The city council will vote Tuesday whether to approve new powers and duties for its city manager.
On the agenda June 5 is an ordinance that would amend city code to allow the city manager the ability to “create, consolidate or eliminate” employees, offices, divisions and departments.
The city manager would also have the authority to reclassify full-time employees to other departments, amend their salaries and re-structure the city’s organizational chart. In the current code, the city manager must bring such recommendations to the city council for approval.
The amendment would provide the city manager flexibility to run city operations efficiently, according to Interim City Manager Trisha Sorensen, whose idea it was to amend the code.
“As the city manager, you need to be able to be responsive to changing needs and you never know when that’s going to happen — and to wait two weeks to go to council to get approval for something, sometimes you need that flexibility to do it right away and we don’t have that,” Sorensen said.
Sorensen said she has no plans to consolidate or eliminate any city departments.
If approved, any such actions taken by a city manager would be under two stipulations:
- The action must be within the annual council-approved budget; and,
- It must not increase the total full-time city employees approved by council.
Sorensen said the code change request is similar to that of other cities.
The idea to amend the code was a product of this year’s budget discussions when Sorensen said she needed to move existing positions to other departments but couldn’t do it without council approval.
If approved Tuesday night, the city manager’s new powers go into effect immediately under an “emergency measure” – meaning the city would not have to wait the typical 30 days for implementation.
Sorensen said the code change will not give the city manager too much authority, but she said there are checks and balances to a city manager who acts in bad faith.
“If you’ve got a city manager coming in and they’re abusing that authority, then the city council will handle that on an individual basis with the city manager,” Sorensen said.
Ricky Horst, Maricopa’s new city manager will begin work June 25, according to Sorensen.