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Council OK’s ordinance through veto override

City Council and Mayor Derek Slaughter recently tussled over an ordinance Slaughter vetoed and council overrode the veto of which lays out additional organizational structure at City Hall, including the director of finance and administration.

The ordinance also expands council’s advice and consent duties. Originally passed on Aug. 27, Slaughter vetoed it on Sept. 4. At the most recent council meeting, Slaughter told council he was having the city interim finance director, Joseph Pawlak, review any financial implication of enacting the amendments in the codified ordinance.

In a 7-0 vote Thursday, council overrode the mayor’s veto.

Afterwards, Slaughter made the following statement:

“I believe there always needs to be a financial analysis attached to legislation. Council and I are not always going to agree and that is okay.”

During discussion leading to the vote to override the veto, Councilwoman Liz Miele said the model of city government had “no resemblance” to the administrative code, or that of other third-class cities.

In a measure of good faith for potential compromise if necessary, Miele said that should the administration see a financial burden due to the ordinance, the mayor/administration can go to council and ask for a meeting on a proposed revision.

Councilman Adam Yoder, who drafted much of the amendment to the codified ordinance, said it expands the advice and consent abilities of council through the creation of departments of human resources, (currently managed by one individual); public works and transportation and adds the modification of a third department, formerly administration, now called finance and administration.

Should there be a director of administration that needed to be hired, it would be another cost and that was what council and the administration was primarily wrestling over, Council President Randall J. Allison said.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz was terse in her desire to see the ordinance passed and not linger on with any more revisions. She noted the administration had enough time to have its interim finance director review and do a cost analysis.

In addition to expansion of council’s expansion of advice and consent abilities and modifying the formal departments of city government, the recently passed ordinance allows council to:

• Eliminate the abilities of department directors to take on multiple positions within city government without council approval

• Recommend the removal of department heads by providing guidance to future council members to do so

• Perform an annual review of the structure of the administration during the annual capital budget review process to ensure the city is providing city services to its stakeholders as efficiently and professionally as possible.

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