County looking to expand shared services agreements

In an effort to spur an expanded use of shared government services, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders has awarded a contract to Government Strategy Group to bolster shared services among various government agencies in Monmouth County.

The contract is fully funded by a $300,000 grant over a three-year period which was awarded to the sounty by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, according to a press release.

Government Strategy Group, based in New Providence, boasts a high degree of shared services knowledge and extensive experience in managing county and local government. The company is experienced in the areas of public safety, health and welfare, public works, schools and education, and general government services such as library and municipal courts, and it offers clients assistance in attaining shared services programs, according to the press release.

“A key factor in any effort aimed at improving services and lowering costs must involve some type of shared services agreements that avoid duplication,” Freeholder Robert D. Clifton said. “This grant will expand the shared services typically offered by county government and also help Monmouth County take a lead role in creating new alliances with municipal governments and school districts.”

Government Strategy Group has a strong track record in public sector management and will assist public officials to identify potential partners and assess opportunities for shared services, which the company refers to as Alternative Service Delivery Solutions, according to the press release.

For example, in-depth feasibility studies will identify barriers to creating shared services arrangements and how to overcome them, and agreements are written in such a way to ensure that all costs are shared equitably among partners.

According to the press release, Monmouth County has a long tradition of providing shared services that include the library, police radio and health department. Additionally, the county offers cooperative purchasing agreements for such items as deer carcass removal, office paper, road signs and various machinery and equipment.

“We hope to schedule some regional meetings with stakeholders throughout the county in the beginning of 2008 and possibly have some service agreements in place within a year,” Clifton said. “Hopefully, this will reduce costs at all levels of local government.”