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Hagerstown looks to reorganize some of its offices

April 17, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — On the heels of its recent operational restructuring, the City of Hagerstown soon will move select offices to achieve better work flow.

Closure of the Hagerstown Telework Center has emptied half of the second floor in the Elizabeth Hager Center, and the city plans to use the space for its Department of Community and Economic Development.

Department Director John Lestitian asked the Hagers-town City Council Tuesday for its blessing to consolidate the divisions of his department and make the most of existing space.

He also asked for permission to use the remaining $90,000 in the telework center budget to update the space in the Elizabeth Hager Center.

The council did not vote, but agreed to let Lestitian move forward.

Lestitian said the divisions of his department are spread so far apart that it is not maximizing efficiency. His plan is to move code administration, which is currently housed at 11 Public Square, to the fourth floor of City Hall, he said.

Code administration will consolidate with planning on the fourth floor, with field staff on the third floor, he said.

Economic development, communications and community affairs will move into the former telework center, he said.

Presently, economic development is on the second floor at City Hall with portions of community affairs on both the second and the third floors.

The size of the former telework center provides the opportunity to combine the business and community affairs division of Lestitian’s department in one space, he said.

It can be adapted to the department’s needs with little renovations, he said.

One planned renovations is a television studio that would be funded with existing fiscal year 2011 public education and government moneys, according to city documents.

Lestitian suggested using the remaining $90,000 balance in the telework budget to fund additional improvements.

In 2007, city staff discussed its office needs and looked into renovating the Roslyn Building behind City Hall on Franklin Street, he said. Staff estimated it would cost $900,000 to renovate the building for city offices, he said.
 
“We no longer have a need for Roslyn for the city offices as this opens a whole other avenue,” Lestitian said Tuesday.
 
To make up for lost revenue from the closed telework center, Lestitian suggested the city lease space on the second floor of the Elizabeth Hager Center where the Center for Business and Training (CBT) currently operates.

The CBT plans to cease operations, he said.

One of the functions of the CBT was to sublet space to small businesses.
 
Several of those offices are currently leased and Lestitian proposed the city continue those private office rentals, saying it can generate about $28,000 annually in rent.

The city also would be able to offer a longer term agreement to the National Institute of Standards and Technology for space in the Elizabeth Hager Center and generate about $15,000 annually, according to city documents.

Lestitian also suggested the city rent the space on Public Square once its code administration office moves to generate about $20,000 annually.

While the council gave Lestitian the nod to move forward with consolidation, additional council approval might be required for renovation contracts or purchases, the documents said.

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