Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2007

Council approves appointments for department heads, splits on ordinance

July 12, 2007

The people in the city government's top jobs will be the same as last year.

The Eudora City Council accepted Mayor Tom Pyle's appointments for city department heads without discussion Monday. But a charter ordinance that would have changed the appointment process failed.

The approved appointments were: Eudora City Fire Chief Randy Ates, City Superintendent Delbert Breithaupt, Eudora Police Chief Greg Dahlem, Assistant City Clerk Tammy Donovan, City Treasurer Marge Groniger, Parks and Recreation director Tammy Hodges, Municipal Judge Randy McCalla and City Clerk Donna Oleson. The council accepted the appointment of Lathrop and Gage LC to perform the services of city attorney. The council also approved a renewed term for planning commissioners Kurt von Achen and Richard Campbell as well as Dave Durkin's appointment to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

"They've all done real good," Pyle said.

The council focused on the charter ordinance as a separate issue. The ordinance would have pushed back city appointments to May and would have made each term last two years.

"It doesn't matter except that we get our appointments made sooner as the rest of state does," Pyle said.

Councilman Bill Whitten said appointing department heads to two-year terms it could possibly tie the hands of a future mayor.

"I don't think we should do it every two years," Whitten said.

He proposed the possibility of a four-year term.

"Four years would be a bit much," Pyle said. "A two-year term would give them a little bit of security."

Just because department heads could be appointed to two-year our four-year terms didn't mean they couldn't be fired for bad performance, Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.

Councilman Jeff Peterson said he could see the value in a multi-year term. It could be important to attract and retain qualified people for city positions, he said.

"Having two-year employment or four has some validity by giving them some stability because I just think it's just a good way to treat employees to appoint them for more than one year at a time," he said.

It would give them a reason to invest in the community, Peterson said.

Given the choice between a two- or four-year term, Peterson said he preferred the two-year term.

"I think we've had employees that came here recently that were a little nervous about how long they might last, because they had a one-year appointment," Pyle said.

The charter ordinance failed 3-1, needing a super majority to win passage. Whitten dissented while Peterson, Councilman Fred Stewart and Councilwoman Maria Nelson voted for the ordinance.

"Well, I guess it will come up again," Pyle said.

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