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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

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Willamette Week: City Hall Study Says Portland Utilities Crowded with Managers

March 7, 2014 | Willamette Week-- Portland commissioners have released a study showing which city bureaus have the lowest ratio of employees to managers—and two of the three worst offenders are the water and sewer utilities that could be removed from City Hall in a May vote.

The study, conducted by City Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick, examines how many bureaus have managers who oversee three or fewer employees.

The recommendations in the "span of control" study were released Wednesday. Most media attention has centered on the Portland Police Bureau—Novick and Hales suggested 23 command positions couldn't be justified, and the cop brass pushed back Thursday.

But a closer look at the data in the report shows that while police have 33 supervisors who oversee three or fewer employees, the Water Bureau also has 33, and the Bureau of Environmental Services has 29.

No other city bureau has more than 14.

Fish tells WW the glut of supervisors in utilities is a result of the water and sewer bureaus trying to keep their most talented engineers by offering them higher-paying jobs that automatically come with a managerial title.

He says the report shows that tactic needs to change.

"It's as simple as, by designating somebody a supervisor you could pay them more," Fish says. "It may be a laudable goal to attract and retain the best talent. But it's probably READ FULL ARTICLE