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Limited Scope Management Analysis Of the Amador County General Services Agency


The Harvey M. Rose Accountancy Corporation is pleased to present this Limited Scope Management Analysis of the Amador County General Services Agency. This special study was conducted for the 1999-00 Amador County Grand Jury under authority granted in Section 925 of the California Penal Code, and pursuant to an agreement entered into between the 1999-00 Amador County Grand Jury and the Harvey M. Rose Accountancy Corporation (HMR) on February 8, 2000. In addition, the study was conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards, 1994 Revision by the Comptroller General of the United States, United States General Accounting Office.

The objectives of the special study were to "assess the management practices and structure of the agency for (its) effectiveness and to identify functions where further review by the Grand Jury is warranted." To fulfill these objectives, we produced an Interim Report on March 14, 2000 which identified matters which we believed were appropriate for further research by the Grand Jury. This document is included in the report as Attachment 1. In addition, the report includes findings and recommendations related to the GSA Organization Structure and Management Information System in the Department. These findings are summarized below.


The General Services Agency Director personally manages 10 staff, including one mid-level manager and 9 individuals who have supervisory or lead responsibility in a Department with 51.5 employees. In addition, although the Director is assisted with many administrative duties by the Department's Project Manager, he takes direct responsibility for personnel matters, all major contract negotiations, and many of the more complex analytical tasks required to support the Department. Further, the GSA Director acts as the principal liaison with the Board of Supervisors and other elected officials, and with department heads.

Based on our review, we believe the Director's current number of direct reports, and the scope of duties which he personally assumes, are excessive and inconsistent with the Board of Supervisor's practices in other large County departments. For example, the average number of staff per supervisor for four large County departments analyzed for this study showed that there were 5.4 staff for each supervisor authorized in FY 1999-00. This is significantly fewer than the 8.0 staff per supervisor authorized for GSA. In addition, GSA has one manager for every 24.8 staff, while the other departments range between one manager for each 10 staff and one manager for each 14 staff. The average for the other departments is one manager for each 12.2 staff, which is less than half the number of staff per manager assigned to GSA.

Accordingly, this report recommends structural changes to the General Services Agency that will accomplish the following goals.

  1. Retain strong Director control over budget, accounting and general management functions.
  2. Reduce the number of direct reports to the Director so that he can focus his energies on Board issues and more strategic matters.
  3. Logically group related activities under a small number of mid-level managers based on the general customer base that is served, and create an organizational structure which will be relevant in the future as the Department increases in size.
  4. Provide a structure that will encourage employee advancement, and provide in-house alternatives for replacing the Director should he choose to leave County employment.

In addition, with the recommended management re-structuring, the Director will retain strong fiduciary and oversight responsibility over operations, while reducing his direct reports and more logically grouping related activities.

Therefore, the Grand Jury should:

After receiving the report, the Board of Supervisors should:

The details of these recommended organizational changes are contained in the body of the report.

Although the proposed organizational changes will cost the County an additional $94,301 annually, we believe these additional costs are a fiscally responsible expenditure of funds by the County. In exchange, the General Services Agency will be better equipped to manage its resources, develop more strategic and customer focussed service delivery systems, recruit and retain mid-level management personnel, and more smoothly transition during periods of management change.


Critical to the efficient and effective operations of a department is a management information system which provides data necessary to monitor and assess financial condition, workload activity and performance measures which are central to accomplishing the organization's mission. Such a system communicates to staff "what we do, who our customers are, what our customers want, and how we are performing." The most important elements of a management information system include:

  1. Reports that provide budget and financial management data for comparing actual revenue and expenditure experience against the approved budget;
  2. Reports that measure patterns of customer demand and other activity generators;
  3. Reports that measure workload activity in the most essential areas of the operation; and,
  4. Reports that measure organizational performance against critical elements of program success.

Although financial management data is provided through the Auditor-Controller's Office on a regular basis, the GSA Director does not regularly receive activity or performance data for any of the major functions for which he is responsible. While some statistical reports are produced for the State, these are generally not designed for monitoring operations. In addition, because many of these reports are only produced on an annual basis, the Director does not have sufficient information to evaluate operations during the year.

Accordingly, the Director of the General Services Agency should:

There would be no cost to implement these recommendations. The GSA Director and the Board of Supervisors would be provided with more complete and timely information on the operations of the Department. With this information, the Director would be better able to assess departmental performance and to design programs to better serve customers.

Appendix A Contents