Dear fellow citizens of the city of Umatilla, it’s time to wake up. Our city council is taking us for a ride through its violation of established personnel policy, and by not upholding its fiduciary responsibilities to taxpayers.
Most of us are now aware that the current city manager has submitted his resignation. The council is taking action to search for his replacement. In the interim, the council has chosen a temporary replacement for the city manager — but not the person already in the position of deputy city manager and who has been trained, who has tenure, and was ready to assume responsibility.
In March 2016, when the outgoing city manager was first named to his position, the council also took action to create a deputy city manager position. The deputy city manager and the finance director positions were combined. Creating the position helped solve some administrative issues.
Based on the council’s actions and approvals made in 2016, upon receipt of resignation by the current city manager, the responsibilities for that position should have gone directly to the current deputy city manager/finance director. The person currently in the deputy city manager position is both highly capable and experienced with the operation of the city, and would have afforded a totally seamless transition.
Instead of following its own policy and personnel procedure established in 2016, the council chose a more recent addition to city staff, with far less experience with the city, to fill the interim city manager vacancy.
In addition, now the city taxpayers will have to pay an additional salary to this city staffer. That cost equates to about $5,000 annually. Had the council followed the city’s own plan, the transition would have been seamless and there would have been no additional costs to taxpayers because those responsibilities were already included in the salary of the current deputy city manager/finance director.
Not all of the council voted for this interim personnel choice and they should be acknowledged and thanked for following the rules of the city. However, the decision to not advance the deputy city manager/finance director into the temporary position means that the council has reneged on promises they made to you and me in 2016, and in so doing they have proven reckless in their fiduciary responsibilities to taxpayers.
Your voices should be heard.
Former mayor, Umatilla