Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance (LEAP) Fund for performance audits
As the search to provide high quality services with fewer resources intensifies under pressure from budgets and citizens alike, a growing number of local governments are considering shared administrative services to meet this need. And because of the complexities involved, these organizations are turning to formal contractual agreements to structure these services.
Sharing administrators and executives can help smaller governments recruit and afford more experienced administrators than they may be able to do individually. Likewise, for small organizations, a full time professional administrator may not be practical, but sharing the administrator’s time can be ideal. The benefits of shared administrators are not limited to the top tiers of management, but can result in savings and service improvement for operations management and even key support positions or highly technical jobs.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) encourages governments to examine the benefits of alternative service delivery involving shared services and suggests that successful implementation should include the following steps and considerations:
- Get started: use online and local resources to identify shared services information. Position your organization to establish effective relationships with other entities.
- Study the feasibility: identify costs, benefits and risks of a shared services agreement. Define your goals and objectives and highlight potential barriers.
- Develop an agreement: agreements between collaborating communities or governments should include the legal basis for the relationship, liability, cost allocation (direct and indirect), financing, governance structure, membership and protocols, service level agreements, time period covered, dispute resolution/mediation, and termination and opt-in clauses.
- Implement the partnership: ensure continuity of service and a seamless transition.
- Monitor on an ongoing basis: treat the agreement like a contract and ensure all terms and conditions are met.
- Engage in long-term review: reassess the agreement to ensure it still meets service needs and environmental conditions. Adjust and renegotiate as appropriate
For additional information and detail on shared services agreements, visit the Government Finance Officers of United States and Canada website.
Superintendents and Treasurers
Two schools in Fairfield County, Berne Union and Walnut Township Local schools, join two Wayne County schools, Orrville City Schools and Rittman Exempted Village Schools, in sharing Superintendents and Treasurers.
The Buckeye Union and Walnut Township have a combined student population of approximately 1,600 students and expenditures of approximately $16,000,000. For the school year 2011-2012, the reported contract for the Superintendent is $140,000. The Orrville City Schools and Rittman City Schools have a combined student population of approximately 2,800 students and expenditures of approximately of approximately $24,800,000. For the calendar year 2008, the first year of the sharing agreement in Wayne County, the reported contract for the Superintendent was $98,700.
Transportation and Food Service Management
Two school districts in southeastern Ohio, Buckeye Local School District (Jefferson County), and Harrison Hills City School District (Harrison County), have entered into a partnership to raise efficiency and effectiveness of food service and transportation service. Harrison Hills and Buckeye Local formed a joint position of Director of Operations (Harrison Hills) and Business Manager (Buckeye Local). The districts divide the hours of the position equally.
The two districts cover a combined area of 511 square miles with 44 regular education busses and a student population of approximately 3800. The two districts collectively operate nine cafeterias and daily serve approximately 1,900 breakfasts and 2,300 lunches.
Each district saves an estimated $50,000 annually in compensation costs when compared to operating separately without a joint position.
Education Service Center Consortium
The Buckeye Shared Services Consortium is a consortium of Educational Services Centers (ESC) in Ohio for the purpose of sharing services and purchasing products. Any ESC in Ohio can join. The objectives of the consortium are to become a true service model, eliminate duplication of service, and promote each ESC’s cooperative programs. For additional information contact Dewey L. Chapman via email.
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Mecklenburg County outsourced IT staff to area agencies including the City of Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.