• Pacific Grove facing more restructuring

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    The City of Pacific Grove is facing another round of restructuring, and this time it involves two major areas: the Golf Links and public works, with possible “trickle down” to other departments.

    Public Works Director Mike Zimmer and others met with various employee groups over the business day, Oct. 17 to advise  employees of the changes that may be coming.

    Frutchey believes the City needs to outsource management of the Golf Links. “Successful management and operation of the course requires a different set of capabilities” than those typically found in the public sector, he said. These capabilities include marketing, responding to competitive forces, innovation, and rate setting, among others. The result might be the outsourcing of eight or nine full-time jobs as well as 15-18 part-time jobs, some of which are as few as eight hours per week.

    When the City retained Golf Convergence as a consultant in 2012 to examine ways in which the City could raise revenue and reduce expenditures at the Golf Links, a number of steps were recommended and a goal of 6 percent of golf operational costs in indirect administrative costs (human resources, accounting, payroll, legal etc.) was set. “We have met most of those goals” said Frutchey, “and it’s not enough.” The pro’s duties were expanded but his pay was not. The restaurant, though it cost a lot to upgrade the building and the parking lot, is profitable, he said. The course has been cleaned up and the restrooms repaired.

    Though Crespi Pond is now empty, Frutchey pointed out that it is the dry time of year and the empty pond needs to be cleaned which is easier if it’s empty. The project awaits permission from the Coastal Commission.

    The City is working with NOAA to acquire the building it now occupies which would allow the expansion of the golf course (which was recommended by Golf Convergence), but that awaits a decision by the U.S. Congress.

    Free and reduced price golf has been reorganized so that prime tee times are not “given” away.

    But the industry as a whole continues to slump, and Pacific Grove Golf Links is not immune.
     
    “We need to make some $1.5 million in improvements before we can even implement the non-potable water project to water the golf course,” said Frutchey. “The golf fund doesn’t have it.”

    Changes are going to be needed in the public works department, too, he said, so they have decided to make all the changes at once. These might include turf maintenance at the cemetery, janitorial services, street striping and more. Equipment maintenance, he pointed out, is already shared with Monterey. Building maintenance will remain as is because of institutional knowledge which might be lost.
     
    Still, says Frutchey, he recognizes that the people who work for the golf course and public works should not have to bear the entire burden. Early retirements were offered within the last 18 months. Moving employees around would run up against “bumping rights,” or seniority issues. He is hoping for some options to be negotiated with the prospective private sector managers: Would they hire our people for at least a year? Could we offer a severance package? Could we offer outplacement assistance, where the displaced employees are offered help with resume-writing and other aspects of finding a new job? Would the employees themselves even consider putting together a package to run things?

    The process could begin with the Nov. 6 City Council meeting, when the Council will be asked to consider whether to direct staff to look into the possibilities and issue a request for proposal. The RFP would needrefinement, and could be sent out in November with responses expected in December. Responses would need to be evaluated and a candidate selected. The transition would likely not be complete until February, 2014.

    “All the changes and cuts we’ve made have just not been enough,” said Frutchey.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 17, 2013

    Topics: Breaking News, Front PG News

    One Response to “Pacific Grove facing more restructuring”

    1. Karin Locke Says:
      October 18th, 2013 at 7:17 am

      Pacific Grove has a treasure and this article is the culmination of at least two years of efforts to save the golf links for our town. Watching the heroic efforts to develop a profit in this economy where most people have to tighten their belts by the city, committees, golf staff, and residents and still coming to this end is so sad. The Golf consultant initially recommended this, everything was done to save it, and it is a shame to see it finally come to this where we lose our jewel and jobs.

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