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Waiting for outcome
Oyanagi, parks director for six years, declined to comment on his prospects or the reorganization until the council decides whether to approve it.
Losing Oyanagi could shrink the pool of volunteers working with park programs, said Brian Rogers, chairman of the recreation and parks advisory commission. He told the council that Oyanagi had won grants for park projects and oversaw the building of many new facilities.
Dan Williams, president of the Brooklyn Park Athletic Association, said Oyanagi had eliminated city bureaucracy for him. He said that Oyanagi is always available to discuss association needs and that his group, representing 5,000 kids, has donated money for park programs.
Verbrugge said later that he has discussed “potential landing spots” with Kampf and Oyanagi, but noted they would need to compete with other applicants.
“I know people are concerned with individuals and so am I. But in a larger sense, we are talking about improving the overall efficiency of the organization,” he said. “We are not adding a layer of management. We are consolidating from four people [department directors] to two [deputy managers].”
The streamlining would reduce the number of people reporting to Verbrugge from 13 to seven. The two deputy city managers each also would oversee about seven supervisors and handle most day-to-day operations. That would free Verbrugge to work more closely with the City Council and to focus on organizational development and on improving ties to legislators, county officials and other key players outside City Hall, he said.
Verbrugge said the reorganization would “not affect front-line services,” although front line workers likely will have more to do. “I am confident in our division managers’ ability to make assignments and manage the workflow. We have strong leaders who know how to utilize their staff.”
“In the future,” he added, “more residents will be expecting government to identify more opportunities for efficiency. This a step in that direction.”
Jim Adams • 612-673-7658