Washington Township hopes to hire a township administrator in the New Year.

Washington Township hopes to hire a township administrator in the New Year.

Results from a township efficiency study released last week recommended the move and trustees immediately agreed to hire the Novak Consulting Group to help with the task.

Trustees agreed that taking on a new leader would help, especially since Fire Chief Al Woo plans to retire in 2014.

"I've felt the need for the position for some time," Trustee Denise Franz King said. "It could be a tremendous benefit for the incoming fire chief.

"It seems like now is the time to do it because we are entering a new phase of leadership."

"It's a good thing," Trustee Gene Bostic agreed. "It will keep the township moving forward."

Washington Township formerly had an administrator who left in the early 2000s.

"I never reported to the administrator," Woo said. "I reported to the trustees. In some ways, maybe it makes it easier with communications."

The Novak Consulting Group also had 26 other recommendations for the township regarding management, budget and finance, parks and recreation and fire and EMS.

"This is a mid-course correction or checkup to make sure there aren't things we can do better," Trustee Charles Kranstuber said.

Other recommendations ranged from developing a strategic plan for the township and letting go of one human resources employee to creating a five-year capital improvement plan and increasing the amount of live-fire training for firefighters.

"There's lots of good news," Julia Novak, of the Novak Consulting Group, said. "This is an outstanding organization."

Along with beginning the search for a township administrator, trustees also accepted the recommendation and moved to take immediate action on streamlining human resources, which means eliminating the human resources generalist position and offering a severance package to the employee.

Other recommendations, such as a strategic plan for the township, are already going on in some areas. Woo said the fire department has a strategic plan, but, per the recommendation, the rest of the township will also create a plan.

The Novak Consulting Group also recommended that Washington Township work with Dublin on getting an information technology consultant.

The township currently has no IT employee, which can be troublesome, Woo said.

"Everything we do now is computerized," he said, adding that all the township fire stations are joining Dublin's fiber network. "We struggle with it."

For fire and EMS, the report recommended eliminating a vacant administrative battalion chief position, developing a replacement plan for vehicles, studying fire station locations and increasing the number of HAZMAT technicians on each shift.

"A lot of it was not surprising," Woo said. "Most of it we already do."

The township plans to look at billing non-residents for EMS services, per efficiency recommendations.

Woo said Washington Township is the only department in Franklin County to not bill for its services.

"The levy supports us," he said. "Ninety-eight percent of our funds come from the levy."

The township also plans to look at the future of its parks and evaluate the duties of the assistant zoning inspector as more land is annexed from the township.

The rest of the recommendations are expected to be enacted throughout 2014, Kranstuber said.

"Some of the more specific recommendations can take up to a year," he said. "Some will be dependent on the new administrator."