Restructuring a city, school district, county, or other public sector body presents
unique challenges that turnaround
professionals likely haven’t
encountered in the private sector.
While many of the same turnaround
principles apply, the environment
is different and thus the approach
taken must also be different from a
private sector engagement. This article
discusses differences between public
sector turnarounds and the more
common private sector turnarounds.
The first and most significant
difference is that how decisions
are made in government differs
drastically and usually takes longer
than expected. Even when a decision
appears to have been made, one
should not assume that it will stick.
Thus, there should always be a Plan
B. What may appear to be a common
sense solution to a particular problem
generally has at least one constituent
with some level of influence opposing
it. Often, the constituent can block
the measure, undermine it or, at
minimum, stall its implementation.
Effective professionals understand
these realities and, as a result, are more
patient, deliberate, and collaborative
in executing reform measures in
a public sector restructuring.
Exercising patience allows the
professional to build stronger ties
to the myriad public sector officials
and employees whose support is
ultimately needed for implementing
change. Even in Michigan, where
emergency managers with vast
Turnaround Principles in
a Municipal Environment
Public Sector Restructurings
Require Patience and a Plan B
BY ANDY DILLON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR; KEVIN HAND, MANAGING DIRECTOR
& EMILY PETROVSKI, DIRECTOR, CONWAY MACKENZIE INC.