Interim Public Works Director’s contract not properly approved by council, not in Yelm Protocol Manual compliance
- Story highlights:
- An Interim Public Works Director contract was signed by the mayor on October 14, 2019 without council’s knowledge,
- The contract is with a talent recruitment firm with the city paying that company $91 an hour plus taxes for a temporary employee,
- The mayor has the authority to appoint Department Heads, yet not approving his own Interim Public Works Director labor contract,
- Simply, if the council had not seen the contract before the Nov. 12, 2019 council session, then they did not approve the October 14, 2019 signed labor contract in the city’s budget, which is their explicit area of oversight,
- Mr. Foster unilaterally issued, approved, and signed a labor contract against city policy.
- The time has come to hold Mayor Foster accountable for continuing to not follow city policy.
At the November 12th Yelm city council session, Councilor Joe DePinto asked Mayor Foster if there was a contract with the new Interim Public Works Director and if the council has to approve that document. Mayor Foster said there was a contract and the council did not have to approve such. Mayor Foster ensured he would send the contract to the councilors, indicating they had not previously seen the document. Click here, start at 1:05:25. Yet that response was in error!
The Yelm Municipal Code states the mayor has the authority to appoint Department Heads, of which an Interim Public Works Director is not. While the mayor is responsible to fill the full-time Public Works Director position with a full-time employee, Foster does not have the authority to solicit, negotiate, approve, and sign labor contracts by himself and without consulting the council. The mayor’s contract with a talent recruitment firm for an Interim Public Works Director violated the Yelm Protocol Manual.
The Yelm Protocol Manual states in section 2.02 Section 6,page 9 about “Personnel Matters” that the role of the council is to “Establish bargaining parameters and approve final labor contracts.”
Section 2.03 of the Yelm Protocol Manual states, “The Mayor shall appoint and remove all appointive officers of the city, which shall include: a city attorney, a chief of police, a city clerk/treasurer, a public works director and a community development director.” However, signing a contract with an employee talent agency for an Interim Public Works Director is NOT the same as appointing a Public Works Director. This is a contract with no finite end in paying this contract employee $91 an hour plus taxes. If the council had not seen the contract, then they did not approve the October 14, 2019 signed contract in the city’s budget, which is under their oversight. That Mr. Foster unilaterally signed this contract is against city policy. Even if given the opportunity, would the council have approved an effective $94 an hour contract with a talent recruitment agency for an undefined period of time?
As reported here previously, Mr. Foster signed a Contract for a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure on 640 acres in late 2017 also without informing council and not obtaining their approval. That was a very serious breech of protocol.
Click here for the City of Yelm Protocol Manual.
Click here for the contact Mr. Foster signed October 14, 2019 with the Prothman talent recruitment firm for an Interim Public Works Director.