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VDOT reduces staff, begins reorganization

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The Virginia Department of Transportation is completing major portions of its reorganization this week to reach a mandated staffing reduction to 7,500 full-time employees by July 1, and to streamline the way it does business.

VDOT’s restructuring program changes business practices and alters the way citizens, developers, localities, businesses and transportation industry contacts will do business with the agency.

Fifteen VDOT residency offices around the state will be consolidated, including the Hillsville location, while expanding the geographic scope of the 29 remaining residency offices.

Customer service activities are being transitioned from area headquarters and residencies to a coordinated customer service center.

VDOT’s land-use, permitting, construction and project development activities are being reorganized and downsized to district offices.

“April will be a challenging time at VDOT as we embark on the final stages of our year-long downsizing and restructuring effort,” said Acting Commissioner Gregory Whirley. “VDOT is undertaking a fundamental change in the way we do business as we streamline operations and address reductions in staffing and funding.

“Although these changes are significant, we will not stray from our mission to plan, build, operate and maintain a safe and efficient transportation system for the citizens of the commonwealth.”

VDOT informed 632 employees in January that their positions would be affected by reorganization. The department worked to identify placement opportunities for employees.

About 360 employees were to leave the agency April 24, during closing out of the final of three stages of employee reductions announced in late 2008. Of that group, 235 affected employees elected to leave the agency without seeking placement opportunities.

The agency achieved its legislated goal of reduction in size by approximately 1,000 full-time and 450 part-time employees since September 2008, toward addressing a $4.6 billion revenue shortfall.

Responding to emergencies and providing needed maintenance of Virginia’s existing roads will remain a top priority, VDOT said in a news release. The focus of residency offices will change to oversee only maintenance and emergency response activities.

“The geographic responsibilities of many residency offices are also expanding. The residency consolidations provide fewer administrative and management positions, which will distribute 7,500 available staff positions to better support frontline operations and provide flexibility to use these consolidated offices for other purposes,” VDOT said.

For a map depicting residencies that are closing and the new district boundaries of remaining residency offices, see www.virginiadot.org/about_vdot/blueprint_changes.asp>http://www.virginia...

VDOT will work with partners, vendors, customers and citizens to redefine customer service. Traditional methods of contacting local VDOT offices will change.

There will be fewer contact points for citizens when they request assistance. “VDOT will endeavor to provide timely, effective service similar to what citizens have come to expect from us, but will do so from fewer locations,” the department said.

“We will also soon establish a customer service center to provide a one-stop shop for citizens to report road hazards, find information and request assistance from VDOT. No longer will citizens have to track down contact numbers for VDOT offices by figuring out which area headquarters, residency and district they belong to. One call to 1-800-367-7623 will address their needs.”

The full customer service center will open in July to handle all incoming calls from the public. Scaled service is to begin this week, to assist customers who typically call area headquarters or those 15 residencies being consolidated.

Business partners, developers and local governments will continue to work directly with key experts within the agency, but initial inquiries and citizen interaction will be shifted to the customer service center.

For more details see www.virginiadot.org.