Russell, I see a problem with your suggested solution to the town manager question...well, actually more than one. How would you suggest these issues be resolved?
1. There is nothing that would require the town council president to be a 'full time person running the day to day operations of the Town that is elected by and accountable to the people'. What would you do to make it a requirement?
2. Your proposal does not address the requirement for our town 'executive' to have any credentials that would qualify him (her) to efficiently manage the day to day operations-no degree, no experience requirements. Your proposal only requires the person to be popular with the voters. A quick review of Clarksville's past will show politicians that were popular and had name recognition, but were lousy when it came to managing and governing. How would you solve this to insure that the person holding the position could actually do the job?
In short, maintaining the status quo, but with your suggested changes, would not IMO leave us any better off than we are now. We could still end up with a part-time council president who is unqualified to efficiently manage.
The past scathing audit reports showing mismanagement, lack of control, and wasteful spending are examples of what we need to correct. One of the audit reports (the one on the street department where the previous street commissioner repaid the town $1,515.23 for 'questionable purchases') even mentions 'malfeasance'! Will hiring a trained, educated, experienced town manager solve our problems? I don't know, and neither do others. What I do know is that the only way to find out is to do it. A town manager can be hired...a town manager can be fired...the decision is always reversible if it doesn't work out (unless of course, the hire is somebody's crony pal...that's been done before). Under your proposal, a terrible council president will be with us for 4 long years...how do we solve that problem?
How do you know if the most popular of the 4 At-Large candidates has the qualifications to take all that on?
Right now the 7 members can share and help with all the duties.
How do you know if the most popular of the 4 at Large candidates has the time or the desire to take all that on?
Maybe that candidate runs At-Large because that is their best chance to win the election and has no desire or time to be the full time President.
We probably have never had a Town Board Candidate that was truly a well qualified Town Manager.
What are the chances the most popular of the At-Large candidates is or ever will be?
This is not meaning anything bad about any of the current candidates(Rep or Dem), they just don't have full time Town Manager training or experience.
The town manager Clarksville had in the 1970's was not a trained or experienced Town Manager. He was just someone hired to show some over site and report back to the board at a time when Town Board members did not have the time or desire. In the 1970's the Board members were not paid nearly as well, did not get a pension for a part time job, did not get full health insurance for a part time job and did not have a large town hall full of employees doing their leg work. He was the Town Boards Leasion before it was labeled that and spread among the members.
We have seen great improvements and thousands of dollars of savings already from the new leadership at the Street Department. A qualifier and experienced Town Manager should be able to improve on the great job being done there and help do it throughout all the Departments. There was a large figure noted at a town board meeting about 3 years ago about the saving up to that point in the Street Department. It was in the $175,000 range, That alone would cover that alone would pay for a Town Manager. What if those results could be found across all departments? What if the Town Board finally had someone that could be held accountable for major issues that might come up again?
Okay, I'll answer the questions as they are presented.
1). The first one is simple. We make it part of the duties. Is there a requirement that our Town Council members work only part time? Is there a requirement that the President of the U.S. work full time? Have you seen the responsibilities and duties that I have outlined? Here are the duties of a City Executive (who, by the way, does not have to have any educational requirements):
Powers and duties Sec. 3. The executive shall:
(1) enforce the ordinances of the city and the statutes of the state;
(2) provide a statement of the finances and general condition of the city to the city legislative body at least once a year;
(3) provide any information regarding city affairs that the legislative body requests;
(4) recommend, in writing, to the legislative body actions that the executive considers proper;
(5) call special meetings of the legislative body when necessary;
(6) supervise subordinate officers;
(7) insure efficient government of the city;
(8) fill vacancies in city offices when required by IC 3-13-8;
(9) sign all bonds, deeds, and contracts of the city and all licenses issued by the city; and
(10) approve or veto ordinances, orders, and resolutions of the legislative body under IC 36-4-6-15
Appointments Sec. 4.
The executive shall make the appointments prescribed by IC 36-4-9 and IC 36-4-11-2.
Power to hear complaints against person issued license;proceedings; findings and determination; violation, revocation, or suspension Sec. 5.
On reasonable notice of at least three (3) days to the person complained of, the executive shall hear any complaint against a person to whom the city has issued a license, and may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths to those witnesses, and require them to testify. To the extent they can be applied, the Indiana rules of procedure, including the right to appear by counsel and to compel the attendance of witnesses for or against persons complained of, apply to proceedings under this section. If the executive finds that the person complained of has wilfully violated a term or condition of his license, or has wilfully done or permitted to be done an act in violation of a statute or city ordinance relating to the business licensed, the executive shall revoke or suspend the license. He shall file a copy of his findings and determination with the city fiscal officer within twenty-four (24) hours after it is made.
Meetings with officers in charge of city departments; record Sec. 6.
At least once a month, the executive shall meet with the officers in charge of the city departments:(1) for consultation on the affairs of the city;(2) to adopt rules and regulations for the administration of the affairs of city departments; and(3) to adopt rules and regulations prescribing a merit system forselecting, appointing, or promoting city officers and employees.A record of meetings under this section shall be kept.
Appointment of persons to examine or investigate city accounts and property Sec. 7.
The executive may appoint three (3) competent persons to examine, without notice, the city accounts and property in the possession or custody of a city department, officer, or employee, and to report the results of their investigation.
I want to give our Town Executive these duties and responsibilities. I doubt they will be able to perform all these tasks, especially supervising subordinate officers and insuring efficient government of the town, on a part time basis. These are actually more duties than you would have a full time Town Manager do. Let me ask you this; If our Town Executive were able to perform all of these duties does it matter how much actual time they spent doing them?
2). What educational requirements are placed on the President of the U.S. by statute? We've been governing ourselves since 1783 without any educational requirements. We would vote for the person we thought was best for the job. Would you be in favor of putting in our ordinances that Council Members have a degree in political science? How about a recall vote for those elected officials not doing their job to our satisfaction? Why not hire competent department heads from the beginning? Isn't efficient operation of their department part of their job description?
Once that Town Manager is in place it will take 4 votes to remove them. If our new "Gang of Four" likes this person regardless of their performance we will be stuck with them until the next election anyway. I would prefer to have someone in that position who was elected by and accountable to the people, not the council.
3). The people can do a good job of vetting those 4 or 6 candidates. I personally would vote for the person I believed most qualified. Wouldn't you?
4). Why would a person who does not have the time or desire to perform the duties of a Town Executive choose to run?
Clarksvillevoter says, "We have seen great improvements and thousands of dollars of savings already from the new leadership at the Street Department." That makes my point. The department heads should be worried about operating their departments efficiently, the Town Executive should supervise subordinate officers (department heads) and insure efficient government of the town, and the Town Council should approve the budget. We don't need a Town Manager to accomplish this.
Like I said, this is a work in progress. All these questions can, and should, be asked and considered. My goal is to have the best government we can have that fits the wants and needs of Clarksville. I still believe that this route is the best route. It just needs some tweaking to make it work for us.
Edited by Russell Brooksbank, 27 October 2015 - 09:03 AM.