Friday, July 17, 2009

Out to get Mahaney, why?

Mike Mahaney seems like a good guy, personable and easy to talk to. He has taken me seriously every time I talked to him about an issue. I don’t work with or for him so I have no inside knowledge. But I do attend commission and other meetings and have observed him interacting with the public and the commission.

From what I read he has done a great job saving money for the city. I am sure he is not as good as some say, or as bad as some say.

I hear Noland and Popelsky are out to get him. I have heard some reasons why, but none that stand up to a performance review. All are personal piques.

The Role of Local Government:

Paraphrased from Google: Under the council-manager form of government, such as the one in Deerfield Beach, the city commission is responsible for establishing policy, passing local ordinances, voting appropriations, appointing members to boards and commissions, approving the City budget based on income generated by property taxes and other income sources and developing an overall vision. Under such a government, the mayor performs primarily ceremonial duties.

The city manager oversees the daily operations of the government and implements the policies established by the governing body.

Ideally, the manager is apolitical.

When Mike Mahaney was hired to be city manager the city was recovering from years of being run by a political to the nth degree city manager, Larry Deetjen, who dismissed the commission as irrelevant.

He loudly put them in their place if they questioned him and made life miserable for anyone who bucked him. He set his own policies and expected the commissioners to rubber stamp them; he also made back room deals with commissioners and developers.

Deetjen was a strong aggressive opinionated egoist who treated the inhabitants of the city as lesser beings and was rude and nasty to residents who questioned him.

This was the training Mayor Noland had with a city manager, one who kept her in her place and dictated what would be done. He discouraged public meetings, (after all the public is stupid and should have no say in the government of the city) and as a result Noland only had one in 12 years. She rarely stood up to him, and weathered his scorn when she did. I remember only once, when facing reelection she voted against the Deetjen/Boinis pier deal.

Enter Mike Mahaney, a soft spoken intelligent manager who expected the commission to stick to their side of the road. He came in with no agenda except to put in action what the commission decided was policy.

He started right out saving the city money by cutting his office staff and not requiring an assistant manager. He spent so much time unraveling the mess he inherited that he was criticized for not being out in the field enough

What needs to be asked is, is he doing what a city manager should do, carrying out the business of the city. To find out, a real performance review should be done, one that has criteria correlated with his job description, do the check list, make some objective comments, check with employees and add up the numbers and see what you get; something like this:

INSTRUCTIONS: Place a check mark on the line underneath the number that you feel is appropriate for each item. 5 is high, or excellent. Please feel free to add your comments and suggestions in narrative form along with the numerical rating.

1. Public Relations 1 2 3 4 5
A. Projects a positive public image
B. Is courteous to public at all times
C. Keeps commitments to the public
D. Seeks to use criticism of self or City in positive ways
E. Maintains effective relations with media representatives

2. Employee Relations 1 2 3 4 5
A. Works well with other employees
B. Helps other employees when possible
C. Keeps commitments to other employees
D. Seeks to develop skills and abilities of employees

3. City Council Relationships 1 2 3 4 5
A. Effectively implements policies and programs approved by City Council
B. Reporting to City Council is timely, clear, concise and thorough
C. Accepts direction or instructions in a positive manner
D. Effectively aids the City council in establishing long-range goals
E. Keeps Council informed of current plans and activities of administration and new developments in technology, legislation, governmental practices, etc.

4. Leadership 1 2 3 4 5
A. Motivates others toward accomplishment of work
B. Delegates appropriate responsibilities
C. Makes thoughtful contributions to City Council and subordinates
D. Effectively evaluates performance of subordinates in his/her area
E. Seeks to develop teamwork by City Organization
F. Uses effective supervisory skills

5. Communications 1 2 3 4 5
A. Written communications are clear, concise and accurate
B. Oral communications are clear, concise; expresses self effectively

6. Personal Traits 1 2 3 4 5
A. Controls emotions effectively in difficult situations
B. Is creative in developing practical solutions to problems faced in the course of work
C. Uses common sense
D. Is flexible in accepting and adjusting to change
E. Has positive attitude
F. Demonstrates personal honesty and frankness in day-to-day relationships
G. Seeks to improve own skills and knowledge
H. Completes work in acceptable time periods
I. Performs work accurately

7. Goal Achieving 1 2 3 4 5
A. Takes initiative to get job done correctly and thoroughly
B. Perceives new responsibilities and proceeds independently to undertake or expand these responsibilities
C. Accepts responsibility for own work
D. Achieves goals set by or in conjunction with City Council

8. Fiscal Management 1 2 3 4 5
A. Prepares realistic annual budget
B. Seeks efficiency, economy and effectiveness in all programs
C. Controls expenditures in accordance with approved budget
D. Keeps City Council informed about revenues and expenditures, actual and projected

9. Decision Making 1 2 3 4 5
A. Attempts to obtain all available facts prior to making a decision
B. Is objective in decision making
C. Considers possible alternatives and their consequences before making decision
D. Makes decisions on a timely basis

10. Other 1 2 3 4 5
A. Seeks to promote intergovernmental cooperation
B. Effectively responds to local politics, customs and interests
C. Seeks to understand and respond to community needs

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