The Durango city manager, city attorney and municipal judge have no established job description, goals and objectives, or recent performance reviews, newly elected City Councilor Kim Baxter has learned since her election.
Baxter said it was “inexcusable” for the city, with its $92 million budget, not to have a job description or outline of goals and objectives for the person charged with managing all of its resources. She discovered the city manager, attorney and municipal judge positions did not have those job outlines after requesting the information from city staff, who were unable to fulfill the request.
She requested that the issue be put on a City Council agenda, but that has yet to happen, Baxter said. The three positions are appointed and directed by City Council, she said.
“I’m new and I’m responsible for managing and directing three employees, and I need to know what their jobs are and what the agreements are with them,” Baxter said Tuesday during a regularly scheduled City Council meeting.
City Manager Ron LeBlanc makes $195,582 a year, and City Attorney Dirk Nelson makes $165,450, according to the 2019 approved budget. The salary numbers in the budget include benefits. The salary for the municipal judge was not immediately available this week.
Generally, the city manager “is responsible for carrying out the policies and ordinances of the City Council, for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the city and for appointing the department directors and other staff members,” according to budget documents. The city attorney serves as a legal adviser to City Council and the city manager; provides legal counsel to boards and commissions; and prepares ordinances, contracts and agreements, according to the budget.
It is the City Council’s responsibility to address job performance, descriptions and goals, Baxter said. Definitions of responsibilities need to be clear, and goals and objectives need to be simple, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, she said.
“It’s imperative that the City Council take the responsibility to remedy this situation, to take accountability for it and to prioritize it, so that we know where the city is going, how we’re going to get there and whether or not we’re doing it by measurement,” Baxter said.
Any personnel-related issues must be discussed in a private, executive session, Nelson said at the meeting. But policy and goal-setting are conversations that are open to public discussion, he said. Mayor Melissa Youssef said she is open to discussing job goals, descriptions and reviews.
“Anything process-related, we will do in open session,” Youssef said. “And anything personnel-related, we’ll handle in executive session.”