Now that the city’s budget controversy has come to a close, the next step is to begin the hiring process for the next city administrator.
Director of Community Development Director Steve Crandell has been acting as city administrator since August when Lori Luther left for a position in Peoria County, IL. While some attempts to remove the city administrator position from the 2012 budget were made by Alderman Eric Payne to save money next year, the Common Council agreed to staff the position beginning March 1.
The Human Resources Committee is meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at to discuss the “process for evaluation of executive search firm proposals for recruitment of city administrator.”
Mayor Jeff Scrima has agreed Waukesha needs a city administrator, but the exact job description could become controversial. The city administrator historically has been in charge of the day-to-day operations of City Hall and developing the budget. Scrima, during Wednesday night’s budget discussion, said it’s the mayor’s job to be in charge of the operations of the city.
The Common Council in 2010 removed the mayor’s supervision and evaluation powers over the city administrator position after Scrima clashed with the city administrator during the first few months after he took office.
Scrima wants the council to change its previous decision to strip his supervisory role of the city administrator.
“This is for the purpose of conforming to Wisconsin State Statutes and returning to the citizens the right of being able to hold one person directly accountable for the day-to-day operation of city government,”
When Luther left the city, she left this final statement and word of advice regarding the situation with the Common Council:
“In regard to the closed session relating to direct supervision of the city administrator, the reason for confidentiality of personnel matters is largely for the protection of the employee. However, this clearly did not prevent retaliatory tactics from being pursued. That said, I believe that the time period for the need for confidentiality has expired based on my departure and I do not object to the council sharing any information about the events that led up to that decision.
“I am concerned about potential liability and/or litigation should the reporting structure be reverted. If you take the emotion out of the equation, the professional standard is for the chief administrative officer to report to the policy making body. It is that individual’s responsibility to implement the policies lawfully formulated and adopted by the Common Council. In situations where the elected officials area at odds with one another, it places the administrator in an impossible situation.”