Detroit water department unveils reorganization plan

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Sue McCormick has released a study detailing the reorganization of DWSD that could cut 80 percent of staff and save Detroit roughly $149 million annually.

DETROIT, MI, Aug. 10, 2012 -- Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Sue McCormick has released a study detailing the reorganization of DWSD that could cut 80 percent of staff and save Detroit roughly $149 million annually.

She submitted the study to the Detroit Board of Water Commissioners on Wednesday for approval.

McCormick said the goal of the study was to find ways DWSD could become more efficient and effective. If adopted, the reorganization would be implemented over five years.

“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,” said 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.

“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.

Detroit currently has 1,978 employees. If the Board adopts the proposal, the staff would be trimmed to only 374 over the next five years through a combination of attrition, outsourcing and layoffs. An additional 361 people would still work for the department through outsourcing contracts.

If the department does nothing, rates are expected to go up by 16 percent to 20 percent in the next four years, McCormick said.

It will cost the department an estimated $211 million over five years to pull off the reorganization, including training and other technology upgrades. Among the departments being considered for outsourcing: security, rate setting, grounds and facilities maintenance, office cleaning and garbage collections, some lab functions, fleet repairs, payroll, legal, print shop and billing.

Those departments cost $32 million a year now, and the plan cuts that to $7 million a year with outsourcing.

The complete DWSD presentation is available on the department’s website at www.dwsd.org and can be found at Announcements and Media.

More in Technologies