Chesapeake, Norfolk, Va Beach look to share services

The Hampton Roads cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach have started a process to determine what, if any, services can be combined to cut costs.

The project, as outlined in this article, includes input from business executives in the region and is being led by the Hampton Roads Partnership, which describes the project here. The report from the committee is expected in early 2012.

Virginia is unique in the nation to have all of its cities independent of a county; only three other such cities – Baltimore MD, St. Louis MO, and Carson City NV – lie outside of Virginia. When coupled with its strict interpretation of the Dillon Rule, I would suspect duplication of services in Hampton Roads to be rampant. I applaud the cities for taking on this effort, despite its $150,000 price tag.

My only complaint (you knew there would be one, right? 🙂 ) is that the steering committee has no ordinary citizens included. The members:

The steering committee includes E. Dana Dickens, III, president and CEO of Hampton Roads Partnership; William Harrell, Chesapeake City Manager; Rick West, Chesapeake City Council; Marcus Jones, Norfolk City Manager; Barclay Winn, Norfolk City Council; Jim Spore, Virginia Beach City Manager; Glenn Davis, Virginia Beach City Council; James Fothergill, chief people officer of Dollar Tree; Jeff Gough, Smithfield Foods vice president for Logistics, Human Resources and Safety; and Tina Gill, Amerigroup vice president for External Relations Operations.  Jim Hixon, Norfolk Southern executive vice president-Law and Corporate Relations, serves as chair of the steering committee, which plans to meet monthly.

I believe the inclusion of the citizens’ perspective is critical to any undertaking like this. The top-down approach doesn’t work in business and it certainly doesn’t work in government. Surely they could have expanded the steering committee to include a citizen from each of the cities who are party to this.

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13 thoughts on “Chesapeake, Norfolk, Va Beach look to share services

  1. Hasn’t ODU been involved in similar studies, perhaps producing something that can be built on?
    The thoughtlessness that excluded the public is cause for pause.

    1. When on a committee representing a company or neighborhood or other group the person tends to look at the item as what is best for the company or neighborhood. When you have just citizens not representing someones interest just the voters they tend to look at it as what is best for all the citizens of a city. That has been my experience anyway.

    2. I think there is a huge difference between the mayors & chairs (a term which could easily be applied to the group here) and ordinary citizens, which is what I referenced above. That’s what civic engagement embodies: participation by those with different perspectives. It is unlikely, although not impossible, that this group provides the perspective of the ordinary citizen.

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