City manager gets opinions she sought
September 6, 2007
Carson City Manager Linda Ritter asked the Board of Supervisors to tell her what they would change about her position and to weigh in on how she performs her duties.
Supervisor Shelly Aldean asked that residency in the city be required of the city manager. Ritter lives here, but this would be added to the current rules governing the position.
And Supervisor Richard Staub asked that rules of comportment be created.
“I want something addressing professionalism and conduct. … There’s no room for disrespect,” he said. “This is not an accusation … I’d just like to see something.”
“It’s not an unusual thing to see,” Ritter said later about the request.
Some of the supervisors wanted improved communication and asked for it earlier this year. Monthly budget updates will continue, for example, as will weekly updates to the supervisors about various issues.
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Supervisor Pete Livermore wants to know more about the budget than has been the case recently because much of the discussion is conducted by a group of department managers.
“We only see the final document,” he said. “I’d like to see a bit of reversal back.”
Supervisor Robin Williamson suggested presentations about each department that would be given throughout the year – an idea brought up previously.
Staub, however, didn’t want to know why some people “want toilet paper in the bathroom,” he said. “I don’t need to micromanage the budget.”
Aldean and Williamson also would like to see expanded goal-setting sessions at the beginning of each year.
Livermore also wants the Charter Review Committee to look at the listed duties for the city manager when they meet next year. This group considers changes the city can take to state legislators. The next legislative session is in 2009.
Mayor Marv Teixeira asked Ritter to resign in July, citing “performance issues” but wouldn’t elaborate on a specific problem.
Timing of the attempted ouster of Ritter came after she changed the work assignment of Teixeira’s wife, Liz, as a way to help pay for a full-time auditor who would keep watch on employee expenditures instead of keeping the position as part time.
Liz Teixeira was the city’s community relations officer and Ritter wanted her to spend slightly more than half of her week promoting an employee health and wellness program instead of focusing exclusively on Partnership Carson City, the anti-methamphetamine coalition.
Ritter responded to the mayor’s request by submitting a letter citing what she would require to resign, such as a full buyout of her contract through April 2009. She also wrote that she thought the mayor’s request for her resignation had exposed the city to “serious liability.”
The issue was resolved after Liz Teixeira resigned. Ritter and the supervisors – and attorneys – met and as a result she remained as city manager.
Mayor Teixeira has denied that his wife’s job had anything to do with the request that Ritter resign. He didn’t request the topic be part of the meeting. It was Aldean who asked that it be discussed on behalf of Ritter.
“We need to better communicate what we’re doing,” Aldean said. She was referring to the city manager and the supervisors themselves, but also cited the importance of the open meeting law. “It’s important we act collectively when we discuss issues.”
“I didn’t understand what we were doing here,” Mayor Teixeira said at the beginning of the discussion. The topic should have been raised “by the employer, not the employee.”
Ritter has been the city’s manager since 2003, and has received positive job performance reviews. Her next review is expected in December. Local and state rules govern her job, and she has a contract with the city through April 2009.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
In other business, the supervisors:
• Decided to offer the full-time internal auditor position to Sue Johnson. She is the current finance director and previous auditor. The city will begin looking for someone to take over as finance director.
• Approved a 10 percent rate increase for ambulance service.
• Appointed Sandy Foley to a short-term seat on the Library Board of Trustees. The term ends in June.
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