Oxnard city reorganization moves ahead, consultants engaged, first $400,000 expenditure approved

By George Miller

At a special Council meeting on 9/30/14, City Manager Greg Nyhoff further unveiled the promised city review and reorganization project (unanimously approved by City Council). Digging in deep, after four months on the job, he last week announced the replacement of Human Resources Director Michelle Tellez with Assistant City Manager (formerly Interim City Manager) Karen Burnham.


Oxnard City Manager Greg Nyhoff (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Nyhoff proposed:

-Split up Public Works into Utilities and Streets (to be combined with General Services) and now seeks a Utilities Director. Interim Director Roshanian will be  Interim Director of Streets, reporting to General Services. Reasons cited for the  moves were: the drought crisis, problems plaguing both Water and Wastewater      Depts. and too wide a span of control for one Director, considering all of that.

– Previously Moved Karen Burnham (Asst City Mgr.) to run Human Resources.

– Seeks to establish virtual multi-dept. teams to help eliminate functional  “silos” via a teamwork approach and more shared objectives/performance measurements.

– Assigns Nyhoff 12 direct reports- lost one Assistant City Mgr. to focus on Human Resources, others heavily loaded. Stretched thin. Assistant City Managers are also heavily loaded with work.

                              A top level organizational chart which (see below):



Bob Deis, Management Partners (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Andrew Belknap, Management Partners

Two consulting firms were engaged to support this effort: Management Partners –Andrew Belknap (more detail) and Bob Deis (More) — and Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP (Public Law Group®)- Dania Wong.

They will assist with the Organizational review, strategic plan. Clean up organization, policies, procedures.- instill accountability, improve customer service, then future vision plan to meet challenges. Phase I $400K, II 100K, then III.

Bob Deis appears to be the main Principal doing the assignment for Management Partners.

The overall battle plan has three sequential phases, each building upon the previous one:

I- Provide support to operating depts., ensure accountability, via compliance with policies, procedures laws, ethical and good business practices.- self-regulating good governance. MP will be training, gathering information, attempting to “engage stakeholders”, review organization, make recommendation sand assist with implementation.


Bob Deis, Management Partners (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Management Partners claims to have done significant work for all the top 20 cities in CA and for 70% of cities with over 100,000 in population. The firm was founded
in 1994, has three offices and about 80 professionals. Some clients cited were Sacramento, Long Beach, Santa Ana and Stockton, which is a special case because of its bankruptcy.

II- Helping to ensure excellent customer service.

III- Innovation and focus on planning for long-term needs.

City Council would provide input to and oversight on all this.

Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai’s effort will be more specialized legal work, focusing on labor and employment-related investigations.  They’ll also identify and help improve policies and procedures, as well as provide legal assistance and coordination to the Human Resources Department.

Oxnard Candidate Forum 10-1-14 051

Councilman Perello’s shirt

Council members seemed quite enthusiastic about the plan, but Perello cautioned against overuse of consultants and complained about the money drain, as well as disapproving of Management Partners’ previous work on the ethics training. He even paraphrased Ronald Reagan, saying that we should “trust (consultants), but verify.”  Mayor Pro-Tem Ramirez alluded to multiple DA investigations brought about by bad policies or not following them, to point out the need of what Management partners would assist with and this is a serious attempt to put the city’s house in order. She mentioned that the extended lack of a City Manager hadn’t helped.  Councilwowan Padilla was for it. Mayor Flynn looked back at the many City scandals as a “cancer” and suggested that this project is like “removing tumors.” He asserted that “1-2 years later the city is still in therapy, rehabilitation”… “X-ray revealed that not all the cancer was eradicated.”  He further opined that the patient can’t make a full recovery in a single step, which is the reason for the phased project. The Mayor further said the “Council sets policy” and that Mr. Nyhoff will “restore the corporate structure … and implement policy.” He said he was tickled pink at the direction things were taking and that this was not a reference to Councilman  Perello’s shirt (left).

Public comments from people such as Councilman candidate Dick Jaquez, Local 501 Union Steward Roger Brooks, activist Dan Pinedo, resident Bill Terry and Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Lindeholm reflected mostly very positive support for the initiative, praising honeymooning City Manager Greg Nyhoff – and the Council-  for hiring and supporting his efforts. Some reservations were expressed about what might appear to be a heavy reliance on outside consultants. Not so approving was Nancy Calderone, who warned about past waste of money on consultants. Danny Carrillo of SEOIU 721 warned that the city must protect whistleblowers. Another woman said that whistleblowers who report police problems need to have attorneys assigned.

One later asked CJ: are they advising  or running the city? The $400,000 initial price tag is a stiff tariff, but if it will actually do what it promises is not so expensive. A competent consulting firm can greatly assist such efforts, so we’ll see what happens.


Name Date Duration Agenda Minutes Video
Special City Council Meeting September 30, 2014 04h 44m Agenda Minutes Video

Read Nyhoff letter: Organizational Assessment and Phase I Restructuring: http://oxnard.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=46&clip_id=2881&meta_id=143273

  last week’s CJ Council report


George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.


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