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County departments in turf war over new complex
Thursday, April 24, 2008 by Kimberly Reeves
The ongoing fight between
County commissioners spent an excruciating couple of hours on Tuesday afternoon hearing arguments from both departments – and the civil court judges – over who would be best to sit in a First Chair, Second Chair situation. In this case, the first chair would be the project director with oversight capabilities and the second chair would be the project manager with day-to-day operational accountability.
The actual area of this part of the plan – which will actually include the hiring of an experienced consultant – is a needs-analysis forecast for the county.
“I have heard various complaints. It seems to me we have to get over them,” Biscoe told both sides at one point during the discussion. “Taxpayers will not go out and approve spending in excess of $100 million – and, who knows, maybe close to $200 million – if they think we may not be able to work together to get the project implemented. I would have to vote against it myself.”
Facilities Management, led by
“This is a fundamental function of the facilities management department,” Khoury said. “And what we see here is what we do best, which is executing projects and planning projects for all county departments, all county facilities, including all departments who are users.”
Caught in the middle of the whole debate were the departments, as well as the courts, who were feeling the space crunch. Auditor
“We’re seeing a turf war as to who is the best at facilities, who can do the best job,” Spataro said. “I have to say, from where I sit, no one has done a very good job.”
With the two departments at a stalemate, county officials walked through the various steps, discussing when it might be more logical to make one department a lead over the other.
Powell quickly demurred, saying her job duties were much broader than the county complex, but Biscoe noted that no project Powell possibly could have would measure up to the need to complete the multi-million dollar complex. Biscoe sounded like he was only half joking, although he had considered and rejected the idea two weeks earlier, Biscoe told Daugherty.
Eckhardt, seeing no winner in the fray, finally proposed appointing one point person as project manager on the initial planning phase. That person could be from Planning and Budget, Facilities or even be the outside consultant. Biscoe protested that the point of the initial division of labor was to gather and provide information to the consultant in an efficient manner. The work would no longer be divided and would be consistently handed to one person throughout the planning phase, Eckhardt said.At the final vote, commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the project manager concept. Biscoe was the lone vote against the proposal.
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