Common Council Moves To Change City ‘Manager’ To ‘Administrator’

Common Council Moves To Change

City ‘Manager’ To ‘Administrator’

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – It could be as easy as changing a few words.

“It is more apparent to me that we have a job that is titled ‘city manager’ in the Charter, but if you look at the description, it describes a city administrator,” said Mayor Gary Herzig during a special meeting of the Common Council this evening.

“The last three people we recruited as city managers were frustrated because they felt Council was too involved, Council was frustrated because they felt like they weren’t involved enough and the Mayor was frustrated because it was a struggle to know what was happening,” he said.

Following the departure of the city’s third manager, George Korthauer, in February, Council began looking at refining the description in order to fill the position.  Last week, Council declined to hire an interim city manager, agreeing that there was no immediate need.

“I fear that if we bring in another city manager, the way it’s written now, it would just lead to more frustrations,” said Council member Dave Rissberger, Third Ward. “The job description fits a city administrator.”

The easy solution, said Herzig, would be to go into the Charter and change the word “Manager” to “Administrator” without changing the job duties, a move that would not require a referendum.

“We have a pretty involved council,” said Council member Mark Davies, Second Ward. “That creates conflict within the city manager model, but having a city administrator might go some distance to resolving that tension and working with council.”

Council member Len Carson, Fifth Ward, suggested that Council look through the job description and note where they would like changes made, such as handling the budget. “They’re numbered, so we can look at it like the consent agenda,” he said. “We can pull out the ones that we want to talk about further.”

Additionally, Herzig said that he would like to see the administrator make stronger use of the strategic plan as a goal-setting strategy. “Last week, John Rafter said we should look at what we want this person to fully accomplish,” he said. “I have it some thought, and I would like to see them fully implement the strategic plan.”

“The Strategic Plan gets staff and elected officials all on the same page,” said Carson.

Council will reconvene to At 5 p.m. Monday,  Oct. 19, to discuss possible changes to the job description

 


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