(Santa Ana, CA) - In a move that will bring greater accountability and more effective management to County government, CEO James D. Ruth announced today a restructuring of the County organization. “In the 11 months I’ve been with the County, it’s become obvious that organizational changes are necessary to allow government’s structure to help us get our work done instead of impeding our ability to work efficiently and effectively,” said Ruth. “This organization of approximately 17,000 employees currently has a CEO span of control that is far too broad for optimum oversight and guidance of departments.”
The reorganization plan, which Ruth will present to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, would reduce direct reports to the CEO from 17 to 7 and provide increased oversight from Deputy CEOs (formerly called Assistant CEOs). Duties of four Deputy CEOs will be realigned, and two will gain oversight of other County departments. Human Resources will report directly to the CEO as separate department. The Labor Relations component of HR will move into the purview of the Deputy CEO/Chief Financial Officer. The Planning and Development Services Department and Public Facilities and Resources Department will merge into one department.
In addition to these large-scale adjustments, position vacancies in the County Executive Office will be eliminated and two staff members will be reassigned to other departments. The cumulative changes will result in an ongoing, annual savings of $513,000.
“The changes being proposed will realign resources into compatible groupings and will increase accountability,” said Ruth. “These steps will make management better today. I’ve also implemented three actions to improve the County’s future leadership.”
The first of these is a Department Management Committee, composed of eight department heads and a CEO representative, which has already begun meeting regularly to discuss operations and budget issues affecting County government.
The CEO has also directed each County department head to develop a succession plan that identifies future leaders and addresses the development of these individuals with a goal of minimizing the impact of retirements and turnover.
Ruth has additionally developed the County’s first Leadership Academy. Next week the first group of County managers will begin classes which will be held at Chapman University and will be taught by Mark Maier, Ph.D., chair of Chapman’s leadership programs. In addition to conducting leadership training, Dr. Maier has consulted for the BBC, the Discovery Channel, Bill Moyers/PBS, MSNBC and NBC. This session runs from Jan. 16 through June 11 and includes 31 managers from a variety of departments. The Academy supports the CEO’s goal of better succession planning and leadership development.
“These changes set the foundation for a more effective County government now and in the years to come,” said Board Chairman Tom Wilson. “Tightened fiscal accountability, improved oversight and more effective management of operations will make good government better and help us provide improved service to Orange County residents. I appreciate the hard work that Jim and his staff have done in formulating this redesign. This accomplishes a board goal for organizational restructuring, and its implementation will have long-term benefit to Orange County.”
Direct reports to the CEO will be reduced from 17 to seven.
Assistant CEO duties will be realigned and the title will become Deputy CEO, as in other California counties. The Deputies will report directly to the CEO.
Those four Deputies and the departments within their purview are:
Deputy CEO, Infrastructure and Environment – Vicki Wilson
Housing & Community Services
Resources & Development Management Department (the combined Public Facilities & Resources Department and Planning Department)
Integrated Waste Management Department
Registrar of Voters
Deputy CEO, Chief Information Officer – Dan Hatton Hall of Administration System Support Data Center IT Standards
Deputy CEO, Chief Financial Officer – Fred Branca Budget Public Finance Purchasing Risk Management Labor Relations
Deputy CEO, Government & Public Services – Bill Mahoney Social Services Agency Health Care Agency Probation Department Public Defender Child Support Services
Human Resources will return to separate department status to better focus on its primary missions of training, recruitment and retention, benefits management, and classification. These workforce activities are the organization’s foundation. HR, under Jan Walden’s direction, will report directly to the CEO.
Because of the strong fiscal connection, Labor Relations will move into the CEO/CFO’s supervision. This change ensures financial accountability and coordination. It is particularly timely because at least 10 labor agreements will be presented to the Board in the first half of this year.
The Public Information/Media Relations Office will move into the scope of the Assistant to the CEO Rob Richardson, another direct report, for enhanced internal and external communications. An employee newsletter and communications to the cities will be developed this year.
Due to its regional and national significance, John Wayne Airport, led by Alan Murphy, will continue reporting directly to the CEO.
The seven positions reporting directly to the CEO are:
Four Deputy CEOs
Assistant to the CEO
John Wayne Airport
The Planning and Development Services Department will merge with Public Facilities and Resources to enable greater operational efficiencies. The many linkages between the two departments on technical and policy issues will also be more efficiently managed by combining the two organizations. The new department will be called Resources & Development Management Department. The director will be Bryan Speegle.
Two existing positions within the County Executive Office will be reassigned to other agencies for better coordination and service delivery. The staff position responsible for the Orange County Development Agency will move to Housing and Community Services which is already a partner with the Development Agency in providing many services. The position of Child Care Coordinator will be reassigned to the Social Services Agency which plays a major role in countywide child care issues and is mandated to implement Welfare to Work and its child care component.
Eight vacancies in the County Executive Office will be eliminated.
The net financial impact of these changes will result in an ongoing, annual savings of $513,000.