French-Reneker to take on some administrator duties
For more than a month, Fairfield has been without a city administrator.
The city council is contemplating hiring a search firm to locate candidates and select a few of them for the council to interview. However, that process takes time. The council will likely be without an administrator for a few months, but that doesn’t mean city business can just be put on hold.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the council unanimously approved an agreement with French-Reneker-Associates whereby the company will provide some of the administrative services the city has been without since former city administrator Kevin Flanagan resigned his post in mid-April.
The council considered an agreement with French-Reneker at its May 12 meeting after the personnel committee recommended such an arrangement. However, the council was not quite ready to approve the contract and asked the ways and means committee to review it as well.
The ways and means committee recommended a few changes to the initial proposal. Under the original proposal, French-Reneker would have been paid $7,600 for 80 hours of work per month. Mayor Ed Malloy said at Tuesday’s meeting that the estimate of 80 hours per month was too high. The ways and means committee decided that 15 hours per week, or 60 per month, would be a closer approximation of the amount of time French-Reneker would need to spend on its additional responsibilities.
The revised draft of the resolution that the council approved says that French-Reneker is expected to perform 60 hours of various administrative tasks for $5,700 per month. Melanie Carlson of French-Reneker will assume most of the administrator responsibilities assigned to the company, although other members of the firm could perform them as well. Carlson said she would look to Malloy and city clerk Joy Messer for guidance in how she should spend those 60 hours per month.
Carlson is not being asked to be an interim administrator in every respect. For instance, the resolution stipulates that French-Reneker will not perform certain administrative tasks such as supervising and evaluating city staff, authorizing purchases and drafting policies, ordinances and resolutions. Those duties will fall to Malloy, Messer, the councilors and other city staff.
Councilor Michael Halley stressed that the agreement with French-Reneker should be temporary and not a permanent solution to the city’s administrative needs. Councilor Jessica Ledger-Kalen agreed. Furthermore, Halley said that finding a full-fledged administrator was important because there is more to managing the city than an engineer can provide.
Halley said the city has gone through numerous periods without an administrator in just the last few years. Each time, Messer has had to take on additional responsibilities, he said. He asked the council to consider setting aside money for Messer as it begins the process to hire a new administrator. Councilor John Revolinski said the ways and means committee is mulling such a proposal.
The agreement with French-Reneker will begin July 1 and last through June 30, 2015, unless terminated by either party with a two-week notice.