Council Approves County Re-organization Plan

County Manager Harry Burgess briefs Council on reasons for his proposed re-organization of certain County departments. Photo by Carol A. Clark/


Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos County Council voted 6-1 this evening to approve a resolution establishing departments and prescribing their functions.

County Manager Harry Burgess briefed Council before the vote explaining the reasons for the proposed changes, which primarily include the addition of a deputy Public Works director, a County engineer and moving the economic development function, including two individuals, under the County Manager’s Office.

Councilor James Chrobocinski moved to approve the resolution as well as the new job descriptions saying, “This has been a passion of mine since I was running for office and in fact is one of the main reasons why I decided to run for office. The County does a good job but there is a problem in this department (permitting issues) and right now we have an excellent opportunity to fix … the (CEDD) department was too big for one director to manage.”

Chrobocinski as well as Councilor Susan O’Leary commended Burgess for the changes he has proposed to make the various functions more efficient and effective. O’Leary also asked that customer service be improved as a part of these changes, especially toward small business. She also asked that Burgess and staff come back and report on results from the changes. She said her hope is to see an increased focus on the downtown business community including restaurants.

Councilor Steven Girrens voted against the motion saying, “I cannot support the addition of a deputy director … there are other options to deal with the management of this department rather than to spend more money … I would love to see some creative ways to deal with this without creating another position.”

Council Chair Kristin Henderson spoke in favor of the proposal saying, “Harry (Burgess) has consistently brought to us a reduction in budget and a reduction in staff … cutting the budget by 29 percent … if we trust our manager and this is the way he says it needs to be done than I think we should support this…” 

Burgess came to the County in 2012 and has achieved a record of reductions in the number of County employees:

  • FY 2012 – 682;
  • FY 2013 – 692;
  • FY 2014 – 687;
  • FY 2015 – 673; and
  • FY 2016 – 670.

Resolution No. 15-18 includes:

  • WHEREAS, the Charter provides that “In addition to the departments created by this Charter, the Council may establish, by resolution, County departments it finds necessary to provide the services and functions required for the public good and shall prescribe the functions of the departments established. No function assigned by this Charter to a particular department is subject to change by the Council.” 
  • WHEREAS, the various departments of the County described herein are charged with undertaking County operations under the direction and supervision of the County Manager and undertake specific activities, projects and assignments within or related to the generally prescribed functions of the department;
  • WHEREAS, the Utilities Department, the Police Department, the Office of the County Manager and the Office of the County Attorney are established by the Charter and their functions described therein; and
  • WHEREAS, Council wishes to establish County departments it finds necessary to provide services and functions required for the public good and prescribe their functions.

THE COUNCIL OF THE INCORPORATED COUNTY OF LOS ALAMOS HEREBY RESOLVES THAT: Effective Nov. 4, 2015 the County shall be organized into the following departments undertaking the generally prescribed functions described below:

1. The County Manager’s Office is established under the Los Alamos County Charter. In addition to the duties and functions specified in the Charter, its functions are organizational development and excellence; public information and outreach; economic development; and administration of personnel and management of human resources.

2. The Community Development Department is hereby established and its functions are administration and enforcement of the County of Los Alamos Development Code Chapter 16, including plan review; implementation, administration and enforcement of Chapter 10 of the Los Alamos County Code relating to Buildings and Building Regulations; business licensing; community planning and development; construction inspection; and administration of affordable housing programs.

3. The Community Services Department is hereby established and its functions are the provision of library services; maintenance of county parks, open spaces and certain recreational facilities as assigned by the Manager; recreation programs; cultural services; and social services.

4. The Public Works Department is hereby established and its functions are those assigned to the County Engineer and the Traffic Engineer; general engineering, design, surveying and drafting services; project management, coordination and construction services for road and storm water; development review; transportation master planning; public transit; traffic 2 engineering, traffic-control device installation and maintenance; right of way and street maintenance; project management and coordination of capital facility projects;, facilities maintenance and upkeep; space and facilities planning; airport operations; environmental services; and fleet and equipment replacement and maintenance.

5. The Fire Department is hereby established and its functions are the development and delivery of fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue services, and life safety services.

6. The Administrative Services Department is hereby established and its functions are administration of financial activities of the County; procurement and materials management; and information technology support.

7. The Police Department is established under the Los Alamos County Charter and its functions are conserving the peace and enforcing the laws of the State and the ordinances of the County; responding to calls for service; investigating crimes and accidents; emergency management; consolidated dispatch; detention; and animal control.

8. The Utilities Department is established under the Los Alamos County Charter and its functions are to operate the County-owned electric, gas, water and sewer utility systems under the jurisdiction and control of the Board of Public Utilities and centralized customer service for the County. PASSED AND ADOPTED this 3rd day of November, 2015.