Accomplishments at the City of Houston

Created the Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department

Alfred Moran recommended to Mayor Bill White that the Finance & Administration Department be broken into two departments. The logic was that the Finance function was primarily a budgeting function; it was highly reactive to the Mayor, and the Administration & Regulatory Affairs function, which requires much more proactive business management, branding and customer service, was receiving no emphasis at all. After his recommendation to the Mayor was approved, Alfred created the Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department (ARA), reorganized and upgraded all operations, improved the organization structure, upgraded approximately 33% of ARA personnel, improved customer service and optimized workflow processes. ARA currently has sixteen business units all of which are operating very effectively. The sixteen business units generate $430.0 Million in Revenues with a Budget of $74.1 Million in FY13 Expenditures. Like the Private Sector, Alfred implemented Zero-Base Budgets in ARA and regular Monthly Variance Reporting. He also implemented Private Sector Human Resources best-practice tools such as Balanced Scorecards, 360s and Goal-based Employee Performance Evaluations. He also led the Employee Performance Evaluation Restructure Project for all City employees, now called the HEAR System.

Planned and Led the Development of the Houston Permitting Center

Alfred and his team developed the Master Plan for One-Stop Permitting in the City of Houston. When he started the consolidation of the City’s permitting functions, the City had 260 various permits issued by 11 departments in 24 different locations. He and his team negotiated with all departments to relocate their permitting efforts in the Houston Permitting Center, which is the first One-Stop Permitting Center in the United States. All City permitting is now housed in one location at 1002 Washington Avenue. He and his team also designed and implemented the first Citywide online permit application, renewal and credit card payment system for all City permits.

Initiated Citywide Credit Card Payment

Although Alfred was told that he would never be successful at creating a system where customers (citizens) could pay for City services online with a credit card, for the first time in City of Houston history, he and his team initiated online credit card payments for all City of Houston payments. 

Transformed Citywide Payroll

Alfred & his team completed the consolidation of Citywide Payroll Services for over 22,500 employees. They also successfully rolled out the Kronos Time & Attendance System. This move was a massive task in an organization that normally resists change. This effort has saved the City of Houston $7.2 Million in real, defensible savings for FY13 and all future years to come. 

Substantially Improved Citywide Purchasing Function

Alfred and his team substantially upgraded the City of Houston Strategic Purchasing workflow processes. Procurement Standard Operating Procedures and Workflow Processes are published and clear. Alfred and his team decreased the Procurement function from 92 employees to 42 with no loss of productivity. They decreased the number of contracts from 1,300 to 500. The City of Houston has recently published a Procurement Manual for all vendors, and it includes a newly designed and executed “Quiet Period”, during which no bidders may contact anyone in the City from the date of the formal solicitation to the final award of the contract. Savings from this project were $24.0 Million annually.

Transformed 311 Help & Info

After taking over 311, Alfred terminated a sub-standard leader and rebranded “311 Service Helpline” as “311 Help & Information”, which allowed Alfred and his team to develop a new strategy to take in Information Requests and Service Requests from a newly designed website, Facebook, Twitter, telephone, email and Smartphone. As of December, 2012 citizens have been able to make Service Requests on a City of Houston Smartphone 311 App.

Transformed BARC

BARC has become one of the City’s success stories. At the Mayor Parker’s request, Alfred agreed to take over the turnaround of the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control (BARC) from the Health and Human Services Department. In five months Alfred and his team accomplished the termination or resignation of 62 of 72 poor performing employees. BARC has been rebranded as BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions, and the culture and philosophy has been changed from primarily enforcement to customer service and animal adoptions. The turnaround has been completed. Of course, there is always more work to do because BARC’s Mission is to “become the greatest Animal Shelter in North America”. Rescues and adoptions have dramatically improved. The volunteer program is working very well. Alfred and his team created the Houston BARC Foundation, and they have raised over $300,000 in the first year of its existence. BARC has also designed and partially funded ($4.1 Million) a new $13.0 Million BARC Adoption Center.

Reorganized Citywide Parking Management

Alfred and his team reorganized and rebranded Parking Management. Alfred and his team have worked to transform Parking Management from a primarily enforcement culture to a more customer service oriented organization. For example, all Parking Enforcement Officers are now required to complete Customer Service classes. In a joint project with Downtown Houston and Public Works, Alfred and his team led a new downtown parking sign plan, which will decrease downtown parking signs from 115 different signs to only 22 different signs. They also created a Parking Benefit Districtfor the entire length of Washington Avenue, which will begin to organize the development of the entire Washington Avenue neighborhood.

Upgraded Public Utility Regulation

Alfred substantially upgraded City of Houston Public Utility Regulation (electricity and natural gas, water, telephone, cable). He terminated bureaucratic regulatory personnel. He hired two ex-Public Utilities Commission Chairman as electricity consultants to help set the bar high for rate setting negotiations. The City of Houston’s new relationship with the utilities it regulates is fair and balanced. He also located and hired top State of Texas advisors for water, gas, telephone and cable. The City is now a knowledgeable and fair utility regulator. 

Upgraded Vehicle for Hire Permitting & Enforcement

Alfred and his team moved Vehicle for Hire Permitting & Enforcement from IAH to the new One-Stop Houston Permitting Center. They developed a plan to substantially improve taxi service in Houston, which will include GPS and backseat credit card machines in the majority of Houston’s taxis. Alfred and his team also developed a Cost of Service Model for all City permits; this analysis allowed the City to align all fees with the actual cost of service.

Upgraded Commercial Permitting & Enforcement

Alfred and his regulatory team moved Commercial Permitting & Enforcement from 611 Walker to the new One-Stop Houston Permitting Center. At Mayor White’s request, Alfred moved Burglar Alarm Permitting from HPD to his Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department, and he has increased Burglar Alarm revenues from $6.4 Million to $10.2 Million in two years. All Burglar Alarm permitting functions are operating smoothly. 

Improved Relationship with International Insurance Carriers

Alfred and his team significantlyimproved the City’s relationship with the consortium of international property insurance carriers arranged through Lloyds. Alfred and his team negotiated maximum property insurance recovery within 13 months with Lloyd’s underwriters in London for Hurricane Ike damage to 651 buildings.

Transformed Asset Disposition

Alfred and his team implemented online auctions (versus live auctions) for the sale of all City vehicles, which has increased annual Asset Disposition revenues from $365,000 to $2.0 Million. The average sale price per vehicle has increased by 3.5 times.

Consolidated Citywide Records Management

Alfred and his team consolidated Citywide Records Management under ARA. Records Management in the City is now highly organized.