Budget woes lead to overhaul of city departments
Sacramento’s city government is in the midst of a major overhaul.
The merging of seven city departments and offices was among many cuts city leaders made to close out a $43 million budget shortfall. Consolidations of several departments, including Neighborhood Services and Parks and Recreation, are now under way.
Neighborhood Services is no longer its own department. It’s now a division of the Parks and Recreation Department. The Office of Youth Development also lost its unique status — it now falls under the umbrella of Parks and Recreation.
The consolidations include cuts to a few top positions. Vincene Jones, who was the director of the Neighborhood Services Department, is now the manager of the Neighborhood Services division.
As part of the Parks and Neighborhood Services consolidation, Jones’s division is now responsible for a special events unit formerly under the jurisdiction of Parks and Recreation.
Putting the special events unit under the Neighborhood Services division is a “natural fit” because the two groups already had a working relationship, Jones said.
“We do things together anyway,” Jones said.
Neighborhood Services will lose two staffers. Parks and Recreation and Neighborhood Services will continue to be housed at City Hall on Ninth Street.
Lyn Corbett, who headed the Office of Youth Development, is leaving the city in the next couple months, said Hindolo Brima, a spokesman for the Parks Department. Corbett did not respond to a phone call Thursday afternoon. The city formed the Office of Youth Development in 2007.
The Parks-Neighborhood Services-Youth Development consolidation results in a Parks Department with more expertise relating to neighborhoods and youth, Brima said.
At the same time, the Code Enforcement Department has joined with the Community Development Department. Code Enforcement is now a division of the Community Development Department.
Max Fernandez, who was the director of Code Enforcement, said a decision has not been announced about his employment with the city government. While his job status is up in the air, Fernandez spoke positively about the consolidation.
“We’ll be able to share the resources of the two departments to use them more efficiently,” he said.
Fernandez noted that Code Enforcement personnel will be moving from their current headquarters on Meadowview Road to the Community Development Department headquarters on Richards Boulevard. Staff will move over in the next 60 to 90 days, he said.
In a third group of consolidations, the Human Resources and Labor Relations Departments have merged, said city spokeswoman Amy Williams.
In addition, Williams said the city is still examining the idea of creating an Office of Communications, in which public information officers would work under one office instead of at various departments.
Photos: Vincene Jones of Neighborhood Services and a Code Enforcement employee.
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.