Lee County in Iowa consolidated two sets of county offices – the auditor’s and treasurer’s offices – and reduced staff to reduce spending and increase efficiency. The majority of the savings generated from the move, however, has been attributed to job cuts.
Lee County saved a reported $470,000 when certain public services were merged and moved to new locations. Of that total, $300,000 was generated by savings in wage cuts when staff numbers dropped. Not only were a few jobs cut to support the merger, but the newly created auditor’s office took over the board’s secretarial duties to help eliminate another job, saving $51,000.
Due to a variety of factors, no one lost a job as a result of the consolidation strategy. Rather, the merging of the departments enabled the same work to be done more effectively with less people. Then when individuals chose to leave or retire, they did not have to be replaced with a new full-time staff member. Rather their duties were absorbed into the more efficient business model and redistributed among existing workers.
The estimated savings since the consolidation was completed include:
- $4,600 saved in the recorder’s office in 2012
- $47,000 saved in the treasurer’s office
- $13,000 saved in the assessor’s office
- %305,000 saved by the board of supervisors (but they did not consolidate)
If Lee County decided to restore all merged services to original locations and staffing levels, it may cost approximately $426,000 for additional staff, equipment and other overhead expenses.