$250K city government study to begin in April

By David Skolnick



A $250,000 study to evaluate and improve how city government operates will start the week of April 9 with the goal of being finished by the end of the year.

David Eichenthal, director of management and budget consulting for the PFM Group, which is conducting the study, said Wednesday that he expects the examination to provide dozens of short-term and long-term recommendations to make city government operations more efficient.

“We’ll come back with a set of recommendations and how they can be implemented,” Eichenthal said. “We plan to work with the city to implement the priority recommendations.”

The study would analyze current city operations, prioritize recommendations and develop a budget model with savings for the next five years, he said.

The study is part of Youngstown’s involvement in the federal Strong Cities, Strong Communities [SC2] initiative, designed to give struggling cities the needed resources to spur economic growth and operational efficiency.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing $50,000 for the study as is the Raymond John Wean Foundation. The city is seeking additional financial support, but if it doesn’t receive it, Mayor Charles Sammarone said the city will pay the rest of the cost.

“Every department will find out what they’re deficient at and what department heads are deficient at, and we’ll make the changes,” Sammarone said.

DeMaine Kitchen, Sammarone’s administrative assistant who went to a national SC2 seminar last week in Washington, D.C., said the study is a “top-to-bottom look at how we serve the city. This isn’t a study just to do a study. We don’t have plans to leave it on the shelf. We plan to implement the recommendations.”

Eichenthal said his company, which has done similar studies nationwide, “can guarantee we’ll find recommendations, that if implemented, will save money and make the city more efficient.”

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