, Muskogee, OK

August 9, 2013

Keep future in mind on manager

— Muskogee city councilors should remember they are temporary custodians when they revise the job description for the next city manager.

The Council has decided to form a committee to study possible revisions of the job description and evaluation form for the vacant top city administrator’s position.

This committee was formed after former City Manager Greg Buckley offered his immediate resignation during an executive session of the Council.

The purpose of that executive session was to evaluate Buckley’s performance.

It is safe to say Buckley did not get a gold star from the Council.

The natural reaction of the Council is to find a person that is a better “fit” for this Council.

But councilor is a temp job. Councilors are elected every four years. The mayor is elected every two years.

That means that in every year ending in an even number there is a potential for five of the nine council seats to be turned over.

This Council is charged with hiring a city manager who could be answering to an entirely different group of councilors by February.

Councilors must remember that when considering revisions to the city manager’s job description.

The job description they write can handcuff Councils for years to come in much the same way this description appears to be have been unsatisfactory for this Council.

The committee should have outside input. One or two citizens on this committee can’t hurt the process. Outside perspective might help.

Councilors also should look at the job description of city managers throughout the state to ensure they are not making revisions in a vacuum.

If the city manager’s job has evolved over the years since the last revision of the job description, then by all means it should be updated.

But the Council should refrain from writing a job description and evaluation form that reflects issues with the past city manager.