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Dusting off Mercer Report sign of progress

News that Port Arthur City Manager Brian McDougal is taking the Mercer Report off the back shelf and clearing off the three-years of accumulated dust is welcome, not so much for the specific recommendations in the $97,500 study of the city’s operations, but because it indicates that the manager is thinking beyond the crisis du jour and planning for the city’s needs years into the future. The Mercer Report is a management and performance review of the city of Port Arthur’s operations with many recommendations on how to streamline and modernize the way the city operates. The city contracted the Mercer Group of Atlanta, Ga., to study the city’s operations and make the recommendations. The report was delivered in January of 2012.

While presenting his budget recommendations to the city council last month, McDougal stood up for implementing the report’s recommendations and asked the council to fund a temporary assistant city manager position that will be dedicated to carrying out the report’s recommendations. Getting funding for the extra position while the city has great needs in other areas was not an easy sell. McDougal was successful in selling the council on the idea and the position was included in the final budget that received approval.

We believe the council’s decision to invest in the assistant manager position to implement the Mercer Report will, in time, be repaid manifold with the savings that will be realized starting with long-term budgeting all the way to how employees in the maintenance department are managed. Port Arthur’s budget and operational problems were created over many years, and it will take a long time to get them corrected. But it’s exciting to see that the city manager and the council are working together to improve the city’s operations. We hope that’s a trend that continues.

About Roger Cowles

Roger Cowles is the editor of The Port Arthur News. Born in Port Arthur, he grew up in Groves. He is a graduate of Port Neches-Groves High School and Lamar University, where he was editor of the University Press. Cowles is married to Celines Del Valle, is a member and past president of The Rotary Club of Port Arthur and serves on a number of boards for local agencies, including the United Way of Mid and South Jefferson County and the Salvation Army.

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