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Contracting vs In-House Staff - Recruit, retain and motivate your employees


Harry Lorick, P.E.
Lorick Associates Consulting
(310) 374-5777

Public Agencies can compete.

In Pinellas County this is exactly what occurred. There was strong pressure to contract costly mowing performed by the County employees to contractors. Prior to doing this County administrators allowed the employees the opportunity to compete in a bid to goal process. 

Employees were given one year to reduce cost per acre to mow below the cost of the contractors. Given the opportunity they took it. The first step was identifying opportunities on how to improve efficiency. Ideas included staging mowers closer to the job site, grouping area that needed to be mowed and purchasing the smaller equipment that could be maneuvered around obstacles in an area that was becoming much more urban. 

As an added motivation to improve the County developed an employee incentive program (EIP). Each employee involved in the bid to goal process would receive a percentage of the money saved by mowing in house versus contractors. 

In the end of the one year time frame the employees proved they could compete. They had reduced the cost per acre to below the established contractor price. Employees have received their incentive as a result. 

The process proved that public employees given the right tools and opportunity can get the job done in a cost and time effective manner. The presentation will demonstrate this as well as clearly define the bid to goal process, the employee involvement and how the County expects to continue to maintain the improvement. 

This project was recognized by both Florida APWA chapter and the Florida Association of County engineers and road superintendents (FACER) as being a positive and innovative project!

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