Mayor, council discuss department challenges

City Council approved a $79.5 million six-year capital projects budget without much discussion this week, but it’s passage led some on council asking and commenting with Mayor Derek Slaughter about the status of departments of safety and finance and administration and public works.

During this week’s council meeting, Councilman Adam Yoder, in revisiting what he and others on council said they were interested in earlier this year, asked Slaughter if the city needed a public safety director.

Slaughter then responded saying he was reviewing that with Bureau of Fire Chief Mark Killian and Bureau of Police Chief Justin Snyder.

Slaughter said the previous police Chief Damon R. Hagan served as the public safety director and in the interim or transition period, he would not be in a rush to have that role filled.

The public safety director conversation ended and Slaughter touched on the finance department.

As for finance director, Slaughter said, he was reviewing that and said he planned on moving forward on it in the near future.

Yoder said the goal of consolidating roles in the administration was to minimize budget impact. Slaughter nodded.

It is “feasible a director of administration” might not be needed, Slaughter said.

Having the positions of director of finance and the administration filled by the same individual would be challenging, Slaughter said. “It would be extremely difficult,” he said.

Another consideration is to determine a possible salary for a director of finance, Slaughter said, adding other aspects are under consideration such as whether he would elevate an existing city employee or otherwise seek a different individual.

As for director (general manager) of public works, there have been three individuals who expressed interest.

“We may be lucky with number four,” Slaughter said.

Several more interviews have been scheduled, he said. “We may need to amend city code,” Slaughter said.

With his years of council experience, Council President Randall J. Allison replied in regards to the consolidation of department heads and directors of departments.

Allison said he was not a fan of consolidating or allowing conditions that create too much power in one individual.

Too much power, intentionally, or not influencing decisions without having all the information and having checks and balances is not a good thing, Allison said.


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