Management, money changes may save city millions - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Management, money changes may save city millions

June 21, 2005

Albany- ASA employees had to find Steven Lee a later flight out of Atlanta Monday night after his Albany flight was canceled at the last minute.

If Albany had another carrier, Lee likely could have caught another flight instead of making a three hour drive.

Improving regional air service is the city's top goal, according to information collected by consultants. But to get the city to take off, some things need to change. Consultants told city leaders where they need to make changes to take Albany into the future and those changes could save the city more than $19 million over the next five years.

"You are in competition right now with other cities, other counties around you," said Rob Bradford, a partner with Capital Principals, the firm hired to come up with a strategic plan. "If you want to have a regional airport, if you want to have large businesses attracted here, you need to do certain things to get them to come."

The city paid $85,000 for the plan. Besides doing a better job managing the city's money and investing more money in capital projects, the work environment for employees must also change.

The plan says changes must be made in management style and to get rid of employees who aren't doing their job. Many city workers are hard-working and devoted, but the consultants say some do only what is required to keep their jobs.

"Don't pay people to be here for 30 years. Pay people to perform each year and make sure the city improves," said Scot Armstrong, another consultant with Capital Principals.

Tell employees, "if you do good, we're going to give you more money. And if you don't do good, then maybe you're not right for working with the city," Armstrong said.

They also say whoever takes over as the next city manager needs to run the city differently than past managers.

"How they actually incentivize employees to encourage employees to perform better," he said. "To reward employees who do a really good job."

Without important management and financial changes, the consultants say Albany won't be able to offer the kind of community that brings in big business and industry and the kind of recreation that makes people want to move here.

"By taking the step, Albany has, I think, proven they want to play on the big scene," Bradford said.

A scene that offers a better quality of life for the people who are already here.

feedback at news@walb.com