Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement
Willmar Municipal Utilities Commissioner Matt Schrupp, right, speaks Monday during the meeting when the commission approved a request for proposals for an organizational assessment. At left is Commission Vice President Steve Salzer, who presided Monday. (Tribune photo by Gary Miller)

Willmar, Minn.'s Utilities Commission OKs seeking proposals for organizational review

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission has approved a request for proposals which will be sent to companies interested in conducting an organizational assessment of the utilities.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The RFP, as it is called, describes five areas that the commission wants assessed.

The request for proposals was recommended by Commissioner Matt Schrupp who met with utility staff members during the past few days to draft the scope of services to be specified in the request. Schrupp served on the commission's Labor Committee last year and also was reappointed to that committee for 2012.

The commission had tabled the discussion Thursday at a special meeting because the scope of services had not yet been written and proposals presented by three firms offered different levels of service. The firms had been contacted by Commissioner Dave Baker in December, but there was no written proposal specifying the objectives for the firms to fulfill.

Baker contacted the firms apparently in his role as a member of the commission's Labor Committee. Baker was not at Monday's meeting. He has been elected last week to serve as president of the commission this year. He served as vice president last year.

After the commission voted Monday to take up the matter again from Thursday, Vice President Steve Salzer asked which firms would be solicited to perform the assessment.

Schrupp said requests would definitely be sent to the three firms that have already submitted proposals. He said the request would also be given other interested firms.

Commissioner Dan Holtz suggested the commission set the selection criteria and the timeline for doing the work.

Commissioner Carol Laumer asked City Attorney Rich Ronning how detailed the requests should be.

Ronning said the commission's RFP is not governed by state municipal contracting law. He said the commission can accept the proposal based on whatever criteria it wants to establish, unlike acquiring tangible assets.

"You do not have to accept the low proposal. It's really up to you to establish what criteria are important to you and set out what you want to in the proposals,'' he said.

Schrupp said the proposals would be evaluated on how firms meet the objectives. Evaluation would not all be based on cost.

"Cost is not the only objective but how well do they meet the objectives that we've tried to outline,'' he said.

The organizational assessment is not to be confused with an investigation process that began Dec. 12 of possible misconduct of a utility employee or employees when the commission placed General Manager Bruce Gomm on administrative leave.

On Dec. 27, the commission approved the recommendation by the League of Minnesota Cities of a St. Cloud law firm to conduct an independent investigation of utility management. That investigation is being paid for by the city's insurance carrier, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.

Willmar Municipal Utilities is an organization with 58 employees, an annual budget of

$26 million and serves about 20,000 people.

The assessment specified in the RFP will cover:

n Organizational structure.

n Job description review and analysis.

n Identifing vulnerable areas regarding current and future regulatory issues.

n Succession planning and developing a plan for smooth transition as needs change.

n Understanding the employee culture and current state of the organization.

The commission will receive a recommended organizational chart; a list of recommended changes to current job descriptions; job descriptions for new or refocused positions; recommendations on potential compliance issues; succession methods and recommendations; and assessment of the organization's culture.

The commission retains the right to cancel the RFP at any time and has no obligation to act on any or all proposals. Proposals are due by 4 p.m. on Jan. 25.

In other business Monday, the commission adopted the 2012 meeting schedule. Commission meetings are at 11:45 a.m. on the second and fourth Monday of every month except May 29, Oct. 9 and Nov. 13 when the meeting will be moved to Tuesday in observance of national holidays on the preceding Mondays.

Also, commissioners reappointed Schrupp and President Dave Baker and appointed Laumer to the Labor Committee, and voted to appoint Salzer, Holtz and Jerry Gesch to the Planning Committee.

With the resignation pending of Commissioner Doug Lindblad, commissioners agreed to take no action on appointing that position to a committee until someone is named to replace Lindblad.

Lindblad had submitted his resignation from the commission at the end of 2011, but he was persuaded by Mayor Frank Yanish to stay on the commission for another three months while the commission deals with personnel and structural issues.

Interim co-manager Wes Hompe requested a Planning Committee meeting, possibly next week, to discuss the power plant improvement project. Hompe hoped to present information to the commission the following week.

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission has approved a request for proposals which will be sent to companies interested in conducting an organizational assessment of the utilities.

The RFP, as it is called, describes five areas that the commission wants assessed.

The request for proposals was recommended by Commissioner Matt Schrupp who met with utility staff members during the past few days to draft the scope of services to be specified in the request. Schrupp served on the commission's Labor Committee last year and also was reappointed to that committee for 2012.

The commission had tabled the discussion Thursday at a special meeting because the scope of services had not yet been written and proposals presented by three firms offered different levels of service. The firms had been contacted by Commissioner Dave Baker in December, but there was no written proposal specifying the objectives for the firms to fulfill.

Baker contacted the firms apparently in his role as a member of the commission's Labor Committee. Baker was not at Monday's meeting. He has been elected last week to serve as president of the commission this year. He served as vice president last year.

After the commission voted Monday to take up the matter again from Thursday, Vice President Steve Salzer asked which firms would be solicited to perform the assessment.

Schrupp said requests would definitely be sent to the three firms that have already submitted proposals. He said the request would also be given other interested firms.

Commissioner Dan Holtz suggested the commission set the selection criteria and the timeline for doing the work.

Commissioner Carol Laumer asked City Attorney Rich Ronning how detailed the requests should be.

Ronning said the commission's RFP is not governed by state municipal contracting law. He said the commission can accept the proposal based on whatever criteria it wants to establish, unlike acquiring tangible assets.

"You do not have to accept the low proposal. It's really up to you to establish what criteria are important to you and set out what you want to in the proposals,'' he said.

Schrupp said the proposals would be evaluated on how firms meet the objectives. Evaluation would not all be based on cost.

"Cost is not the only objective but how well do they meet the objectives that we've tried to outline,'' he said.

The organizational assessment is not to be confused with an investigation process that began Dec. 12 of possible misconduct of a utility employee or employees when the commission placed General Manager Bruce Gomm on administrative leave.

On Dec. 27, the commission approved the recommendation by the League of Minnesota Cities of a St. Cloud law firm to conduct an independent investigation of utility management. That investigation is being paid for by the city's insurance carrier, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.

Willmar Municipal Utilities is an organization with 58 employees, an annual budget of

$26 million and serves about 20,000 people.

The assessment specified in the RFP will cover:

- Organizational structure.

- Job description review and analysis.

- Identifing vulnerable areas regarding current and future regulatory issues.

- Succession planning and developing a plan for smooth transition as needs change.

- Understanding the employee culture and current state of the organization.

The commission will receive a recommended organizational chart; a list of recommended changes to current job descriptions; job descriptions for new or refocused positions; recommendations on potential compliance issues; succession methods and recommendations; and assessment of the organization's culture.

The commission retains the right to cancel the RFP at any time and has no obligation to act on any or all proposals. Proposals are due by 4 p.m. on Jan. 25.

In other business Monday, the commission adopted the 2012 meeting schedule. Commission meetings are at 11:45 a.m. on the second and fourth Monday of every month except May 29, Oct. 9 and Nov. 13 when the meeting will be moved to Tuesday in observance of national holidays on the preceding Mondays.

Also, commissioners reappointed Schrupp and President Dave Baker and appointed Laumer to the Labor Committee, and voted to appoint Salzer, Holtz and Jerry Gesch to the Planning Committee.

With the resignation pending of Commissioner Doug Lindblad, commissioners agreed to take no action on appointing that position to a committee until someone is named to replace Lindblad.

Lindblad had submitted his resignation from the commission at the end of 2011, but he was persuaded by Mayor Frank Yanish to stay on the commission for another three months while the commission deals with personnel and structural issues.

Interim co-manager Wes Hompe requested a Planning Committee meeting, possibly next week, to discuss the power plant improvement project. Hompe hoped to present information to the commission the following week.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
randomness