County merges departments

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WEST CHESTER _ An announcement made to the Chester County Commissioners at yesterday’s
Sunshine meeting outlined the merger that has taken place between the county’s Facilities Management and
the Parks and Recreation departments.

The announcement was based on the findings of a study undertaken for the county that reviewed
ways in which Chester County’s Facilities Management costs could be saved without affecting services.
The preliminary recommendation was that all facilities be part of a central department for general
management and efficiency of scale.

The recommendations have already been implemented. The Facilities Management department is
already working closely with the Chester County Prison and Pocopson Home and the Facilities and Parks
departments have been working together on projects such as the Chester Valley Trail. An additional review
this year of the services provided by the two departments concluded that the Parks and Recreation
Department should come under the direction of the Facilities Department.

Chester County Commissioner Chair Carol Aichele said: “With the challenges that we knew we
would be facing for next year’s budget, we tasked the county’s senior staff and department heads to search
for ways in which savings can be made without cutting services. This merger is a great example, and will
allow our Facilities personnel do what they do best, and our Parks and Recreation people focus on the
wonderful programs and services that they provide for to the public.”

“The combination of the two successful departments will result in a savings of taxpayers’ dollars and
continued great service to the community,” said Commissioner Terence Farrell. “The estimated saving in
maintenance services is $400,000 a year through combined use of equipment and personnel.”
Some of the benefits include savings in maintenance of vehicles, better use of staff, better
coordination of capital planning, and joint purchasing savings. Also, energy and conservation efforts could
be improved through standardization of building automation systems and better energy accounting.

Commissioner Kathi Cozzone said, “I commend the county’s senior staff and leaders of the
Facilities Management and Parks and Recreation Departments for coming up with this approach to combine
responsibilities without compromising the outstanding service that each department provides for Chester
County citizens.”

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