By Jack King
Innovative thinking and the elbow grease of two city employees has helped the city of Clovis save thousands of dollars in the renovation the Bert Cabiness City Government Center, City Manager Raymond Mondragon said this week.
Using leftover funds from a reroofing project, the city now has new offices in its Building Inspections and Human Resources departments and for its grants coordinator; more centralized records storage space, a customer service window in its Finance Department; carpeting, interior paint and trim throughout the building; and new furniture in the city manager’s office, Mondragon said.
Mondragon said the old furniture from his office has been divided between Human Resources and assistant city manager’s offices.
Builders created most of the new offices by moving some non-load-bearing walls and renovating old storage rooms, the city manager said.
All of the materials were bought from Clovis suppliers and the wall moving and room renovations were carried out by Perales Construction of Clovis, Mondragon said — who emphasized the city made a point of spending the money locally.
To date, the city has spent $42,678.
Much of the painting and trim work in the offices, the finishing touches city workers said make the new spaces seem custom crafted, was done by City Codes Enforcement Officers Michael Wagner and Felix Loera. Although, both were paid for the work, receiving their regular salaries during work hours and overtime for work done after hours, Mondragon said their willingness to do the carpentry work made the offices look better and saved the city money.
Loera said the work he and Wagner did seemed to take on a life of its own.
“We volunteered to do our office. Then (Planning and Zoning director) Louis Gordon asked us to paint his office. Then (building inspector) Terry Martin asked us to do his office. It just kept growing,” he said.
One of the custom touches provided by Wagner and Loera is custom borders around the wainscotting in the new or remodeled offices. Denise Workheiser, an administrative assistant in the Inspections Department, said she thinks personalizing the offices makes everyone more productive.
“I think if people are more comfortable in their own space they work better,” she said.
In April 2002, an Albuquerque architect hired by the city said it would cost $1.2 million to build a new city hall and $1.6 million to remodel the existing one — amounts the city couldn’t justify spending, Mondragon said.
But in November 2002, the city received a bid to reroof the building by National Roofing Company was $48,422 less than then $204,164 the city had budgeted for the work. In March, at Mondragon’s request, the City Commission approved using approximately $50,000 to remodel city hall.
The City Commission gave Loera and Wagner honorary plaques for their work at its April 17 meeting. The commission also recognized Codes Enforcement Officer Catherine Sharick, who, Loera said, took over most of his and Wagner’s work, giving them time to do carpentry during work hours.
Mayor David Lansford called the work “a facelift that city hall has long needed.”
“It will provide better customer service and a better work environment for the staff. The neat thing is that so much of it was done through the volunteered efforts of our city employees,” he said.
City Commissioner Gloria Wicker said she was “shocked” by how much better the building looks.
“In the past we’ve looked at a couple of sites to move city hall. But they’ve done some rearranging, gotten rid of some old files no one needed, and made new offices. It was a depressing place before and now it’s almost like a new building,” she said.
Commissioner Juan Garza said the city owes a debt of thanks to Mondragon.
“It was his idea to apply those funds to this purpose,” he said.