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Harding hires Interim City Admin. on “as needed” basis – WHY?
Mayor says budget is reason job is not full-time –
WHAT? Where IS this budgeted $120,000 salary?

Mayor Ron Harding

– Mayor Harding grilled about filling City Administrator post at Council meeting of March 22.
The City Administrator post officially became available on September 1, 2015, 7 months ago, yet no full-time City Administrator has been hired.
While Mayor Harding appointed an interim City Administrator as he seeks a qualified full-time Administrator, Councilor Joe DePinto specifically asked these questions of Mayor Harding:

1. DePinto: I was curious to know our status of hiring a full-time City Administrator?
Mayor Harding: It’s, it’s just in-process right now.

2. DePinto: How many applicants have we had?”
Mayor Harding: “Oh, I don’t know the exact number, I want to say somewhere between, probably around 40, yea.

3. DePinto: And I was curious, is our interim administrator working on an as-needed basis or is he working a full 40 hours?
Mayor Harding: It’s as needed.

4. DePinto: Is there a reason for that?
Mayor Harding: Uh, is there a reason vs. 40? It’s just set by me, within our current budget. You know, once he gets up to speed and trained, those hours could change.

5. DePinto: What is the process of someone that’s applied…?
Mayor Harding: Um, What is the process, for? You know, this is probably a better discussion for a Study Session, uh, maybe under Council initiatives, than necessarily, and, you know, an open meeting, uh, or whatever – our process for hiring or screening applicants.

Editor’s note:
* If interim City Administrator Bill Brandon was hired on an “as needed” basis, why?
* If the city is seeking a full-time City Administrator since last October, then they have the $120,000 annual salary already budgeted, unless the mayor allocated those funds for something else.
* Did Mr. Harding move those funds elsewhere?
* I am sure the experience of interim City Administrator Brandon is serving him well to see the “big picture” in Yelm’s City Hall.
* The days of Mayor Harding shoving pertinent Council issues to the Study Sessions and/or Executive Sessions with a complacent council are over – the three new Councilors all ran on “open government” platforms. While some Executive Sessions may be necessary, they have been over-used by this mayor. Even a former Councilor had to abstain from a vote directly after one of these sessions, saying the public had no opportunity to comment on the Council’s decision.
* Mayor Harding is further tarnishing his own legacy here with just over a year-and-a-half left in his term. I expect more open challenges to his subterfuge in the months ahead.
* Mayor Harding has been challenged by his Councilors and now been forewarned about Gov. Inslee’s open meeting law fines (below)!

– “Inslee OKs stricter fines for violating open meeting laws”
“Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill that increases penalties for violations of the state’s open public meetings laws.

Inslee signed Senate Bill 6171 into law on Tuesday [March 28]. The Open Public Meetings Act requires certain meetings by governing bodies, such as city councils and school boards, to be open to the public. A public official that knowingly attends a meeting that violates the open meeting rules is fined under current law. The bill, requested by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, increases those fines from $100 to $500 for a first-time offense, and $1,000 for each subsequent violation.

“…Ferguson said the bill promotes “open and honest government” in the state,” quoting KHQ-TV News.
Read more

– Bottom line:
Yelm needs a full-time City Administrator on-the-job daily, so the Department Heads can exchange ideas, views, and dialogue with a hands-on City Administrator to effectively do their jobs, and to be more free to bring up issues, suggestions and recommendations without the mayor’s intimidation, whether outright or implied.

Posted by Steve on April 5, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

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