Effingham County’s municipalities either have or are in the process of getting a city manager, and Guyton’s city council gathered Tuesday afternoon to discuss the job description for their future hire.
Councilman Phillip King read the four-page description, which delineated the duties and required skills and experience for the city’s new position.
“The description is still a work in progress,” City Attorney Ramona Bartos noted.
One of the questionable areas for the group was the ability of the administrator to hire and fire city employees. The description states that the city manager will work as the personnel director for all city departments, managing and supervising all departments, agencies and offices of the city.
The council stressed that they do not want this person to be able to hire and fire at will. Bartos asserted that the administrator would have to bring any hiring and firing decisions before the council for approval.
“This person will not have carte blanche to do as they want to,” she said.
Part of the job description calls for the city manager to interact with other government officials and the public.
“This person definitely needs to be a people person at the same time,” King said.
He emphasized that he wants someone with good public relations skills.
The council reached a stumbling block with how much to allow the manager to spend each month without having to come before them for approval.
Bartos noted in the job description that the new hire would have the power to spend less than $500 without needing council’s approval. However, she pointed out that amount was simply a suggestion and that she needed some guidance from the council on exactly how much they want to allow the administrator to spend.
Mayor Michael Garvin made clear that the council doesn’t need to bind the manager’s hands so much so that he will have to come before the council for every little thing. That would in effect eliminate the whole purpose for hiring someone, he noted.
Garvin suggested that they look at what the city spends now on average per month and use that as limit. Assistant city clerk Peggy Gordon mentioned looking at what they spend on an annual basis and dividing that by the number of months.
In terms of the minimum amount of education and experience needed, the job description states that the candidate has a college degree with coursework in business or public administration and five years of related employment.
Bartos asked the council if they wanted to change those requirements.
King reminded the council of what they can truly expect in terms of applicants. The city has budgeted $48,859 for the position, not including benefits. At that amount, he acknowledged, they will not get a top-notch candidate.
“We will be a stepping stone for a young man coming in,” he noted, such as someone straight out of college.
The amount of experience in zoning and planning the city manager needs to have was also an issue for the council.
“How strong do we want that requirement?” Garvin asked the council.
Part of the job description states that the city administrator will serve as the planning and zoning director for the town.
Garvin added that he could learn on the job. King remarked that they should be willing to pay for any classes the new employee wanted to take to learn more about planning and zoning.
“We got to put the tools out there for him to educate himself,” King said.
Bartos instructed the council to forward any suggestions or changes to her so that she could revise the job description.
She expects to have a final draft completed to present to the council at next month’s council meeting.
Rincon has had a city manager for several years and Springfield also is looking into hiring a city manager.