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December 5, 2012

Council outlines city manager Long's role

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — 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.

During the meeting Tuesday night, Long gave a report that included references to work on some of the responsibilities. Many of the duties will fit with his "skill set’’ and draw on previous municipal experience, he said after the meeting, and he welcomed the agenda. "This is what I do,’’ Long said."I love challenges.’’

Long said he recently was notified of his designation from the International City/County Management Association as a credentialed manager. He is one of 20 local government managers in the state and 1,200 in the nation have the recognition through the ICMA Voluntary Program, he said.

The ICMA credential is based on factors including experience as a senior management executive in local government, education and a commitment to professional development.

According to the Oneonta City Charter, the city manager has the powers and duties listed below:

(1) Shall be the chief executive officer and chief administrative officer of the city and shall be responsible to the Common Council for the administration of all city affairs placed in the city manager's charge by or under this charter or by other applicable law.

(2) Shall have the primary responsibility for the daily administration of the city, including the supervision of all employees, coordination and delivery of services, and oversight of fiscal management.

(3) Shall appoint all department heads, officers and employees of the city except as provided otherwise in this charter or by applicable law, with the approval of the Common Council.

(4) Shall serve as the liaison between the heads of all departments and agencies of city government, and the mayor and Common Council.

(5) May suspend or remove any employee of the city as authorized by state law or pursuant to the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement.

(6) May suspend or remove any officer he appoints as authorized by state law or pursuant to the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement.

(7) Shall attend all meetings of the Common Council and may participate in discussion of any matter before the Common Council, but he may not vote.

(8) Shall communicate a general statement of the affairs of the city, in relation to its finances, government and improvement, to the Common Council as soon after the start of the fiscal year and as often thereafter as he considers expedient with such recommendations as the city manager deems proper. He shall make such other reports as requested by the Common Council concerning the operations of the city departments, offices and agencies.

(9) Shall participate in the collective bargaining process as a member of the management team in city negotiations with collective bargaining units.

(10) Shall lead the annual planning and budgeting process, including the preparation of a full draft budget that is presented to the Common Council.

(11) Shall serve as liaison for the city in dealing with other local, county, state and federal governmental entities.

(12) Shall facilitate effective communication and the free exchange of ideas between the departments and other agencies of city government and the general public.

(13) May prescribe and enforce rules and regulations for the efficient management of city government consistent with this charter and other applicable law.

(14) Shall administer the annual performance evaluation review process for all heads of city departments.

(15) Shall have the power and authority to call out and command the police and firefighters of the city whenever he shall deem it necessary, and such command shall be in all respects obeyed. Whenever necessary for the prevention or suppression of public disturbances, mobs, or riots, it shall be the city manager's duty to take such action as is authorized by law. (16) Shall perform such other duties as required by this charter or other applicable law, or as directed by the Common Council.