Written by David Greenwald Saturday, 16 June 2012 05:46
"This new position is a result of the city's ongoing effort to streamline and improve services and reduce administrative overhead," a press release from the city reported.
"As we've reduced the overall number of management positions by 22 percent over the last four years, we've also redefined many of the remaining positions, " City Manager Steve Pinkerton said in the release. "Instead of filling several vacant executive level positions, we've created the General Manager position to oversee and coordinate all development-related functions within the city."
"In addition, field operations which previously were in multiple departments will now be centralized under Herb's direction. He will also be in charge of the city's utility operation and be able to apply his considerable expertise in capital project management to lead the renovation and expansion of our water and wastewater utilities," the city manager continued.
Herb Niederberger has over 30 years of experience in the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and management of utility systems throughout California.
He spent the last 10 years as the Division Chief for the Sacramento County Department of Water Resources, where he managed the activities of the Sacramento County Water Agency and the Sacramento County Stormwater Utility.
He most recently oversaw Sacramento County's participation in the completion of the Freeport Regional Water Project, a 185 million gallon per day Surface Water Intake and Pipeline project, as well as Sacramento County's participation in the completion of the Vineyard Surface Water Treatment Plant.
Together these facilities provide surface water to Sacramento residents residing in areas stretching from Elk Grove to Rancho Cordova.
Mr. Niederberger, a former Planning Commissioner with the City of Rocklin, currently sits on two Sacramento County groundwater management authorities and previously was elected to the Natomas Central Mutual Water Company Board of Directors.
He is a Registered Professional Engineer and Licensed Land Surveyor in the State of California. He holds certifications issued by the California Department of Public Health as both a Grade 5 Water Treatment Operator and Grade 5 Water Distribution Operator. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from University of California at Irvine and holds an MBA from Golden Gate University, Sacramento.
The Vanguard first reported on this position back in early February. At that time it was reported that when the Public Works Director position came open about a year ago, the City of Davis did an internal search process and used in-house staff to advertise the position.
It was a basic position whose job description was: "To plan, direct, organize, coordinate, supervise and review the activities of the divisions comprising the Public Works Department; and to provide highly responsible professional and technical staff assistance to the City Manager."
Furthermore, the position would receive "administrative direction from the City Manager" and it "exercises direct supervision over management, professional, technical, and clerical staff."
The salary range for such a position was $111,000 to $135,000, plus pension and the typical city benefits plan.
But the position either drew no interest or did not get any quality applicants. So the city utilized Ralph Andersen and Associates, the same firm that they hired to do a search for the new City Manager, to find a replacement for the retired Bob Weir at Public Works.
As part of the reorganization and consolidation efforts, the city would create a new position entitled "General Manager of Utilities, Development and Operations."
As the name suggests, this is a much broader job description. City Manager Steve Pinkerton back in February told the Vanguard that the idea was that no longer are city government's functions simply in one area and this new position, which combines at least two existing positions and possibly more, is far broader than the current Public Works Director position.
The job description as presented by Ralph Andersen: "This newly created position of General Manager of Utilities, Development and Operations will be a key member of the City's Executive Leadership team. This position offers an exciting opportunity for a well-rounded individual with significant experience in construction and capital projects to oversee a variety of public works and community development programs for this community, including oversight of planning."
It would serve three functions - administration and community development, engineering, and operations.
The brochure further describes: "The General Manager of Utilities, Development and Operations will work to streamline permitting and planning procedures and, in general, coordinate and improve the regulatory process currently in place. Maintaining the character of the community is of vital importance to the residents of Davis. Working collaboratively with the City Manager, this position will contribute to comprehensive strategies that will ensure that Davis continues to encourage a healthy and diverse economic foundation yet, at the same time, preserve the small town character that makes Davis such a special place to live and work."
It goes on to say: "Frequent interaction with local, state and federal regulatory agencies, including representatives of local community organizations, will also be a major part of this position's expansive responsibilities. This position will also be actively involved with ensuring open and transparent dialogue with the community at-large."
"Importantly, this position will also take the lead in the development of systems, procedures, and standards for the evaluation and establishment of benchmarks for related programs and services provided by the City. Based on a recently completed management study and evaluation of the Public Works Department, the selected individual for General Manager of Utilities, Development and Operations will have significant focus on the implementation of recommendations resulting from this study."
It short, this position reflects a new way of the city organizing itself, with a recognition that the tasks of public works, in fact, overlap with the tasks of other departments.
The compensation range for this position is a good deal higher than the previous position - with the high range at $148,754 instead of the $135,000 for the Public Works Director position.
---David M. Greenwald reporting
Don't know Herb Jr. His dad's business partner was "aces". Fred Kendall was Public Works Director before Dave Pelz.
with a recognition that the tasks of public works, in fact, overlap with the tasks of other departmentsThis was a cheap shot... many key PW people have been extremely good in crossing departmental lines (in a good, constructive way) for over 30 years... particularly in development review.
I have yet to see strong benefits to much of the "re-org". I believe much of it has more to do with "doing something" as opposed to "doing the right thing(s)". There are elements to the reorg that I have seen to date, that are either ill-advised, and/or, in some cases, potentially "toxic". At some point, perhaps the person who I get much of my info from, will come forward and 'weigh-in', but I wouldn't hold your (or my) breath.
Oh, SODA... forgot to try to answer your first question. It's hard to tell exactly what the "new world order" will look like, but I will hazard some guesses... The new position will supplant the duties of the PW Director position and the CD&S Director positions. I suspect Parks/Facilities operations will be combined, as well. Given the expansion of the 'span of control' for a single person, I suspect that there will be a City Engineer and some sort of 'City Planner' position. If not, suspect the new occupant of the new position will 'burn out' fairly quickly.
My clues are based on the report of positions outlined in the CM report on the budget that was released earlier this week.
"Fred Kendall was Public Works Director before Dave Pelz."
Anyone know if former PW Director Fred Kendall was the brother of Marge Kendall, who was a great teacher (history, social studies, etc.) at Davis High School? I know she had a brother named Fred. I just don't know if the Public Works Director and her brother were the same person or just by coincidence shared the same name.
I am fairly certain that 100% of the students of Ms. Kendall (who never married) loved her. She was a great combination of funny, smart, stern and encouraging to her students. She taught a class which was called (if I recall correctly) 'world civilization,' and she was uniquely well qualified to teach that class, because she had travelled all over the world and experienced a gazillion cultures, foods, customs, etc.
I believe she was only in her early 60s when she died. I heard that she was in Europe on a cross-continental bike trip when she suffered a heart attack. You would not have known it looking at her -- Marge was short and fat -- but she had been a top-notch athlete as a young woman.
"The compensation range for this position is a good deal higher than the previous position - with the high range at $148,754 instead of the $135,000 for the Public Works Director position."
I'm not seeing the "good deal higher" difference between $135,000 paid in past years and $149,000 in future years, given inflation, even as modest as it is. This entire amount might be covered by the reduction in city costs of benefits for new hires, right?
Odd that someone with such Davis ties didn't show up on the first search. Someone should find out if it was shortcoming in out methods or just some personal timing issue with our new guy. Or, if the $14,000 made the difference?
Herb certainly looks super-qualified for the city's general needs as well as the specific duties of the position.
But, SODA has the real question: How many $135,000 positions were eliminated in this consolidation/reorganization. If the new position replaced three management posts, we're talking a half-million in savings.
Another management position at the cost of eliminating line employees who do the actual work...:( City has a whole lot of talented people..they should look to that in their re-org plans instead of creating "new" positions and hiring from the outside. How much did hiring Ralph Anderson Assoc. for this position cost us??