Council to work on setting up new form of government
On Monday, the Justin City Council will begin crafting an ordinance that will outline the responsibilities of the city manager position, which voters approved in the Nov. 6 election.
Justin residents voted to convert the city to a council-manager form of government, which gives the council the option of hiring a city manager. Residents approved the ordinance change by a vote of 734 to 469.
According to state documents, resident Stephen Chambers collected signatures on a petition to get the ordinance change on the ballot, and in February, the council approved an ordinance calling the election.
City officials have said the city manager will handle Justin’s daily operations. Although the manager’s role may vary from one city to another, the manager’s primary function is to enforce policies established by the council and ensure that the city is operated in a responsible manner.
An organizational report by a city-appointed committee led by council member Lisa Westkaemper stated that other duties of the manager may include enforcing all city ordinances, supervising employees and drawing the council’s attention to community needs.
State statutes require the city to appoint someone to the city manager position within 60 days of the election. However, the council has the option of appointing an interim city manager to serve until a full-time manager can be found.
“We are in the process of implementing now,” Justin Mayor Greg Scott said. “There is a lot to do and a lot to get accomplished here very shortly.”
Some residents have opposed the addition of a city manager because of the costs associated with creating the new position. During a previous council meeting, members of the city’s Organizational Structures Committee stated that a city manager’s salary could be set between $80,000 and $150,000.
And during a town hall meeting, it was reported that a hiring a search firm to find the right candidate could take six months and cost between $15,000 and $30,000.
Because the city’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 stated that money could be saved by combining the city manager and economic development corporation director positions and possibly eliminating the city administrator, but that has yet to be determined.
The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Monday at Justin City Hall, 415 N. College St.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail
address is email@example.com.