April 11, 2012

Transition Task Force Approves Budget, “Priority Task Map” Gets Adjusted

The Transition Task Force approved a $149,050 budget at its meeting last week.

Questions about differences between “Task Force costs” and “transition costs” reflected some uncertainty about how to define expenses among Task Force members. Borough Mayor Yina Moore was among those who called for clarification, and Borough Administrator Bob Bruschi agreed that “we need numbers.”

“The budget is for the work of the Transition Task Force and is a subset of our total transition costs,” said Task Force member and Township Mayor Chad Goerner after the meeting. “It includes consulting costs, legal costs, and other costs directly attributed to the work of the task force.”

“We’re sort of working with two budgets here,” said Acting Township Administrator Kathy Monzo at the meeting. “Some expenditures that were listed in the Task Force budget were moved to transition costs.” Ms. Monzo reported that the two budgets were being tracked separately, and that there would be “updates as we go forward.”

“There will be other costs associated with the transition, and these were estimated in the Consolidation report,” she added. These “other costs” will come out of municipal budgets, and, at the- meeting, Task Force Chair Mark Freda noted that “each administrator is carefully watching what is being spent” and appropriately identifying each expenditure. Some of these costs will be eligible for state reimbursement.

Also at the meeting, Center for Governmental Research consultant Joe Stefko reported that he would be sending an updated “priority task map” in the coming days. The map, which may be found online, provides a timeline for the sequence of steps to be taken in preparation for consolidation. Mr. Stefko described it as “a living, breathing document” that changes every couple of days. An immediate example was his suggestion that the deadline for “designating folks in key administrative positions for day 1” be moved from May 15 to some time in April, “so governing bodies can implement the process by mid- May.”

It was also agreed that a review of the new municipality’s organizational structure will occur in mid-May.

Jim Levine reported that the Personnel Subcommittee was working on devising severance arrangements and work force sizing options, and would bring a “full proposal” to the Task Force’s next meeting. Mr. Stefko concurred with the subcommittee’s interest in giving current employees “a very full picture.” Ms. Monzo noted that “cross-pollination” had already begun in some areas, where employees from both the Borough and the Township have the same insurance coverage.

Facilities subcommittee member Bernie Miller called the Task Force’s attention to Phase 2 of the timeline, which will look at the housing of the new administration. He reported that the committee is working with KSS Architects to determine the costs of an updated plan. While the Township has approved the KSS contract the Borough has not, and there was some uncertainty about whether or not KSS had begun to work.

A joint Borough/Township meeting with the Task Force was scheduled for Tuesday, April 10, after press time.