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A two-year, independent study of the Cambridge governmental structure has concluded that structure must be overhauled if it is to begin alleviating the local housing crisis, traffic congestion, and similar problems.
The 68-page study, conducted by the Institute for Public Administration in New York and made public yesterday, traces many of the City's continuing problems to an ill-defined division of authority among a host of parochial agencies subject to inadequate central control.
In particular, it cites the continuing shortage of low-income housing as evidence of the "inability of the fractured administrative structure to overcome known deficiencies." To improve local municipal efficiency, the study presents a series of 28 recommendations, including:
Consolidation of the City's existing 41 agencies, boards and commissions into eight or nine "super-agencies," each headed by an executive directly responsible to the City Manager, the City's chief administrator;
An increase in the staff of the City Manager, to free him from routine tasks and allow him more time for long-range projects;
A tightening of the City's budgetary methods to permit more intensive a evaluation of ongoing projects.
Harvard and M. I. T. also came in for some criticism, primarily for their belated response to the housing shortage. The study suggested the universities double their contributions to the City treasury; these payments amounted to over $1 million last year. Edward S. Grunion, assistant to the President for Community Relations, declined to comment until after he had read the report.
Initiation of the study was one of James L Sullivan's early acts after he became City Manager in 1968. The study was financed jointly by the FordFoundation and the City. Yesterday, Sullivan said he generally agreed with its conclusions: "The recommendations make a lot of sense; we've been moving in those directions in recent years."
The release of the study came amidst continued speculation about Sullivan's future in Cambridge. At yesterday's City Council meeting, several councilors attacked him for allegedly neglecting certain administrative matters. The Council will meet for a special session within the next two weeks, at which time Sullivan's tenure in office may come up for discussion.
Just what effect the current state of tension between the Manager and the Council will have upon the fate of the study's recommendations remained unclear yesterday. Similar attempts at reorganization in the past have generally been initiated by the City Manager, and have often met with vocal opposition in the Council.
The Department of Health, Hospitals, and Welfare, a "super agency" formed in 1967 from several existing agencies, has, for example, come under periodic fire in the Council for its alleged neglect of citizens' needs.
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