Wilmington City Council skeptical about department studies conducted by mayor's office
The FY17 City of Wilmington budget has yet to be approved, but in its current form it includes $100,000 for Mayor Williams’ office of management and the budget to conduct studies of the departments of Finance and Public Works.
Wilmington City Councilman Bud Freel has long advocated conducting studies to seek out inefficiencies in city departments.
However, he’s not happy with where the money to do these studies has been allocated: the mayor’s office.
Mayor Williams’ Chief of Staff Gary Fullman says it makes more sense for the studies to be conducted internally: with 90% of data being derived internally anyway.
"We are not opposed to doing these studies," Fullman said. "In fact, one of our own plans was to perform these studies. What we are opposed to is spending $200,000 on studies that we have the skill sets to do internally through our Office of Management and Budget."
Fullman says there appears to be a level of distrust between council and the administration: with many believing that the studies won’t happen in the current administration.
“To the extent it’s necessary – which I don’t think it will be – we’ll spend the $100,000 on consultants," Fullman said. "We’ll do that so it pleases those. Because quite frankly the end result will be the same whether its external or internal.”
Council president Theo Gregory is among the skeptical.
“If I thought this administration wanted to do them, I’d be jumping at the gun," Gregory said. "I’m hopeful – should the next mayor come in – I’m hopeful that they mayor would do the studies.”
Gregory is among those challenging Williams in the September Democratic primary. He was also a proponent of a comprehensive review of the Wilmington Fire Department by an independent consulting group Berkshire Advisors that was released in January 2013, but implementation of some of its recommendations - including a reduction of staffing positions - was vetoed by mayor Williams’ administration.