A search committee presented a summary of desired attributes and qualities for a city manager to the Cherokee City Council and sought feedback on what role, if any, that the committee should take now regarding the search for a city manager.
Rich Cook, Ed Otto, Mark Buschkamp, Jim Nelson and Jeff Hayes joined the council at the Tuesday meeting. The five have been working with Dwight Varce, council member; Dennis Henrich, mayor; and Deb Taylor, city clerk.
The attributes listed include:
Skilled as a leader -- both of city personnel and in the community.
Visionary -- sense of direction for the community; long term and capital improvement planning.
Bachelor of Science degree in public administration or business administration.
Experience -- three or more years in public or business administration.
Effective in oral and written communications.
Experience in public works departments (water, street, sewer and law enforcement).
Consensus building skills -- ability to assemble people with varied opinions to agree and act together on issues involving the community and city government.
Skill and experience in budgetary and fiscal matters.
Able to work with state agencies, state government, lobbying efforts, etc.
Mick Mallory, a council member who has questioned the need for a city administrator in the past, suggested that if the city council is going to go through with this, the council should think in terms of hiring a public works administrator.
Mallory noted that department heads will retire some day and a public works director might save the city money in the long run.
Mayor Henrich said that it might not be possible to have someone serve as department head over several departments because of all of the licenses required to run specific departments.
The council members will consider the information provided by the committee and decide at a future meeting what step to take next and what role the committee will play.
The council also decided to wait for a future meeting to decide on a color for the water tower. They want community input and an estimate on the difference in cost between white paint and another color.
The council approved a change in its health insurance plan for employees that will likely result in more reimbursements from the partial self-insurance program.
Rick Angell of the Rick Angell Insurance Agency, which provides insurance to the city, and Don Faber of Three Rivers, which administers the self-insurance portion of the city's coverage, were present to discuss a change in the policy and update the council on the current policy.
As with last year, the current fiscal year ending on June 30 appears to be a good one in terms of reimbursement from the self-insurance funds, according to Angell.
With the fiscal year almost over, only $18,479 has been used from the $81.000 set aside for self-insurance.
The change in policy will add a requirement that patients pay $150 toward the cost of an emergency room visit after the current maximum out of pocket expense is reached. This amount will be reimbursed when used by the city through a self-insurance fund, which will be increased through diversion of savings from the change in policy.
There are other changes in the insurance coverage that are not optional for the insurance purchaser.
In order to change the coverage, the bargaining unit for employees had to agree to the changes.
"The bargaining unit employees were willing to work with us to achieve something that will benefit the city. This doesn't always work this way. I'm very impressed with the city employees in Cherokee," Faber said.
On a 3 to 1 vote, the council compromised on fee changes for services, a subject of debate at past meetings.
The overnight camping fee at Spring Lake Park will remain at $15 and the monthly fee will go from $240 to $260 rather than the $270 as previously proposed.
The city will change the rental of one level of the community center with liquor license to $150. Presently the charge is $125 for less than 100 people and $200 for 100 or more.
There council decided that it would be simpler to make a single rate regardless of number of people.
There were various other fee changes approved as discussed at previous council meetings.
Mick Mallory was the only council member to vote against the adjustments. Bob Leach was absent.