It’s a project management case.
It’s a project management case study I need to summarize it with no word limits.”TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTSPolk County is the largest, yet one of the most sparsely populated, counties in the state. It has a fairly mountainous terrain. The lakes and forests provide great fishing and hunting for many of its residents as well as for people from outside the county. It gets some pretty rough winters. It has the highest unemployment rate in the state. Both the average age of its population and the percentage of people over age 65 are substantially higher than the state statistics.Mainville, located on the eastern side of the county, is the county seat. With a population of 15,000, it is the largest town in the county. Many of the people in Mainville work for the hospital, for the town school system, for the town government, or at the Big John’s super¬store that is on the outskirts of town just beyond the town limits. The largest employer in the county is a state correctional facility for female offenders located in the southwestern part of the county.The county is governed by an elected three-member board of commissioners. They receive a minimal stipend for serving on the board. The current members are Commissioners Thomas, Richard¬son, and Harold. None of them are from Mainville; they all are frommore remote parts of the county. They don’t want much to do with Mainville, other than traveling there once a week for the commis¬sioners’ meeting at the county office building. Both Commissioners Thomas and Harold are retired. Commissioner Richardson lives on the western edge of the county and is a foreman at Ye Olde Saw Mill in the adjacent western county.JR is the supervisor of the county Transportation Department; he lives in Mainville. Most of the department’s budget is used to clear and salt the roads during the long winters, and for minimal maintenance. Until about five years ago, the county Transportation Department would get a special allocation of state funds, thanks to the state Sena¬tor Joe Smoozer, who was from Mainville. Twenty years before Joe had been supervisor of the county Transportation Department, then was elected to the state senate. JR had worked for Joe at the Trans¬portation Department, and they became good friends. After years of being reelected, Joe gained enough seniority in the state senate to be named head of its Transportation Committee. Through that position, he was able to make sure that each year Polk County got a special allo-cation of state funds for its Transportation Department. However, Joe passed away about five years before, and the special allocation stopped. The new state senator representing Polk County is focused on eco¬nomic development for the county, not on transportation.Without the special state allocation, the county roads have gotten progressively worse. JR is concerned. He knows there are several crit¬ical projects that must be done. However, with his budget, he is wor¬ried that he may not even be able to do one of them. The county commissioners will make the final decision. He also knows that the commissioners will not be willing to raise the tax rate to pay for such projects. However, they may reallocate some funds from another department’s budget.One project is at the entrance to the Big John’s superstore that opened three years before. The store is off a two-lane highway. Every¬one seems to shop at the store since there aren’t any shopping malls in the county. The traffic on the highway has increased substantially in the past three years. The store entrance is at the base of a hill so it is difficult for cars traveling in one direction to see cars in the opposite direction until they come over the crest. As a result, people making a left turn into the store entrance need to be careful of cars coming over the crest in the opposite direction. There have been a number of acci¬dents at this spot since the store opened. JR knows that either the road needs to be widened to add a turn lane and/or a traffic light needs to be installed.JR approached the manager of the store about possibly paying for the improvements to the highway in front of the store entrance. How¬ever, the manager said that the store was already a good community citizen; it had created jobs for people, kept its prices low, gave dis¬counts to senior citizens, and donated a percentage of its sales receipts to various charities and fund-raisers in the county. As a result, he said the store was barely making a profit. If it didn’t make a profit, corpo¬rate headquarters would close it down, and a lot of people would be put out of work. (By the way, Commissioner Thomas’ wife workspart-time at the store.) Although the store manager sympathized with JR, he said the store could not pay for adding a turn lane to the high¬way. Concern about the increase in the number of accidents has been raised by several residents at the commissioners’ meetings in the past, but nothing has been done. The commissioners just said that the peo¬ple must be more careful. However, several months ago, one person was very seriously injured. JR knows that if something isn’t done, someone will be killed there eventually.A second project is to widen and repair Elk Mountain Road in the northwest part of the county. Many people use the road to go to the lakes on Elk Mountain and for hunting. JR can’t remember the last time the road was paved or fixed in any way. Rough winters have left it filled with potholes. After each winter the potholes get larger and deeper and there are more of them. Because of the unemployment in the county, recently independent loggers from the county have started using the road to go up to Elk Mountain to clear trees and bring the logs to sev-eral sawmills. The logging trucks are causing the road to deteriorate at an even faster rate. One of the mills getting the logs is Ye Olde Saw Mill in the adjacent county, where Commissioner Richardson is foreman. Both Commissioners Thomas and Richardson know the worsening conditions of Elk Mountain Road; after all, they use it frequently for going hunting and fishing on Elk Mountain. They also get an earful of complaints from many of their friends who use the road.Finally, County Route 1045 is the main road to the state correc¬tional facility in the southwestern part of the county. It is a two-lane road, just like all the other roads in the county. Near the prison, the road has a bridge that goes over Crockett Creek. Four years before, the ‘ bridge barely passed state inspection. At the time, JR was told that the bridge needed to be substantially upgraded by the next scheduled inspection, or it might not pass, and the bridge would have to be closed. That inspection is scheduled for next year. After the winter thaw, the water in Crockett Creek can get pretty high and flow pretty fast. People have voiced their concern about the bridge washing out. If that happened, traffic would need to be rerouted nearly 15 miles for most of the people who work at the prison.At one commissioners’ meeting last year, Commissioner Thomas said to wait until the bridge washed out; then maybe the state would give the county some money to build a new one. Besides, all those people who worked at the prison were state employees anyway and made a lot of money compared to retired people who have to live on a fixed income. That raised the ire of Commissioner Harold, whose daughter is a correctional officer at the prison, and he and Commis¬sioner Thomas got into a shouting match at the meeting.It is now June, and the commissioners will be reviewing the county Transportation Department’s budget for next year at the September 15 commissioners’ meeting. JR is worried that unless he presents a good case for which project should be given priority, the commissioners will probably not provide an increase in his budget for any of them. He fears that all three of the projects are disasters waiting to happen.Zachary is a civil engineering student at the state university going into his senior year. He is from Mainville and is working at the countyTransportation Department for the summer. It is June 15 when JR. asks Zachary to help him pull together some information on the three projects by August 15, before Zachary goes back to school. JR. can then be prepared for the commissioners’ September 15 budget review meeting.Because Zachary has lived in Mainville all his life, he is somewhat familiar with the three situations, although he has never given them much thought. However, the more he thought about it, he realized he had a personal connection to each of them.That serious accident in front of Big John’s superstore several months ago—the person who was seriously hurt was Peggy Sue Suite, one of Zachary’s best friends from high school. She was going to turn left into the store entrance when she was struck from behind by a pickup truck that hit a patch of ice and couldn’t stop in time. She is still in rehabilitation and wears a neck brace.Last hunting season, Zachary was driving up Elk Mountain in his old clunker of a car. The week before, he had just wired up the muf¬fler to the frame because the bracket fell off. He didn’t do the great¬est job of it, and the muffler and tail pipe hung pretty low to the ground. The next week when he was driving up Elk Mountain Road, he was almost run off the road by a logging truck coming down the mountain that seemed to enjoy the advantage it had over Zachary’s smaller car. Zachary hit a huge pothole and ripped the muffler and tail pipe off his car. Although he was mad, at the truck driver and the log¬gers who were tearing up the road, Zachary was just glad he wasn’t hurt and his car didn’t get sideswiped.Zachary’s brother is a correctional officer at the prison. Zachary heard him say more than once that it was just a matter of time until the Crockett Creek bridge collapsed or washed out. He swears he can feel it shake and sway when he goes over it. He said he hopes that he or his girlfriend (Commissioner Harold’s daughter) aren’t on it when it happens.”Why don’t the commissioners just give you the money for all three projects?” Zachary asked JR.”I wish it was that simple,” replied JR. “They don’t want to raise taxes, and even if they did, we are a poor county and the people prob¬ably wouldn’t have the money to pay any more taxes anyway. They also have other budgets to think about besides just the Transportation Department. I’m sure all the other county departments would like more money too.”Zachary, I’m hoping that some of what you learned at that uni¬versity is going to help you put together what I need—a priority rank¬ing of the three projects and the information on each one to back it up. I know the commissioners are going to ask a lot of questions, and I need to be prepared. If we’re lucky, they’ll approve the project we recommend. If we don’t have a good story to help them with a deci¬sion, they may just argue about it and deadlock with no decision. And we won’t get any money for any of the projects. Yep, I think this will give you an opportunity to get a different kind of education than you get at the university. Why don’t we get together next week and you can give me your ideas about how you’ll tackle this? This may be abigger job than you think. I want you to work on it full-time for the next two months. This is very important, and I want you to do a thor¬ough job.”