cost control.  Further, departments should implement monitoring Systems which will provide timely information to correct difficulties before they become encumbrances to programs and services.

FINDING V

At the present time there is no unifying program that assures the consistent application of minimum security standards and technologies county-wide, nor is there a county-wide security communications network that assures instant contact among security units and dispatchers.  Although FMD operates a substantial security force that provides both roving patrols and stationary security services at prescribed facilities across the county, several other departments provide or contract for security services to meet their needs at their own facilities.  There, is linkage among these groups by virtue of a security council which meets periodically, but the group is not chartered to establish county-wide overlying conditions or, as a group, direct the modification of departmental operating standards and procedures.

Recommendation

It is recommended that a review be undertaken to define and prescribe the appropriate level of county-wide professional, technical, and operational standards for security forces and systems.

Finding VI

There is no confusion and uneasiness about the ultimate objective of the policy on the contracting out.  Initially contracting out was advanced in the county as a viable means of reducing overhead, lowering staffing requirements, cutting operating costs and improving service.  Because of the potential for negotiating service contacts with the outside vendors, who pay their help at rates lower than the county standards, or who had capacities to provide more efficient services, managers were encouraged to contact out wherever efficiencies, cost reductions or cost avoidance could be achieved.  Recent changes in the rules, however, removed the necessity of cost saving as a decision criteria and appear to have placed the emphasis on contracting out for the sake of contracting out, or contracting out because the private sector can simply do the job better.

 

There are many potential benefits from contracting including: cost savings, cost avoidance, improved operating methods, or the release of staff for more important activities.  However, there has also been a negative impact on employees perceptions regarding job security and long term career opportunities in the County.  In addition, talk about contracting out main mission activities has amplified these concerns.  If these feelings are left unchecked they may veil escalate and further reduce productivity, contribute to increased turnover rates, and encourage the exodus of high performers.

Although the County has realized benefits from the contracting program. little or no attention has been given to the potentially offsetting cost of decreased employee effectiveness on County operations.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the balanced value of contracting out be studied in-depth with a special consideration being given to the impact on employee effectiveness.

Finding VII

There is frequently an associated administrative requirement or cost to contacting out that has not been planned for or anticipated by operating managers.  In an effort to achieve contracting out goals and the anticipated savings, some situations have developed where the quality of services has declined because decision makes failed t create or financially allow for, the follow-up systems necessary to assure the delivery of quality service by the vendors employed.  As a result, contracting out has become a new kind of burden to managers who thought they were getting rid of functions or activities only to discover the responsibility remains without the effective means of monitoring and controlling services provided by the vendor.  Although the contract specifications may be good in terms of what job is to be performed by the contractor, there is not always a clear understanding on the part of the department, at the time of what quality assurance entails.  In one department, as an example, outside custodial services were contracted as a cost saver.   Early on new internal procedures were discovered to be necessary to monitor contractor performance, and record and report deficiencies and breakdowns.  Managers and supervisors of operations are now brought into the maintenance loop as custodial overseers where that was previously not their responsibility.

Recommendation

It is recommended that departments be reminded to build into their contracting plans the necessary follow-up and monitoring Systems, as well as the financial resources needed to underwrite them, to assure the adequate performance of contract specifications.

FINDING VIII

Organizational changes require well thought out planning and implementation.  Some recent past organization changes have been executed without full analysis and planning for change.  The absence of such analysis and planning has allowed problems to occur which have prevented a smooth and more successful transition from the old to the new organizational configuration.  Such critical elements as: the new mission; underlying organization structure; roles and responsibilities; the identification of staffing requirements; thoughtful personnel selection; communications with effected parties and constituencies; and, so on, have been delayed or overlooked to the extent that the ultimate objective of the organization change has been put at risk.

(See the section on General Observations) for greater detail.)

Recommendation

It is recommended that any organization change be preceded by a comprehensive plan for the management of change.  The development and execution of this plan must have the full commitment of the Board of Supervisors and management and the full participation of the affected staff.

GENERAL OBSERVATION

County Organization

All of the department heads and most of the upper level department managers were asked, when they were interviewed, if they saw the need for a basic change in the County's organization.  This question always elicited thoughtful, though sometimes differing, replies.

One consistent focus of attention was on the relationship of the department head to the top, whether the "top" was viewed as the Board of Supervisors or the Chief Administrative Officer.  (On this question there was wide interest and discussion, not limited to the department heads alone.)  Perhaps the most frequent difficulty cited by interviewees was the ambiguity created by the role of the CAO.  Department heads serve at the pleasure of the Board;  however, now greatly the CAO influences departmental policies and how department heads get their jobs done is a concern.  It is unclear how much stroke the CAO has in hiring and firing department heads, and whether it is the CAO's office is staff to the Board, or whether it is staff and an operating department at the same time.

Concerns about the role of the CAO were matched by concerns about the Board.  The managers interviewed see the Board's roles in terms of global decisions and responsibilities.  Managers are very conscientious about the execution of their own responsibilities and are quite naturally concerned when the Supervisors or their representatives, reach down into departments to influence the day-to-day kinds of activities.  When such interventions occur, there is almost always an immediate compliance reaction.  Sometimes this distracts from planned operations and disrupts planned activities.  All managers understand the political realities of County Culture. but this particular reality, if changed, would never be missed.

The other side of this issue is the fact that all department heads value highly their ability to directly access the Board members. They see this as a means of keeping their fingers on the pulse of County Government, and, at the same time, being strong advocates and protectors of their own operational interests.

On a closely related subject, most managers at the upper levels of the departments liked the idea of a County Manager or an elected County Mayor, who would have the power to hire and fire department heads.  This was clearly seen as a way of resolving the very important authority issue, and would presumably allow department heads to get on with their business with fewer distractions.

Another important organizational issue, often discussed in the interviews, was the option of restructuring the departments into super agencies to reduce the Board's span of control.  (See Appendix IV for an approach to determining the optimal span on control.) Here again, there were views expressed on both sides of the issue.  Interestingly, although such a move was seen as advantageous to the Board, because it would consolidate departments into five or perhaps seven major groupings each reporting to the top, it was also seen as a block to the kind of direct access to the Board the department heads enjoy.  Additionally, some managers saw super agencies being too large and unwieldy.  It was felt that there would be a tendency to create new high level jobs and that top positions could not be filled in the existing county salary constraints.

The creation of super agencies was also viewed as a step back toward centralization and most interviewees found this counter to the current trend toward decentralization.  Yet, some interviewees cited organization configurations in other counties that were built around super agencies that seem to be working.  It was pointed out by some interviewees that the Facilities Management Department is, in fact, moving into a super agency mode now (the ISA concept) and there is no certainty that it will be successful in achieving its goal.  On reviewing the balance of input, it appears that there is less support for the creation of super agencies than there is for a substantive change in the role of the CAO.

Options Concerning Assets Management

The very broad spectrum of County assets was discussed in many interviews.  Some managers restricted their comments primarily to aspects of the subject that directly related to their own departments.  Other managers looked upon the subject in the broadest terms and saw a variety of means of enhancing asset management across the County.  Because of the openness of the interviewees, alternatives ranging from leaving everything the way it is to creating a centralized asset management function were discussed.   Some interviewees were quite open to the idea of centralizing asset management while others had grave reservations.

The broadest concept of asset management discussed was one which encompassed and centralized property development and project management; surplus properties and underutilized assets; the negotiation and ongoing management of leases and concessions; space management and space leasing; permits and rights of entry;  strategic planning for the use of income streams;  and the development and maintenance of a composite master file of assets and a tracking and evaluation system.   Various intermediate states between this concept and the present decentralization mode were also discussed.

Generally, those managers who were involved in leasing or contracting with concessionaires, particularly when such decisions impacted on programs or services, saw a very strong need for a close relationship with the lessee.  This meant close from the standpoint of communication and close in proximity to the property or concession.  It was often pointed out that this closeness was what made things go right, and if the responsibility for contract and lease negotiation were moved downtown something important would be lost.  Many of these managers also expressed concerns about the drive and creativity that could vbe lost if the incentive to make something work for the sake of the operating department and its mission were not in the picture.  Likewise, the operation of special facilities, such as golf courses might lose important links to program interests if the lease contracts were out of the hands of the departments.

 

Another major concern about centralization of asset management was that the income and revenue now generated by the various departments through their leasing and other entrepreneurial efforts would be lost to the departments, the money going into the General Fund.  Finally, some observers simply said centralization was not where the County was headed.

Some interviewees could argue both sides of the issue, and did.  They recognized the value of decentralizing such activities to the field level, but they also saw some weaknesses in decentralization. particularly the lack of full coordination.   They saw opportunities for improvements in some movement toward centralization.  Several interviewees identified a need for a coordinated planning process that would focus on setting long-term, intermediate, and short- term asset utilization and management goals.  Others mentioned the value in pulling all the real estate people together in a single unit where there could be some synergism.

In reviewing the extent of the County's real property base, several interviews emphasized that the county controlled more than four thousand facilities and over 40,000,000 square feet of space and that there is an impressive list of unimproved properties yet to be developed that offered great potential for new income to offset lost or reduced tax revenues over the coming years.  All of this, they pointed out needs strong use coordination, accounting and control in order to be properly exploited.

It is interesting to note that the Commission on California State Organization and Economy cited some of the same concerns in its March, 1986 report to the Governor and leaders of the State legislature, regarding the management of the State's real property.  A key recommendation of the State study treats the last pint in the preceding paragraph.  It says, "Adopt an organizational structure for State property management which establishes mechanisms designed to assure accountability of decision making.  Such structure should centralize policy development, require the development of operational plans, establish procedures for accountability, and monitor accomplishments of measurable objectives."

Potential for Merging Beaches or Other Units with Parks and Recreation

Since the study team was unable to reach a conclusion about the appropriateness of pulling asset management together, it was not necessary to address, in a final sense, whether or not Beaches should stand alone or be merged with Parks and Recreation, or some other department.  The alternatives were discussed at length, however, and many interviewees expressed their opinions.

For the most part, merging Beaches with Parks and Recreation was considered as the most plausible choice if any move were to be undertaken.  Beaches had been a part of the Parks Department some years ago, and there are similarities in operations.  Both departments share concerns about public safety, they have major maintenance operations, are active in entrepreneurial pursuits, and they have interests to a greater or lesser degree in recreation programs.   Beaches would fit nicely into the present Parks and Recreation Department organization, either as a stand-alone function or a part of one or more of the Parks and Recreation Department's Regions.

On the other hand, several interviewees pointed out that Beaches was separated from Parks and recreation for some important reasons.  Also, in the past the Department of Beaches has been merged with the City of Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the Department of Small Craft Harbors and it has taken some time to recover from the trauma of these organizational changes.  It was emphasized that lifeguards have a very strong bond and high esprit de corps.  These factors help make the division the highly regarded unit it is.  To "lose" them in the Department of Parks and Recreation might do some damage to their morale.  The alternative of leaving Beaches as a stand alone department, if the asset management function relating to Marina del Rey was placed elsewhere, did not have much support, but there were also no apparent operational reasons for recommencing the merger.

In regard to other potential consolidations, some interviewees did comment favorably on the prospects of merging the Arboreta and Botanic Garden into Parks and Recreation.  It was pointed out that there are some strong similarities and Arboreta is a relatively small department and could probably be merged without much difficulty; however, it was pointed out the main missions of the two departments are not congruent, and they utilize different support groups.   On balance, there was not much enthusiasm for the idea, however, no one from Arboreta was interviewed.

Interviewees were also asked to comment on the merits of merging public Library and parks and Recreation.  Relatively little was seen as worthwhile about this idea.  Despite the fact that some libraries are located in or near local parks. no strong relationships were drawn.

Observation on Safety police and Security Functions

There was considerable discussion with interviewees about safety police and security functions in the several departments.   Some security work is now being contracted out, the Department of Parks and Recreation contracts for security at the Hollywood Bowl, as an example: and, the Facilities Management Department uses contract security in a number of county buildings.  These services were generally seen as appropriate as presently handled and working reasonably well.  Differences in viewpoint were most frequently expressed in regard to safety police patrol activities and whether or not there is a need for standardization of systems and technologies and the way safety police forces are deployed and coordinated.

Among the departments this study investigated, Parks and Recreation and facilities management were the two with safety police forces working County -Wide.  The two functions are completely separate and report differently within their respective organizations.  For example, in Parks and Recreation, security has been placed in the Park Patrol units of each of the three regions in that department.  In Facilities Management, security is centralized in the General services Branch.

There were many advocates for consolidating security into a single department but for the most part they were facilities Management interviewees.  Parks and recreation interviewers tended to be opposed to consolidation because they felt the present level of park security would be jeopardized if the responsibility for providing those security services were taken out of the department.  Their point was that safety police patrols are now assigned by parks and Recreation to cover its parks on the basis of very careful needs evaluation.  Gang activities and vandalism are of critical concern because they place park goers and the park facilities at risk; the operation of regional parks and the many community activities that are carried out at such facilities vary to the degree that coordination and assignment of security forces is best done at the "local level" where there is an assured understanding of the day-to-day needs.  Tied to this was the caution that in a consolidated security organization, forces presumably could be called away from the assigned location or route to respond to a security problem elsewhere in the county, thus leaving the assignment uncovered.  Further, there was expressed concern that if park patrol personnel became a part of a greater single mission unit it could take on a more paramilitary disposition that would not be in keeping with the friendly public image the Department of Parks and Recreation wishes to project.  Simply Stated, there was little faith by parks and Recreation that their security needs would be successfully met if the security responsibility were placed in the Facilities Management Department.

Others, however, talked about the value of combining patrol forces across the county into a single unit so that strategic deployment could be achieved.  Some interviewees pointed out that FMD security patrols are routinely driving right by local parks on their assigned rounds and could easily include the park in their periodic inspections if it were not for the jurisdictional separations.  Additionally, it was felt a merged force would provide better and more efficient coverage.  Considerable argument was given in support of a need for strategic deployment of forces, which concept included knowing where units were located at any given time; and, for the training and professional development opportunities a unified vision could offer.  On other aspects of coordination, some identified the fact that County security forces and contract security are separated and without good coordination there is not an effective coordination of interests in the selection, installation and monitoring of alarm systems;  and little coordination in the selection of equipment and its maintenance.  A strong point was made of the need to effectively gain the attention and support of management and place the security function at a higher place in the organization.  If such occurred, it was- felt that security planning could be exercised to address the normal day-to-day security needs and then the contingency requirements of the County, in a more effective way.  (These matters were not discussed with representatives of Health Services, Museum of Art, and Museums since that was beyond the scope of the study.)

A Stated Need to Stabilize and the Impact of Change

On several occasions, interviewees told the study team, "  NO more change.  Let us settle in."  Facilities Management interviewees in particular, told of the difficulties encountered when units were brought together at the time of the consolidations.  Only now is the department beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, efforts are still under way to give the department unity and direction.

Considerable planning for change occurs in every department and yet many of the managers and supervisors interviewed in the process of this study expressed their concerns over the failures of past consolidations and organization changes.  Few said they thought the outcome was superior to their earlier state and on more than one occasion, the expression, "slammed together' was used in reference to organization consolidations.   There appeared to be confusion over the level of planing.  Some managers referring to comprehensive plans while other manager, in the same organizations, indicated they had no awareness of a plan.  Such confusion indicates a dysfunction in the management of change and can be corrected by a comprehensive, structural approach that is supported by the full resources of the County.

In general, the management of change should contain the steps of analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation.  This study revealed three critical failures in the management of change in the County.

First all too frequently, the decision to change the structure was made before the analysis was done.  There appears to be some misunderstanding that a concept as an idea for change is the same as the fact-based analysis of the need to change.  In addition once the decision was made, it appeared to be irrevocable although in the effective management of change, there are many decision points through the various steps.  Change that is no longer feasible under further study or testing should be aborted and the department head should have the latitude to reject unworkable change.

The second critical failure was in a lack of knowledge of the proper sequence of change.  All too often, implementation occurred before full planning had taken place.  Frequently the terms implementation and planning were used interchangeably which cause implementation to precede planning, hence, the comment "slammed together."  Design and development must take place before implementation.

The third critical failure was the failure to consider people in the design.  This is not to say that people were not considered.  On the contrary, in general, the County is people-oriented.  However, in change of any magnitude, participation, feedback and communication must be part of the origin of design.  Successful change has high levels of visibility and participation.  In addition, those who are primarily responsible for the management of change must be highly skilled in listening.  Some failure of change can be attributed directly to the various managers ability to hear the feedback in the change.

The effective management of change is a highly specialized skill and it should not be generally assumed that every manager has these abilities.  It should be a requirement that before change of any magnitude occurs in a department that the managers receive comprehensive training not only in the structure of change, but the impact of change on individuals.  An understanding of the latter in particular would help reduce the drop in productivity and reduce employee alienation that comes about as a result of poorly planned change.

In addition, whenever possible, for change of any magnitude, the departments should consider the use of a change consultant to walk them through the various steps of the change.

Organization change places considerable stress on the organization.  Our ability to handle it well demonstrates the effectiveness of the management.  Such effectiveness is manifested in a structured and sophisticated approach to the management of change.