City Manager’s Hiring Powers Restored
By LYNDON GERMAN
Dec 6, 2017, 14:20
Initially, Hopewell City Council thought it best that Interim City Manager Charlie Dane not hire a finance director – despite the history of delayed financial recordings – but during a special meeting on Nov. 2 Council discussed amending the interim city manager’s powers.
When Dane was brought on as interim city manager an employment agreement was drafted and entered on Aug. 31. In this agreement, which this reporter obtained through the City Clerk’s office, council restricted Dane’s ability to hire/appoint a new finance director.
The city had been relying on contracted services from former Interim Finance Director Lance Wolff a subcontractor of financial firm Minor & Associates, but as his contract expires the importance of filling that seat gained urgency.
According to minutes from the City Clerk’s office, Council decided to expand the interim city manager’s role on a 5 to 2 vote to amended section 2 of Dane’s employment agreement. Council agreed to allow Dane to employee a finance director whose contract period will be from Dec. 1 2017 through and including Nov. 30. 2018.
Minutes from that meeting reflect initially Councilor Janice Denton moved to amend the agreement to allow the interim city manager full authority under Chapter VI of the city’s charter. This motion was seconded by Mayor Jackie Shornak.
Vice Mayor Gore asked the motion be made more specific during discussion. The minutes attest that Mayor Shornak stated that the language should be fine since it was cleared with the City Attorney but amidst discussion it was decided the incoming finance director wouldn’t be a regular employee. Having a contracted employee gives the next city manager the chance to evaluate the finance director’s work and come to his or her own decision.
Councilor Anthony Zevgolis made the substitute motion to include the language “except Employee is not authorized under Chapter VI of the Charter to appoint a director of finance,” it was seconded by Councilor Brenda Pelham.