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On Aug. 9, 2012, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Sue McCormick unveiled a much anticipated study, detailing the reorganization of DWSD, to the Board of Water Commissioners. The presentation calls for eliminating approximately 81 percent of the workers over five years.
The department plans to outsource billing, maintenance and other functions and hopes to save $900 million. The plan aims to slow the rate hikes, which have averaged 8 percent annually in recent years.
According to a statement, McCormick said the goal of the study was to find ways DWSD could become more efficient and effective, in addition to assessing financial savings. If adopted, the reorganization would be implemented over five years and would save DWSD roughly $149 million annually.
The complete DWSD presentation is available here (PDF, 67 slides).
“The assessment is a proposal that will assist us as we move towards realigning and reorganizing the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. The results will need to be confirmed to see if the recommended target is feasible,” says McCormick. “The department’s number one priority of quality and safety will not be sacrificed by this reorganization.”
The study, conducted over three months by EMA Inc., included staff interviews, a workforce analysis, training and technology reviews, and an operational and management assessment.
According to the presentation, the recommendation calls for the department to cut its work force 81% from 1,978 employees currently to about 374 over five years. An additional 361 outside employees would work for the department on contracts, bringing the total workforce to 735, about 63% below current levels. All job descriptions would be rewritten to be much broader than current ones to allow more flexibility. (Pages 37 and 38)
“The reorganization will help DWSD to reduce its debt and make capital investments without incurring additional debt and focusing on providing our core services to our customers at affordable levels,” McCormick added.
DWSD supplies drinking water to Detroit and 126 other communities in southeast Michigan. The Department provides wastewater services to Detroit and 76 other southeast Michigan communities.
For further reading, see Detroit Free Press Staff Writer John Wisely’s Detroit water department to cut 81% of workers under new proposal.