UPDATE: City council approves Mayor Berke's restructuring plan
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Big changes are coming to the way city government runs in Chattanooga.
Four departments are no more. Three others will be created.
The city council voted unanimously in favor of Mayor Andy Berke's plan to reorganize city government, but it's still unclear what it means for city workers on the tax-payer payroll.
Berke says getting rid of four city departments and creating three new ones will save $370,000 a year.
The plan includes doing away with the departments of education, arts, & culture, parks & recreation, human services and neighborhood services.
Neighborhood services will become the department of economic and community development.
The department of youth and family development will be created along with the department of transportation.
"I tip my hat to Mayor Berke and the administration for not just warming up yesterday's leftovers," says Councilman Chip Henderson.
Channel 3 learned Tuesday, a second phase will follow.
"We'll begin to identify new administrators and leadership for those areas that require it," says Andrew Kean, chief operating officer for the mayor's office.
"We'll begin an ongoing evaluation process to ensure we have the right people delivering the right services in the right way."
Patrick Kellogg wants to know what that means for city workers.
He was hoping for answers before the vote.
"We should have more details or at least understand the council's logic in approving major decisions like this," says Kellogg.
Chairman Yusuf Hakeem says there was no need for discussion at Tuesday night's vote.
The mayor met with each council member beforehand.
"After we looked at it, we saw it as a plan we can buy into," Hakeem says. "As it's rolled out, as people see that it's not mass reductions in personnel and things of that nature, that people will be comfortable with it."
So what does the future hold for city workers on the tax-payer payroll?
"If any of your constituents ask you whether they should show up to work on Wednesday, just say yes," says Travis McDonough, mayor's chief of staff.
Channel 3 asked the mayor.
He would only say those who receive city services will not be impacted.
"The services that we have are going to continue," Mayor Berke says. "We are going to make sure they are put in the best and most effective way, so we can deliver at the lowest cost to taxpayers that which we do today but even better."
And as for when personnel changes could be made: "Soon," says Berke.
The department changes are expected to take effect immediately.
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