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Curriculum Center Browse Bibliography Build EPacket Pricing Structure Distribution Process Management Control in Nonprofit Organizations
Rovereto, Town of
Young, David W.
Functional Area(s):
   General Management
   Management Control Systems
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pages: 4
Teaching Note: Available. 
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First Page and the Assignment Questions:
I thought this decision was a done deal, and all I needed to do was put a memo on the mayor’s desk for his quick approval. Now I hear that because of his new cost-reduction program, his staff is going to be looking very hard at proposals such as this one, and that his approval is by no means assured. I’ve asked for a meeting with him, which he’s agreed to, but I’m going to have to take him some hard numbers and a convincing analysis.
    Carlota Zambelli, head of the public works department of the Town of Rovereto, was commenting on the difficult analysis that lay before her and her staff prior to her meeting with the mayor in three days. Although Ms. Zambelli’s staff had gathered and analyzed a considerable amount of data, the decision was still a complicated one that required some careful thinking.


    Rovereto, located in northeastern Italy, near Trento, had a reputation for high quality public services, one of which was snow removal. The Public Works Department had a fleet of four town-owned “Snow Devil 211” plows, which it supplemented with three of its own trucks. The trucks were equipped with plowing blades and sand spreaders during the winter,15 which were removed in the early spring so the trucks could be used for other purposes.

    In addition, Rovereto had contracts with ten private vendors, mainly landscape contractors who had pickup trucks and attached snowplowing blades to them during the winter. The private vendors were used as needed, depending on the severity of the storm. While none of them had spreaders, per se, they all had a person who stood in the back of the truck with a shovel throwing sand on the freshly-plowed road.

    Ms. Zambelli commented on this arrangement:

We use all of our town vehicles plus all ten private contractors during a snowstorm. The Snow Devils are the pride of our fleet, though. They were designed and built by Alfa Romeo, and we use them for the major highways that run through the town. Nothing beats them. They’re fast and efficient, and also have built-in sand spreaders. Unfortunately, they can’t be used for anything other than snowplowing, but that’s okay since we’ve got plenty of snow.

    The big problem is that they’re getting old and their repair costs are mounting. We staggered our purchases of them, one per year, beginning about 10 years ago, so that some of them will last for another few years, but we need to replace the oldest one now. Ten years of service is about all you can get out of one of these beasts.

    Fortunately, Alfa Romeo has come out with the Snow Devil 322—a much more efficient vehicle. So, by replacing our existing Snow Devils we’ll actually be able to save some money on operating costs. However, the rumors coming out of the mayor’s office are that his staff thinks it makes more sense to simply let the old Snow Devils go and use more private contractors.


1.    What should Ms. Zambelli recommend to the mayor?

2.    As a member of the mayor’s staff, what would you recommend?

3.    What action should the mayor take with regard to the town’s snow removal situation?