Two Lawton entities are helping the City of Lawton fund an exercise intended to maximize city operations.

The Green Family Trust and Liberty National Bank are funding almost half — $70,000 — of what will be a $142,800 contract with Novak Consulting Group to perform a performance management audit. Bank and trust officials, represented by Liberty National Bank President Mark Henry, made the official donation Wednesday to City Manager Michael Cleghorn and Mayor Stan Booker, after it was accepted by the City Council on Tuesday.

Cleghorn said Booker also was to sign the contract with Novak Wednesday, launching what is expected to be a 22-week process to evaluate the city’s management and operational processes. The end result, city administrators said, is expected to be improved organizational performance, determination of proper staffing levels and streamlining of the organizational structure. The actual process will center on operations, structure and staffing.

The analysis will “set the course for operational efficiency,” according to Cleghorn. Booker said that analysis is important.

“It will pay huge dividends to this city,” Booker said, praising the donation that the Green Family Trust and Liberty National Bank made toward the process.

Cleghorn said the remaining cost will be funded out of the city manager’s professional services account. And, he considers the contract money well spent because it will be an in-depth analysis of every city department, performed by a management auditing firm that has worked with more than 300 local governments across the country. Cleghorn said one of the selling points is that Novak’s personnel includes people with backgrounds in government work, meaning, for example, that the fire department will be audited by a former fire chief, while Public Works will be analyzed by someone with that background.

“The payback is huge,” said Booker, who has long supported an initiative that city administrators have discussed for years and one they have sought donations to fund. “Novak is an expert in the field.”

City officials said the process should begin soon.

Henry and Liberty National Bank Chairman Clayton “Buddy” Green said they approached the City of Lawton with the intent of giving back to a community they have served for more than two decades.

“We are a local bank with local ties and we care deeply about Lawton,” Henry said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to further growth and development, as the services provided by the City of Lawton touch every member of the community we serve.”

Henry said identifying areas of improvement will allow citizens to better collaborate and communicate in order to tackle community issues alongside City of Lawton leadership and elected officials.

Cleghorn said residents will be kept informed of the progress.

“Any findings of the audit would be made available to the community, just as our yearly financial audits are made available to the community,” he said. “This type of initiative reinforces the values of transparency and accountability, which are integral in all operations of municipal government.”

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