Best Practices 

 

CITY OF BALDWIN PARK
Mayor Fidel A. Vargas

The Executive Team

In the early 1990s, Baldwin Park was a city in transition. Plagued by an image of a gang-infested, crime-ridden town with unstable leadership, Baldwin Park embarked on an ambitious course to improve its internal and external reputation.

It began with an analysis of city services, pinpointing areas that needed the most help. The landmark decision in 1993 to operate without a city manager, utilizing a roundtable approach, catapulted Baldwin Park into a new era. Members of the roundtable, called the Executive Team, were empowered to evaluate and correct every activity and every city service ranging from Dial-A-Ride to special events to internal customer service.

On October 7, 1993, the City Council took a risk and set in motion an innovative strategy for city management by implementing the Executive Team plan. The E-Team consists of Directors of the Administrative Services, Human Services, City Clerk, Community Development, Public Works and Police Departments. Experimental for one year, the City Council and the E-Team established goals and determined priorities for the upcoming year, goals that were aggressive in improving the delivery of services to the residents of the community, aggressive in improving the residents' quality of life, and aggressive in improving the employee culture within the organization.

In October 1994, the City Council acknowledged the success of this strategy and approved its continuance until further notice.

The relationship between the E-Team and the City Council is one of continual communication. Study sessions are held prior to each city council meeting and team building workshops are held quarterly to reinforce the council's goals and objectives. Since the inception of the plan, front-line employees better understand the direction of their division, department and city. More projects are being completed. The citizens are being heard by way of City Council meetings held in the community.

Through the efforts of the E-Team and effective organizational communication, crime is down, new businesses are moving to Baldwin Park and the city passed a two-year balanced budget. An English and Spanish newspaper is published jointly by the city, school district and chamber of commerce. Enhanced public safety efforts include a citizens' academy, helicopter program, bicycle, motorcycle and foot patrols. A substation was established in Morgan Park, the city's largest community park, to combat the sale and use of illegal drugs and alcohol. The Human Services Department upgraded services by providing more activities for optimum participation. Public Works completed the construction of $3.5 million of capital projects in one year as opposed to $3 million completed in the previous six years.

The Executive Team is a concept that is unique to most cities in the United States. Considered an idea that would not last through budget season, it has conquered the test of time. It shows that with real and honest communication between department heads, things can get done without a city manager.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (818) 960-4011

Return to Previous Page.

 

Home  Search jwelfley@usmayors.org

The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352


Copyright ©1996, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.