CLAREMORE, OK - For more than a year and a half, the City of Claremore has been able to cut costs through outsourcing two departments, Deputy City Manager Matt Mueller told Tulsa World.

The municipality has outsourced fleet maintenance and planning and zoning/engineering since November 2007 and is in the process of converting a third, Mueller said, according to Tulsa.

"Oftentimes, in government, you don't have the overall performance driver like you do in the private sector, which is profit," he said. "So we have to look at different ways to make sure we're doing things as efficiently as possible. And managed competition [putting internal departments against the private sector to make sure service and cost is comparable] is one of those."

In 2007, the city signed a contract with Ohio-headquartered First Vehicle Services (FVS), an international company, to maintain about $13.1 million in fleet assets representing more than 270 vehicles and pieces of heavy equipment, reported Tulsa.

All city shop employees were offered jobs with First Vehicle, though not all decided to stay on. The move saved the city about $80,000 the first year and now saves it between $30,000-$50,000 annually, reported Tulsa.

The company rents a facility from the city for a nominal fee. In addition, the city gets a flat fee for every county vehicle FV works on.

About a year ago, the city hired Tri-State Engineering to assume the municipality's planning and zoning department duties, Mueller said. That move eliminated two positions one of which was vacant but one employee ultimately was retained by the city in a different capacity, he said.

Pending city council approval, Cassie Sowers, the city's marketing and public relations director, also will begin working for Claremore on a contract basis when she relocates to Texas in mid-August. The switch stands to save the city $20,000 per year, Mueller said.

With outsourcing, "You want to be sensitive to people. But ultimately, we are here to provide the highest level of service to the citizens at the lowest cost," Mueller told Tulsa.