City Bureaucracy Under Stewart to Grow Again While Concerns Rise Over Weakening of Human Rights and Opportunities

Press Pool Story

stewart2350aThe Republican-dominated City Council approved a city reorganization plan proposed by Mayor Erin Stewart (R) that, once again, increases the number of city departments, while placing the city’s Human Rights and Opportunities Officer and Commission under the newly-created “Human Resources Department”.

The City’s Human Rights and Opportunities Officer and Commission have historically provided oversight over, among other things, city hiring and promotion. Concerns have risen that moving Human Rights and Opportunities into a position subordinate to the Human Resources Department – the part of city government that manages hiring and promotion processes – may weaken the ability of Human Rights and Opportunities to perform this oversight.

The reorganization plan increases the number of city departments to fifteen. Previous Stewart administration changes, approved by the City Council, increased the number of city departments from six up to fourteen. The reorganization now approved shuffles city departments. Two current departments have become part of one of the three new city departments under the plan, increasing the total number of departments from fourteen to fifteen.

The reorganization also creates, in ordinance, separate divisions within the Public Works Department, a change from their previous status under ordinance as a single department unit.

The City Charter requires a two-thirds majority vote of the City Council to approve city reorganization plans.