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Review recommends changes in how the District operates

Consulting company offers up 36 recommendations to council

A shift in how the District of Houston conducts its internal operations and how it serves Houston residents could be in the offing, indicates a summary of a report released at the Oct. 19 council meeting.

Council wants first to fill its vacant chief administrative officer position so that the person plays a key role in recommendations arising from an organization review conducted by a consulting company earlier this year.

And until that happens council has the full review written by the Innova Strategy Group tucked away.

“The full report remains incamera for now as council has not yet decided on all of the recommendations and is waiting for a new chief administrative officer to provide advice,” said corporate services director Holly Brown in outlining council’s decision.

But council did in August amend one of the District’s hiring policies as recommended and that was to remove its involvement in the hiring of senior managers with the one exception being the District’s chief administrative officer.

“That recommendation was actioned to support the recruitment efforts for a director of finance and empower the new chief administrative officer to choose the people they want on their team with council involvement,” said District corporate services director Holly Brown.

“It will also streamline hiring processes as senior managers will no longer interview with council (except for the chief administrative officer).”

As of right now, in addition to the chief administrative officer and a finance director, the District is also looking for an operations director. Based on the new hiring policy, it will be the new chief administative officer making the hiring decisions for a finance director and operations director.

The released summary consists of 36 items with either a high, medium or low priority divided into five categories.

It recommends, for example, that the District develop an employee attraction strategy, holds events to recognize employee successes and celebrates success of projects and milestones with staffers, council and the community.

One recommendation calls for evaluating opportunities to boost revenues while cutting expenses and another suggests there should be an evaluation of how grants from senior governments or other outside entities are pursued.

Another recommendation would have the District review and compare the fees it charges for recreational services.

Contracting out planning and development functions is recommended as is human resources duties.

The District should also conduct a risk and liability review of the Houston airport, indicates another recommendation.