The Glen Rose City Council took steps Monday night to prepare for hiring a city administrator.
But how that person would interact with the mayor and city council prompted a lively debate between council members.
Mayor Pro Tem Bob Stricklin and Councilman Johnny Martin had been appointed by Mayor Jean King to come up with a job description for the new position.
One of their main points was to make the administrator accountable to the city council.
“The council will oversee the administrator,” Stricklin said.
That prompted Councilwoman Sandra Ramsay to ask about the mayor’s role.
“The mayor is the CEO (chief executive officer) and should act as the liaison between the city administrator and the council,” Ramsay said. “I’d really like to know why don’t want the mayor to be the liaison.”
“It gets to be you’re working for two bosses,” Stricklin replied.
“So you’re saying the mayor is not a member of the council?” Ramsay asked.
“She is a non-voting member,” Stricklin said.
King then jumped into the discussion.
“The mayor is a part of the council,” she said. “The mayor sets the agenda. The city administrator would have to come to the mayor to put something on the agenda or set a meeting.
“What I’d like to see happen here is for us to get a city administrator, period,” King added.
She recommended that a committee eventually be appointed to screen applications.
Ramsay said she also found portions of the job description vague, such as a statement that the city administrator should work to “improve employee morale.”
“Morale seems to be fine,” she said. “Define it in more of a business sense.”
Stricklin said the job description was a “working document” that would be refined along the way.
“From my point of view as a business person, we need to define these things more in detail,” Ramsay said. “They’re ambiguous and we need to define them.”
She also was concerned that a city administrator serving at the pleasure of the council might face retaliation if he or she discovered “weaknesses” at Town Hall.
“So if they get upset, are we going to say this person has got to go because they’re pointing out what our weaknesses are?” Ramsay asked.
Councilwoman Sue Oldenburg also wanted to know whether the position would be hourly or salaried.
Stricklin said it would be salaried.
King recommended that each council member read the job description carefully, note any changes he or she would like to make and give to the committee at a later date.
That was one thing the council agreed on. The measure passed unanimously.