Durango’s city manager may soon be under a more watchful eye as the City Council mulls dozens of evaluation criteria for the municipality’s top administrator.
Five city councilors identified more than 100 measures of success for Durango’s city manager at a two-day special session in July. A consultant consolidated the list to about 79 criteria that was presented Tuesday to City Council. The list may be shortened as City Council refines its goals and expectations of the manager.
The city manager is appointed by, and reports to, the Durango City Council.
City Councilor Kim Baxter, who was elected in April, requested a more formal and measured review of the city positions after staff could not provide documents detailing prior evaluations, goals and outlines of duties for the city manager, attorney and judge.
The council plans to meet again Aug. 20 to discuss progress on the evaluations and seek public input about the best way to measure progress.
The draft evaluation for the city manager asks councilors to rate, on a scale of one to five, how well the top administrator meets expectations in eight areas of responsibility:
Community relations, collaboration and public interactions.Strategic leadership.Financial management.Economic and community development.City Council relations.Implementation of City Council goals.Organizational management and development.Team development.But councilors weren’t clear exactly what a one-through-five rating means. One is the lowest ranking, five is the highest, but each person may have a different understanding or process of providing numeric feedback. Barbara Noseworthy, also elected in April, suggested councilors give specific examples when expectations were exceeded or not met.
Each area addresses different aspects of the manager’s responsibility and asks specific questions about performance, including:
Does the city manager welcome constructive feedback, different views and input from the public?Does the city manager anticipate future trends and create productive approaches to continuously improve services?Does the city manager interact with members of the City Council in a respectful and courteous manner?Is the city manager adept at building teams and establishing a culture of productivity, trust and accountability?The evaluation form asks councilors to supplement their numeric ranking with a “weight” they give to each of the dozens of criteria and comments to support the rating. Councilors said Tuesday they are not tied to the idea of weighting each assessment and may leave it out of the evaluation process, at least for the first year.
Councilors also want to provide the public a means of commenting on the city manager’s performance. They plan to allow public comment through a third-party to ensure respondents can remain confidential but also provide information about who they are, where they live and their relationship to the city manager.
A draft time line for implementing the new evaluation system suggests councilors will present a unified assessment of the city manager’s performance in an executive session planned for Sept. 10.
“I think we need to work through the specifics, but we’re close,” Noseworthy said.