Photo by Laura Gjovaag.
Councilwoman Theresa Hancock and Councilman Spencer Martin examine a city manager performance evaluation form from 2009 that the council will be using for Sunnyside City Manager Don Day’s first evaluation.
The Sunnyside City Council missed giving City Manager Don Day his six-month evaluation, but will be sitting in executive session tomorrow, May 7, to finally accomplish the task.
Day has been city manager since last July and has been extremely busy at his job since then. He has worked on changes to city software, figuring out budget problems going back several years and hiring a new police chief.
At last night’s city council workshop meeting, the council discussed how to proceed with an evaluation, starting with a form the council used to evaluate a city manager in 2009.
Councilwoman Theresa Hancock noted that when the form was used during a 360-evaluation (which takes feedback from multiple sources), the results from the city staff, outside agencies and the council lined up fairly close.
Councilman Spencer Martin asked if council could get feedback from a person representing an organization outside the city, such as another city manager.
Mayor Jim Restucci said that the time for this first evaluation is limited, and that he preferred staying local, but future reviews might be able to include outside assessments.
Councilman Dean Broersma asked if the individual review forms become public record and the mayor responded, saying the forms would be compiled and the originals, which include the names of the people filling out the forms, would not be public record.
Councilman Jason Raines argued that a 360-evaluation might drive the wrong behavior. He said the city manager is serving the citizens, not the city staff or outside agencies.
Restucci, again, noted that Day would not know where any comments originated. Getting feedback from the staff and other agencies is a useful way to see how other people view the city manager, he said.
Restucci also reminded the council that a performance evaluation is often the time when the council gives a city manager a raise. He then stated that Day had already indicated he will decline a raise if it is offered to him.
Councilman Craig Hicks asked if the form could be turned into a standard rubric to make scoring easier. There was some discussion on how to make the change without losing comments.
Martin noted that an evaluation form that gave the city manager all standard scores with no comments is useless to the council.
He also noted the fact that he has a very full summer schedule, like many council members, and asked when the evaluation would be conducted.
Raines pointed out that Day’s contract required a six-month evaluation and an annual evaluation afterward. He suggested the council adhere to the contract and make the first evaluation less encompassing, skipping feedback from others.
The council agreed, and Restucci suggested the group enter executive session and complete the evaluation immediately.
Several council members suggested waiting, and the group finally decided to meet at city hall on Wednesday night to complete the process. The meeting on Wednesday will be an executive session only with no action to be taken.
The council also plans to address the other issues, including decisions regarding who else to include in the 360-evaluation and whether or not to reformat the evaluation form, in a future meeting.