News & Announcements Updates
Share this page Print this page

News & Announcements

August 18, 2020
Reorganization Overview and FAQ's

The purpose of this proposed reorganization is to enhance collaboration, modernize and professionalize city government, and build on the many important demands and expectations of our community. The proposal will create better synergy and flexibility to address the City’s public health, economic and social needs.

A City reorganization has been a topic of discussion for many years. During a working session with the former City Manager of Las Cruces, the general agreement of the attendees, both Councilors and department heads, was that the City’s priority should be “to get our own house in order.”

It’s clear that there is no perfect organization chart. There is no set of operating relationships that will solve every problem without creating any new ones or that will answer every question without raising fresh ones. This proposal represents a beginning series of steps toward a more efficient and effective org chart; we recognize in making these proposals that they may very well need additional adjustments going forward and that, in any event, it will take between 2 and 5 years for the changes and benefits anticipated from the reorg to become fully realized.

It’s important to see this proposed reorganization in the context of the work of the last few years. Over the last several years we’ve made real progress in professionalizing, modernizing, and streamlining City government. The purpose of this proposed reorganization is to produce a City government that works better and does better work. The proposed reorganization aligns City operations with the overarching mission of City government. It will create more functional alignment and functional synergy. Over time it will not only save money, it will also create the capacity for City government to be more creative and innovative. The City will be better managed and will manage its responsibilities better. It will give City employees and managers the tools, resources, and reporting relationships, they need to succeed at their jobs every day. Most importantly, it will deliver better services to the people of Santa Fe every day.

As the reorganization was developed, it highlighted that the question we all were answering was – how do we leverage individual slices of City Government to reimage a whole that could enhance the quality of life for our employees and our community. This is an example of the core reason we are proposing a reorganization and hope it will aide in highlighting our “why”.

The Land Use and Planning Department isn’t in the business of issuing permits or inspecting plans—those are activities and very important outputs. But the real business that Land Use (and the proposed Community Development Team) is in is in producing livable neighborhoods where there are job opportunities, a range of housing options, and programs and projects that integrate the city’s deep and long-standing commitment to arts and culture. Together they are in the business of neighborhood and community livability and opportunity. Independently, it’s possible to see each one as a separate entity that pursues its own small slice of the larger purpose: Economic Development could be seen as being in the business of diversifying the economy and adding jobs; Tourism could simply be in the business of putting heads in beds;
Arts and Culture could be in the business of implementing the Culture Connects plan; Affordable Housing could be in the business of pursuing HUD dollars and offering support to people who need the City’s help to find affordable housing. But each of those would be a small slice of a much bigger purpose: Overall neighborhood livability, economic opportunity, housing choice, and art and cultural expression, all brought together to produce an enhanced quality of life through community development for the people of Santa Fe.

What is the reorganization? The proposed reorganization consists of 3 main re-organizations around the shared theme of Community: 

-Community Engagement

-Community Development

-Community Health and Safety

The City recognizes that this reorganization will not solve every problem. It is an attempt to align “like” City services into teams that will allow us to do things better—close gaps in service, reduce redundancies, use both equipment and personnel more effectively, improve accountability, and deliver better results. The changes will, in addition, allow us to do better things—by freeing up time, money, and personnel, we’ll be able to undertake projects and programs that we otherwise would not be able to do.

It should not be seen as anyone or any function being demoted or diminished. The goal is for everyone to gain through more cooperation and collaboration. The outcome of the reorg should be that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

What is the Council voting on?

The Governing Body will vote on Bill 2020-20, an Ordinance creating efficiencies, enhancing effectiveness, and eliminating silos by reorganizing certain city departments (link to legislative page) .

The Bill

 Brings together the Planning and Land Use Department, Office of Affordable Housing, Economic Development Division, Tourism Department and Arts and Culture Department into the Department of Community Development;

 Brings together the Fire Department, Police Department, Office of Emergency Management and Safety, Community Services Department, and the Recreation Division into the Department of Community Health and Safety;

 Brings together Constituent and Council Relations and the City Clerk’s existing staff, into an Office of Community Engagement; and

 Cleans up existing code by creating one section with all Departments, removing the creation of the “Housing and Community Development Department” that has not existed in years, removing the section on volunteer fire fighters, codifying the creation of the Information Technology & Telecommunications Department, and clarifying that the Internal Audit function may be accomplished through contracted services.

What is the benefit to the community?

Our community has changed over the years; so have the needs of our residents and the programs that support those needs. The reorganization is the first step in creating teams to better serve the public. For many years the City has been able to do a heroic job of maintaining services. But staff is often stretched thin and daily services and special projects often compete for scarce resources. The goal is to allow us to do things better—close gaps in service, reduce redundancies, use both equipment and personnel more effectively, improve accountability, and deliver better results. The changes will, in addition, allow us to do better things—by freeing up time, money, and personnel, we’ll be able to undertake projects and programs that we otherwise would not be able to do.

Is the City adding more Departments? Is the reorganization creating more bureaucracy?

The City is not increasing the number of departments, nor is it diminishing the importance of any of our departments. The City is proposing to combine and reduce the number of Departments. The whole concept is to facilitate collaboration. The goal is to elevate the importance and performance of departments by enabling them to work collectively to meet the needs of our community. The reorganization will not create more bureaucracy; the goal is to create efficiencies, improve accountability, and deliver better results.

Will this reorganization save money?

The immediate result of the reorganization should be improved service delivery, better use of resources, and better collaboration. The people of Santa Fe will experience improved service delivery through better management of existing resources. Over time, as departments collaborate, there should be cost savings due to a more efficient and effective use of equipment and resources.

Why is Parks and Recreation being split up?

The proposed reorganization goes back to a prior organizational structure where Parks and Recreation were not combined as a single unit. “Parks” functions and staff would become a part of Public Works to eliminate a constant problem that we deal with now: the current structure suffers from both redundancy and overlap in the department with responsibility for the City’s infrastructure—most noticeably in dealing with weeds, for example—and also for ambiguity regarding which department is responsible under different circumstances.

Moving Parks into Public Works will combine similar types of work, similar types of equipment, similar types of functionality and similar types of issues. Based on that combination, we expect to see more efficient and more effective service delivery.

Why is the existing Parks and Rec Department programming being assigned to “Recreation,” in a different department from Parks?

Separating Recreation from Parks also makes sense; while recreation sometimes occurs in parks, in practical terms the responsibilities are very different. Parks is focused on the physical maintenance and operational readiness of the City’s physical assets; Recreation is focused on large numbers of interactions with City residents who are “customers,” who use the different programs and activity offerings. In fact, Recreation, as a unit, accounts for a large number of important and highly valued program-based interactions and services provided to City residents. It has a role in health, in well-being, in youth and family development, in special event programming and more. Like a number of other City departments, Recreation could logically fit into one of several different locations on the City’s org chart. It directly relates to Community Health and Safety; it also supports the neighborhood livability mission of Community Development. It is a good example of the need for an org chart to allow for both formal and informal, direct and indirect working relationships.

Does the proposal allow MRC to remain a contained unit?

Yes, nothing will change from how it is currently managed. The proposal allows MRC to remain a contained unit. A contractor currently provides the programing support and the contract will continue under the new reorganization.

Can Public Works take over parks, medians, and building maintenance and otherwise leave Rec intact?

Staff has developed an approach that will keep the permitting portion of recreation within Public Works. The permitting ensures the City locations are permitted and ready for events, the proper coordination takes place. The parks and recreation events, will be elevated to City Sponsored events through the Community Engagement team. This allows events like the Easter Egg hunt and the Fishing Derby to be coordinated with many departments. The recreation and league programing will remain within recreation.

Most notably through this reorganization youth programming will be centralized into recreation. This will allow for consistent and robust offerings to all youth through a single program. This means that our Summer Recreation programs, after school programs will be developed in one area allowing them to be consistent and equitable.

Why is Land Use not a stand-alone department? Will a department head over Land Use just add to red tape and bureaucracy?

Land Use functions touch many departments. By including it in the Community Development Department, we hope to find efficiencies and create a more integrated approach to many services including Short Term Rentals, Business Licensing, Affordable Housing, and Development Planning. Functions currently assigned to the Land Use Director will remain the Land Use Director’s responsibility. In addition, the Director will also be part of a smaller, closeknit team with other directors of other, related organizational units.

What will happen to the budget if the reorg is not approved or is approved in a different form?

The Finance Department will work to align the budget and propose budget adjustments for any necessary changes.

Where will the Public Defender be located on the org chart?

The Public Defender’s organizational relationship is not established in City ordinance. If the reorganization is adopted, a budget adjustment will allow the position to be reassigned to the City Clerk’s Office of Community Engagement, so that with position will be less closely associated with management of the Police Department.


Proposed Reorganization Presenation 




Video & Webcasts
Official Travel Site of Santa Fe, NM
  • Member of Creative Cities
    Network since 2005