Hiring a new city
In July 2008, the 43,000 residents of the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody in north DeKalb County voted to incorporate, and on Dec. 1, 2008, the city opened for business. To set up so quickly, the city hired private contractors to provide many of the city's services and signed intergovernmental agreements with neighboring jurisdictions to provide others.
Following Dunwoody's first municipal elections in September 2008, the newly formed city council decided not to hire all in-house staff for city operations. Rather, it decided to outsource city services to multiple vendors. In November 2008, Dunwoody signed a three-year contract with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Calvin, Giordano & Associates (CGA) for finance and administrative services. It hired additional private contractors for public works and community development. The city signed intergovernmental agreements with DeKalb County to provide water and wastewater, fire rescue, sanitation and 911 services. Because most city services are outsourced, Dunwoody has only 57 city employees.
In the first year of operations with Dunwoody, CGA oversaw the installation of telephone and IT systems, opened the new city hall, provided administrative staff, implemented the court system, and set up the police department, including hiring officers and purchasing 48 police vehicles. The formation of the police department (a key driver in the incorporation effort), accounted for 40 percent of the city's budget.
To keep the public informed, CGA launched a website, DunwoodyGA.gov, in January 2009. The website features a content management system that allows city staff to publish documents and information instantly to the website. Other features include a support ticket system for residents, an online municipal court payment gateway, a discussion forum, interactive maps and a document management system.
Since its incorporation, Dunwoody has achieved many of its driving priorities. It is delivering higher levels of services than previously existed, and costs have been controlled and reduced in some cases compared to other municipal neighbors.
Project: Outsourcing city administration and financial services
Jurisdiction: Dunwoody, Ga.
Contractor: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Calvin, Giordano & Associates
Date began: November 2008
Total cost of the three-year contract: Approximately $6 million