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Governance And Ends Policies Adopted April 9, 2019

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After last meeting there was a mention of a policy adopted in 2019 that made me curious. I wanted some feedback on it. Can staff tell me why this was introduced, and if something similar existed before the adoption of this? Also, what type of consequence would we see if this policy document was removed from the books, should a council rescind it. Would also be interested in fellow council-members thoughts on the document.

Good morning, Councilmember Craft,

I have attached the 2015 Resolution and the Governance and Ends Policies.  These were both created by City Council's in the past to define how the local government functions between the relationships of City Council and City Manager.  The 2015 resolution has a preamble section included, but in each document, it has introductory statements for most sections as to why it was important at the time. 

In my opinion, it comes down to setting clear expectations and defining the roles.  This is particularly important for the city manager role, so they know what they are being held accountable to when implementing Council's policies and direction for the city.  The main consequence would be that without something in writing then the target or expectations could change instantly with or without explanation, which makes it difficult for the city manager and staff to perform.  For example, during last Council meeting we had one councilmember that would be good with bringing all new hires for council approval, we had another just interested in directors and above, and we had another that seemed more in line with past practice of not being involved in the hiring process beyond city manager and municipal judge.  By having a policy, all of those issues can be agreed upon up front by City Council and revised, as needed, in the future.    

Here are some additional reasons cities might consider these documents:

  1. Defining Roles: These rules spell out who is responsible for what. The city council sets the goals and priorities, while the city manager makes sure the day-to-day operations align with those. This clarity prevents confusion and overlapping duties.

  2. Better Decision Making: With clear roles, both the city council and the city manager can make more informed decisions. The council can focus on the big picture, leaving the city manager to efficiently implement these plans, knowing exactly what is expected.

  3. Accountability and Transparency: Clear guidelines help outline how performance is measured and reported. This makes it easier for citizens to understand how decisions are made and ensures that council members and the city manager can be held accountable for their actions, building trust in the process.

  4. Conflict Resolution: When disagreements arise, having a set of rules helps navigate conflicts by providing a reference point for who is responsible for what, reducing friction and promoting a more harmonious working environment.

  5. Building Community Trust: A transparent and well-organized government reassures citizens that their leaders are working in their best interest, which can strengthen trust and confidence in local governance.

  6. Long-term Vision and Stability: These guidelines help maintain a consistent direction and approach to governance, even as council members or city managers change over time, ensuring stability and continuity in serving the community's needs.

  7. Professional Management: Clearly defined roles attract qualified professionals to the city manager position, knowing they have a clear mandate and the authority to execute their responsibilities, leading to more effective and professional administration.


The 2015 and 2019 documents are the most recent Amarillo policies I am aware of, but I think previous City Council's also used ordinances to define expectations related to hiring of staff in particular:

1944 Ordinance - Human Resources Director appointed by City Manager subject to the approval of City Council
1986 Ordinance - City Attorney appointed by the City Manager with the advice and consent of the City Council
1986 Ordinance - City Secretary, City Tax Assessor/Collector, City Auditor appointed by City Manager with the advice, consent and approval of the City Council
1986 Ordinance - Director of Parks & Recreation appointed by the City Manager with the advice and consent of the City Council
1986 Ordinance - Chief of Police appointed by the City Manager, with the advice and consent of the City Council
1986 Ordinance - Golf Course Manager appointed by the City Manager, with the consent of the City Council


Here are a few examples of other cities that have adopted policies on how they govern based on a quick search:

Galveston - https://www.galvestontx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6347/City-Council-Policy-Manual---Adopted-Sept-28-2017-PDF
Georgetown - City_Council_Governance_Policy_FINAL-1.pdf (georgetown.org)
Burnsville, MN - Governance-Policies-Notebook (burnsvillemn.gov)
Killeen - City of Killeen (killeentexas.gov)
Milpitas, CA - Milpitas-City-Council-Handbook-PDF

Thank you,
Andrew Freeman

Uploaded files:
Andrew Freeman Deputy City Manager

I appreciate the additional info on this.  I would like to ask if council would want to suspend these policies until we can conduct a thorough review.  We have illustrated how some of the direction in these policies does not line up with our charter and I believe that council will want to take some time and go over this along with the possible charter update.  Would council like to schedule a workshop in march to review these?  Would council want to combine these with the charter in order to compare/contrast some of the discrepancies?

Please advise

 

 

Good morning,

Staff will standby until we hear from enough Councilmembers that would like us to place an action item on an upcoming agenda to repeal or suspend the Governance and Ends Policies.  Would Council also like to do the same with the 2015 resolution since that would still be in place?  It would also be helpful to know if Council would like an action item or a discussion/direction item on how to handle all new hires moving forward.  We average about 10-20 new employees every two weeks, so HR would need to build in time to get them on Council agendas to meet the new Council legal interpretation of advice and consent for all employees, since we wouldn't have any supplemental Council polices or resolutions stating otherwise.

Thank you,
Andrew    

Andrew Freeman Deputy City Manager

I would recommend a work session the week of the 18th-22nd if everyone has time.  We could start the discussion on a couple of these and give staff better direction until we finalize policy.  19th or 21st works best for me.  Mid afternoon or morning

Please advise

I am good with the 21st any time.

I am all in for having a work session to discuss everything we need about this issue. In think we need update a lot of these documents.

I am good with a work session.  I think we need legal to advise on these as we walk through them.  I do not believe suspending them is a good idea. I am not educated on these enough to know what that would open up. I have to believe these were put in place for several reasons.  I am all about reviewing, revising, or doing away with them after we know more and dig in.  

Council

We are set up for a good work session to discuss and review the gov and ends policies Tuesday 26th at 8:30.  Mrs. Coggins will send out the invites.  We can also include the charter as a listed topic so that we can discuss what the charter states and how it relates to this current policy.  Andrew did include a link to the previous policy adopted back in 2015.  Please take some time to review both of these next week and come to the work session with questions, changes, thoughts, etc.  I look forward to having a productive meeting and appreciate you all more than you know.

Will do!

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