, Muskogee, OK

August 28, 2013

Council refines city manager job description

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer

dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.comArmed with a revised job description, Muskogee’s elected leaders appear ready to begin in earnest their search for Muskogee’s next city manager.

City councilors approved on Monday a job description for the position that defines the qualities they hope to find in the next top administrator. The revised job description was cobbled together by a committee made up of Personnel Director Kelly Epperson and three city councilors.

Epperson said the document, which was reviewed by the city’s legal department, meshes parts of a description approved last year with what committee members liked in similar documents adopted by other municipalities. The description also tracks city charter provisions in terms that are more user-friendly without the legalese.

Ward II Councilor James Gulley, one of the committee members who worked on the revised job description, said nothing was eliminated from the old document. Three or four provisions, however, were added.

“When you make changes like these you want to reflect back and make sure you are looking for the right things,” Gulley said. “One of the things we did include and change is that we are expecting the new city manager to create a positive atmosphere with all the employees.”

Gulley said he and his colleagues understand the city manager and employees must maintain a business relationship. But that relationship should remain cordial with regard to labor relations, contract negotiations and collective bargaining.

Ward III Councilor Randy Howard, who also worked on the committee, said the new job description also broadens the scope of duties that will be expected from the next city manager. Howard said there is some expectation that whoever succeeds former City Manager Greg Buckley, who accepted city councilors’ offer to accept his resignation effective July 30, will have some expertise in retail development.

“With everything we have going on right now, we have a lot of things on the cusp of breaking wide open,” Howard said. “When you look at retail development, that is what Muskogee needs to boost sales tax revenue and spur economic development in other areas.”

Other additions to the revised job description for city manager include regular inspections of all city facilities and operations along with regular reports of those findings to city councilors. Another addition includes a notation of the meetings a city manager is required to attend as part of his or her regular duties.

Both Gulley and Howard said they are eager to get the search for a new city manager under way. They also agreed the search process should be methodical and precise to ensure the next city manager will be “a good fit for Muskogee.”

“We don’t really want to rush this,” Gulley said. “We want to take our time and find the right guy.”

The vacancy already has been posted with the Oklahoma Municipal League.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or