Monday, September 22, 2003

City hires outsource expert from P&G

Position to save money on services

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A Procter & Gamble purchasing manager, who helped that company contract out computer, employee benefits and facilities work to outside companies, will come to city government to try to do the same.

Cincinnati City Manager Valerie Lemmie has hired Michele A. Kidd to be the city's "managed competition coordinator." The newly created office will seek to save money by competitively bidding city services like street-sweeping, fleet maintenance and management of city parking garages.

Kidd, 45, is now P&G's global energy purchasing group manager. In that job, she helped transfer gas and electric purchasing to online energy markets, saving the company $12 million, city officials said.

"Michele shares the core values, energy and enthusiasm to make sure this is an open and fair process that ultimately serves the best interests of the citizens," Lemmie said.

Kidd said she would be especially sensitive to the needs of workers whose jobs are affected.

Her job was once almost sent to a company in Texas, "so I know what it's like to be an affected employee," she said. Supporters of managed competition say they're optimistic that Kidd's hiring will help "jump start" the process.

City Council requested that Lemmie create the new position by a 5-4 vote last December. DeWine's motion called for a "managed competition czar" who would come from outside city government and report directly to the city manager.

The manager has removed "czar" from the job title, fearing that it might alienate city workers, who have complained that the process is unfairly biased toward moving jobs to the private sector.

Kidd will receive an $85,000 annual salary and will start Nov. 1.



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