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HOPE press conference on employee efficiency suggestions

Ever think that the city’s employees probably have some good ideas for how they could conduct their business in a more efficient manner? Well, the Houston Organization for Public Employees (HOPE) thought so, and they conducted a three-week survey of their members to get their suggestions. Today they’re having a press conference to announce the results:

Press Conference Advisory

Houston Organization of Public Employees (HOPE)

Annise Parker, Gene Locke, Peter Brown, and Others to Award City Employees for Their Budget Efficiencies Ideas

WHAT: Press Conference hosted by HOPE, with guest speakers, including Houston’s 2009 Mayoral candidates

WHEN: 12:30 pm, Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WHERE: City Hall Rotunda (1st Fl.), 901 Bagby

BACKGROUND:

At a time when the city is facing a great challenge in providing quality public services with limited resources, many are turning to their greatest resources, their employees, to generate new ideas to streamline processes and improve efficiency. Despite pressure from the city employees union and members of city council, the city never implemented a process to hear frontline employees’ ideas.

The municipal employees union, HOPE, however, generated hundreds of efficiencies ideas in just three short weeks by surveying frontline municipal employees. If implemented, some ideas would result in millions saved, millions generated in new revenue, or, as HOPE’s President Melvin Hughes put it, “Better ways of doing what city employees already do.”

HOPE, along with its very special guests from the political and business communities, will be awarding six city employees for their contribution to this process. (Awards to be presented by Peter Brown, Annise Parker, Gene Locke, and others).

Good to hear that the Mayoral candidates will be there, since it’ll be up to one of them to implement these ideas. Stace has more.

UPDATE: And here’s the post-conference release:

The Houston Organization of Public Employees (HOPE) today held a press conference, with special guests Peter Brown, Gene Locke, Annise Parker, Councilmember-Elect Ed Gonzalez, and others, to award city employees for their outstanding contribution to the HOPE Bright Ideas contest. The contest, which surveyed city employees, was spearheaded by the municipal employees’ union when the city looked to outside contractors for efficiencies, instead of frontline employees—a free source of efficiencies ideas.

Employees generated concrete ideas that can be implemented today, and can result in huge savings and millions in new revenue. For example, stronger enforcement of dumpster permitting can result in $6 to $10 million in new revenues. Also, cross-training of inspectors across city departments and increased communication can make our residents and neighborhoods safer, and ensure that property owners are adhering to city codes and are being penalized or shut down when residents are at risk.

The survey process was completed in just three short weeks, during which over a hundred surveys were collected. HOPE presented the most profound findings at city council on June 9th, and received overwhelming support from council, including Council members Clutterbuck, Adams, Jones, Brown, Rodriguez, and Khan, who all chimed in to voice their backing for the city employees’ ideas. Council members Brown, Clutterbuck, and Rodriguez even submitted amendments to the city budget in the wake of HOPE’s presentation, including, respectively, creating a commission to promote efficiencies in the city, reviewing the city employees’ ideas and implementing viable suggestions, and cross training inspectors.

With substantial support from the public, politicians, and the media, the voice of city employees has become a force to be respected in the city budget process. Regardless of the top-down style of city management, frontline city employees have shown that they know best where efficiencies are. That’s why prominent community, business, and political leaders will be presenting awards to eight city employees for their contributions to this process. The recipients are:

Grand Prize: Jesse Springer, for his idea of coming up with an efficiencies committee
Runner-Up: Daniel Box, for his ideas on cross-training and data sharing
Runner-Up: Latonja Bolden, for her idea on improving oversight for contracting and procurement
Runner-Up: Sharon Rivers, for her idea of reassessing outdated fee schedules
Runner-Up: John Cantu, for his idea on inventorying surplus items
On behalf of the Aviation Department, HOPE Aviation District Representative Bobbie Jo Taylor, for the idea of increasing airport passenger fees to $4.50
On behalf of the Solid Waste Department, HOPE Solid Waste District Representative Zuri Kadirifu, for the idea of enforcing the dumpster permit ordinance, generating potential revenues of 6-10 million dollars
Honorable Mention: Calvin Miller, for producing the most surveys from frontline employees during the HOPE Bright Ideas Contest

The Houston Organization of Public Employees, or HOPE, is the municipal employees’ union in the city of Houston. HOPE strives to concurrently raise the standard of living for Houston’s city employees and ensure the highest quality public services for Houston’s residents, now and in the future.

Thanks to all who participated!

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