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Local News

December 5, 2012

Council outlines city manager Long's role

Oneonta’s city manager was hired with a job description outlined by the City Charter.

But on Tuesday night, the Common Council approved additional, specific fiscal, management and aesthetic goals.

Michael Long began as city manager Oct. 1. The position was created by the City Charter, which was approved by voters in November 2011 and took effect Jan. 1.

The City Charter states that the city manager’s performance will be evaluated annually by the council and the mayor, and it outlines powers and duties of the position. The city manager is responsible for day-to-day operations, according to the charter, which will allow the eight-member council and mayor to focus on policy.

"The transition will be very interesting to watch,’’ David Merzig, city attorney, said Tuesday night before the council meeting in City Hall. The mayor and council members, who serve on committees, have been very involved in the mechanics of city business, he said, and the adjustment to operations conducted by a city manager with broad powers is a big change.

According to the resolution, priorities for the city manager for the calendar year 2013 are:

1. Develop a plan to eliminate the structural deficit while maintaining the general fund, other reserves and debt at levels as established by the council. The manager will explore revenue enhancement opportunities. A study of departments and functions will include clerk/finance, staff consolidation; code, workflow and priorities; economic development office, grants and organization; Department of Public Service, management structure; police and fire departments, administration; and parks and recreation programs.

2. Successfully conduct and conclude Civil Service Employees Association negotiations.

3. Establish a development plan for the city, including downtown, manufacturing/distribution and housing.

4. Conduct a rigorous evaluation process for department heads and discuss results with the council.

5. Develop a beautification plan for the city entrances at Lettis Highway, lower Main Street, east Main Street, Chestnut Street and River Street.

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