Story last updated at 4:04 p.m. Thursday, October 24, 2002

City manager gets thumbs up
by Carey James
Staff Writer

After several hours of discussion in an executive session Monday night, the Homer City Council reviewed City Manager Ron Drathman's performance and announced that while it would continue to review Drathman's management skills, the city manager is doing his job effectively.

"The council met in executive session to discuss the evaluation of the city manager," Councilman Mike Yourkowski read from a prepared statement at the end of the meeting near midnight. "The council acknowledged that major accomplishments were completed by volunteers, the council and management team in the last year. Recommendations and criteria were given for improving management skills, and council will evaluate that criteria at the last regular meeting in March."

Before the executive session, however, the council debated the idea of requesting comments from city employees on the city manager's performance. Councilmen Rick Ladd and Ray Kranich introduced a memorandum on this issue.

Ladd suggested that city employees be included in the city manager evaluation through a survey that posed simple questions on his performance.

"If the city wants to make this a worthy process, then the council should have a thorough knowledge and understanding of all evaluation performance considerations. The employee-input form provides an opportunity for meaningful employee input. It will then later be the mayor and council's responsibility to analyze employee input," Ladd said, reading from a prepared statement.

Others around the council table disagreed, however, saying employee evaluation responsibilities lie with the council, not city workers.

"If we are doing our jobs as council people, we are listening," said Councilwoman Rose Beck. "This creates the false expectation that whatever (the city employees say), we will follow through on."

John Fenske said he is confident he has a grasp of how city employees feel about the city manager.

"Personally, I cannot take a poll every time I have to make a decision," Fenske said. "The responsibility to evaluate the city manager is our job, whether we like it or not."

Doug Stark disagreed, however, saying the additional information would be helpful in making decisions regarding the city manager's review.

"It's just one more set of arrows in our quiver," he said.

In the end, however, the memorandum failed, with Ladd, Kranich and Stark voting in favor and Fenske, Yourkowski, Beck and Mayor Jack Cushing voting against the idea.

The city meets again Monday with the Committee of the Whole meeting at 4 p.m., and a budget work session scheduled for 6 p.m. The regular meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers at Homer City Hall.

Carey James can be reached at cjames@