AUBURN — Councilors will get their first look Monday at a plan to combine the Planning, Economic Development, Community Development and Assessing departments.
"In Auburn, our staff is extremely cooperative," City Manager Clinton Deschene said. "We have to pull together and we meet together regularly. We don't work in silos, and everyone knows what everyone is doing. But our outward staff model, in that area at least, looks like silos. All four cooperate so much now, they share a wing of Auburn Hall."
Councilors are scheduled to review Deschene's proposed changes at a 6 p.m. workshop meeting.
Deschene said the reorganization would put Economic Development Director Roland Miller in charge of the combined Community Planning and Development department. Planning Director Eric Cousens would serve as deputy director.
Community Development Director Reine Mynahan and Assessor Renee LaChapelle would work under them, along with an assistant planner and an economic development specialist.
"There are a lot of people below that, but they'd stay mostly unchanged," Deschene said.
The new department would neither save the city money nor cost money but simply reflect the way the city actually works.
"I don't know what we've done in the past, but staff says this is very similar to the way the city used to run 20 years ago," Deschene said. "So we're not reinventing the wheel."
Miller did serve as Auburn's planning and code enforcement director from 1980 until 2001, when the economic development position was created.
Deschene said he would bring the idea back to councilors for a vote if they say they like it at Monday's workshop.
"Then staff would begin working internally on the process and implementation procedures," Deschene said.
If councilors approve, Deschene said the changes could be in place by midsummer.
"I want to have a big meeting with all of the staff involved," Deschene said. "We've met a couple of times, but I'd like to meet them and spend three to four hours and figure out who is going to do what."