Justin city manager post still in works

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Justin officials say they are working on refining the job description of their new city manager in an effort to delegate daily responsibilities to the position and away from the City Council.

The city appointed City Administrator Mike Evans to the position of city manager, and Evans, who has worked for Justin for almost 15 years, said the city is in the process of finishing the ordinance that will clearly define his responsibilities.

Residents petitioned and voted for the creation of the position during the Nov. 6 election, and by law, the council had to appoint a city manager 60 days after an election.

“We’re still trying to figure everything out,” Evans said. “The ordinance isn’t finished yet and only establishes basic responsibilities of the position.”

Evans said city leaders would probably have a clearer picture of the city manager’s responsibilities by the next council meeting.

Evans said the council members made his appointment Tuesday with intentions to hire him as the temporary city manager until they begin seeking other applicants. Evans said he wants to remain as city manager and will apply for the position if the council decides to look for other potential candidates.

Mayor Greg Scott said the position was a necessary addition to the city, which has seen a spike in its population growth in recent years.

“The city manager will allow us to work more efficiently and manage our time better,” he said. “As a council, we now can focus on making important decisions on city policy rather than handling routine administrative tasks.”

Scott and Evans said some of the job descriptions for the city manager position could change as officials begin to understand the new city structure.

“It’s a new position, and we’re still trying to determine how we’re going to use it,” Evans said.

Evans said it’s fair to say the city doesn’t know what it’s going to do with its city manager position yet, but a city-appointed committee is seeking to fine-tune the details.

A report by the Organizational Structures Committee, led by council member Lisa Westkaemper, stated that other duties of the manager could include enforcing all city ordinances, supervising employees and drawing the council’s attention to community needs.

And although the manager’s role may vary from one city to another, the manager’s primary function is to act as chief executive officer and enforce policies established by the council.

Before the election, many Justin residents had opposed adding a city manager because of the costs of creating the new position.

During a previous council meeting, committee members stated that a city manager’s salary could be set between $80,000 and $150,000.

Because Justin’s 2012-13 budget is already in place, the city will have to pull from its reserves to pay for any unbudgeted items. The city expects to have more than $765,000 in savings by the fiscal year’s end.

Officials said that combining the city manager and economic development corporation director positions and possibly eliminating the city administrator could save money, but that has yet to be determined, Evans said.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is jharden@dentonrc.com .


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