Commissioners approve Evans’ consolidation plan
Detroit — Wayne County commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to give final approval to county Executive Warren Evans’ plan to consolidate some county departments, shaving $3 million a year from a $70 million structural deficit.
The commission acted at a regular board meeting Thursday morning, two days after meeting as a committee of the whole and giving preliminary approval to the cost-cutting proposal.
“This is the third reorganization that I’ve been here for and I very much appreciate the negotiations, the coming together of minds (with the administration) on this,” said Commissioner Tim Killeen, D-Detroit, before the vote. “I think there was a lot more depth to this reorganization plan than I’ve seen in previous ones.
“I think overall it bodes well as the commission and the executive branch are trying to ... to get the county on a better path.”
Evans said he’s pleased the commission approved the plan, which he unveiled last month. It calls for consolidating three departments and a division.
“(The plan) represents the ‘new Wayne County’ — how we need to work to provide services more efficiently and effectively for residents and businesses to live and grow ...,” he said in a statement Thursday. “I appreciate the commissioners’ vote of approval and I look forward to continuing to work with them to move the county forward.”
Under the plan, the county will combine its Children and Family Services, Health and Human Services and Veterans Services departments into a new department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness.
Evans’ plan also calls for shifting the Department of Economic Development Growth Engine’s functions to the Wayne County Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public agency. Evans has said the move would eliminate 50 jobs.
Earlier this month, county commissioners raised questions about what they believed were potential violations of the county charter in the plan. But by Tuesday, Evans and his staff had made some changes to address commissioners’ concerns.
For example, the Senior Services Department was to be combined into the same department as Children and Family Services, Health and Human Services and Veterans Services. But on Tuesday, the plan had senior services reorganized into a separate department overseen by the director of the new health and community wellness department.
The reorganization is one of several cost-cutting measures Evans has launched to shrink a financial shortfall since taking office in January.
The county’s structural deficit stems from an underfunded pension system and a $100 million drop in annual property tax revenues since 2008.