Plenty of Merger Ideas, Little Merger Action

On the heels of last Friday’s forum on the City-County merger the City Controller has released a report on the City’s Housing Authority that says perhaps the Authority should cooperate a bit more with other units of government and maybe even merge with the County Housing Authority.

Then too, perhaps City and County departments of Parks, Public Works, Finance, and Police should cooperate. But why don’t they? Obviously there must be something at work that has to do with job security, seniority, and benefits that holds such mergers up. The Controller noted that the Housing Authority exhibits "a little reluctance" to cooperating-no surprise there. But even where those issues are non-existent there is still difficulty in getting governments to consolidate.

Consider that the City’s Stadium Authority still exists even though it owns no stadium and shares much staff with the City-County Sports and Exhibition Authority. The Stadium Authority’s operations basically consist of being a pass through for various revenues and paying off bond issues. And even then there was never a case made for shutting it down or having the SEA absorb it.

There are a lot of messy details that come with merging governments, details that a lot of advocates simply want to brush over in their zeal to put the issue of a City-County merger to a vote as soon as possible. But the public wants to see some evidence that there will be savings and increased, not decreased, efficiency in services. Until there is a bit more effort beyond the 911 merger, the idea will not likely move forward.