Anthony Lyons is wasting no time in making dramatic changes to the Capital City Development Corporation. In the first days of his tenure (his office furniture had yet to arrive), BW met with CCDC's new director and found a bit of an enigma (BW, Citizen, "Anthony Lyons," Jan. 4, 2012). Lyons has been a top athlete, private and public sector businessman, and intellectual.
But Lyons is also an agent of change and beginning Feb. 13, he made it clear that he intends to restructure the very core of how CCDC does business, internally and externally.
"In order to get ready for this effort, and further to allow CCDC to play its role, a number of changes are required for the agency to perform at the very highest level," Lyons wrote to the CCDC Board of Commissioners. "In many ways these changes are foundational, or as I say to the staff, 'Let's get back to the basics and from there move forward.'"
In particular, Lyons has fixed his sights on the two pillars of his organization: how he manages his subordinates and how he chooses to spend tens of millions of dollars from the agency's budget.
Commissioners granted Lyons new authority, through a rewrite of the agency's personnel manual, as well as his job description. Henceforth, Lyons is able to communicate directly with all agency employees, and more importantly, he is to be the arbiter on discipline and terminations.
"Considerable leeway is granted to the executive director to determine the best methods for the selection, development, evaluation, discipline and termination of agency employees," reads Lyons' newly crafted job description.
In his letter to CCDC commissioners, Lyons said he needed a staff that was "flexible, dynamic and nimble."
Secondly Lyons proposed to reduce CCDC's Fiscal Year 2012 budget by more than $4.2 million.
Specifically Lyons is looking to eliminate $756,930 in consulting, $143,000 in legal services and $75,000 in public art projects.
"This will allow us to increase our capital projects budget by 60 percent," Lyons told commissioners. "We should double the amount of downtown street improvements."
Lyons said that the proposed changes could shift funding for physical improvements from 28 percent of CCDC's budget to 49 percent.
Before any of the cuts can be adopted, a public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 12.