The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

June 3, 2010
Consolidation gains traction in Sacramento governments

Little by little, Sacramento city and county bigwigs are taking the first steps toward consolidation. Officials are even biting the bullet and taking on one of the toughest tasks -- showing the door to redundant administrators.

As part of the 2010-11 budget proposal he is unveiling today, City Manager Gus Vina is demoting or laying off four department heads -- labor relations, youth development, neighborhood services and either code enforcement or community development -- in the consolidation of those offices and agencies with other city departments. The savings: $2.7 million toward plugging a $43 million budget hole.

Vina is also looking at other internal mergers during 2010-11: establishing a maintenance department by bringing together parts of the general services, parks, utilities and transportation departments; creating a community relations department by consolidating the 311 call center, neighborhood services and e-government efforts; and by merging police and fire dispatching.

And city officials are looking at potential consolidations with Sacramento County on animal services, parking collections, vehicle abatement services, law enforcement storage and building inspections.

On the county side, it has dismissed the animal shelter director as a precursor to possibly getting out of the animal care business entirely and turning it over to the SPCA, the city or a combination of agencies that could be a regional partnership.

To help close a $181 million deficit, 16 of the 33 remaining jobs at the shelter would be cut. The county is figuring out how to keep open the gleaming $23 million shelter, which opened just six months ago and which is costing the county $1.6 million a year in bond repayments.

Merging agencies and functions can often save taxpayers money, and in these tough budget times, every dollar counts. That has made officials here and elsewhere much more open to the possibilities.

Consolidation may be painful now, especially for managers who lose their jobs. But in the longer term, it will put local governments on much more solid financial footing.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter