Hiring A City Manager – 2015

I have been busy working on health care issues within my family and consequently I did not have time to study and analyze any political issues on the local level.  Today, June 10, 2015, I took time to drive down to the DeBary City Hall and obtain copies of the resumes for the five finalists who are being considered for the position of City Manager.

As a supporter of open, honest, and clean government at all levels of our government, the following is a list of six things that I believe to be true especially for city governments.  They are:  1) It is totally unethical, but not illegal, for a city council to hire a city manager and then negotiate his/her salary.  Hiring the manager and then entering into a salary negotiation always results in an excessive salary for the new manager.  This is extremely unfair to the taxpayers of a city.  An ethical council, with a modicum of common sense, would set a top salary level for a manager and then begin the city manager search and selection process.

2)  The League of Cities is an organization that has been around for a long time and it is a perfectly legal organization.  However, The League does not call itself a labor union for city employees.  Yet it is common knowledge that The League seriously promotes higher and higher pay for city employees and this is especially true for city managers.  The only way any city can keep paying higher and higher salaries to city employees is to continue to increase city taxes to higher and higher levels. ( Editor’s Note: I am not opposed in any way to fair and just salary increases for city employees from year to year.  If the federal inflation rate was say 2.5%, I would consider a 2.5% or a 3% salary increase fair and just.  If the federal inflation rate was again 2.5%, I would consider a 12% salary increase to be excessive. )

3) The DeBary Council received a large number of resumes for the position of city manager.  An individual affiliated with, or a past member of The League of Cities, examined the resumes and decided which ones should go to the final selection process. I believe that an ethical city council would ask all members of the council to examine and read all of the resumes and then bring their top five selections to a public meeting at which time the council would select their top five choices.  That is how we did it in 2009, when I was a member of the city council.  It was an example of open, clean, and honest government.

4) Each elected official has a different degree of honesty and integrity.  Council members with a high level of integrity will work relentlessly to select a city manager with a high level of integrity who will work for the good of all the citizens.  Council members with little  integrity will work relentlessly to select a city manager with a low level of integrity who will support the Machiavellian self interests of unethical council members.

5) Humans display both noble and ignoble traits.  Council members who lack integrity will ” cut deals” with perspective city manager candidates before  the selection process begins.  Council members who really want to work for the People are often at a disadvantage since they follow the rules and display integrity.

6) Clean, open, and honest city government can not exist without a city manager who displays integrity.

R. Van Conoley  ( Editor’s Note: I will attempt to find time to summarize the resumes submitted by the five finalists in a future post on this website. )

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