Town Manager Needs To Have Power And Responsibility

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Editor:

A current Payson issue is how the power to terminate town of Payson department heads should be exercised. For the reasons stated below, the interests of the residents of Payson are better served if that power is vested in the town manager. Currently, a super majority of the town council is required in order to exercise that power.

The town of Payson follows the prevailing system of separation of powers. The town council has legislative functions, and the town manger has executive functions. This specialization of function produces greater efficiency.

The town manager can better perform executive functions such as terminating town department heads rather than a town council of seven members that meets twice a month.

The town manager has a better opportunity to observe and evaluate the performance of town department heads because he has a full time job as town manager, and has current executive experience also.

Application of objective performance standards and uniformity of personnel policy is more likely to occur if the town manager has the power to terminate department heads who are consistently substandard in the performance of their duties.

We have better accountability, which our taxpaying citizens are entitled to, if the city manager rather than a seven member town council has the power to terminate inadequately performing town department heads. If the town manager doesn't perform his duties properly, he can be terminated immediately. That cannot happen with the town council except by a recall election at a later date. There is also the risk that the judgment of town council members may be improperly affected by political pressures.

Since the town manager has the executive responsibility, he needs the power to carry out that responsibility. He cannot properly be held accountable if he doesn't have the power to terminate employment of department heads who are substandard performers of their duties.

The town council relies heavily on town department heads for information and recommendations. With budgets in the tens of millions, and considering Payson's problems of growth, increasingly expensive water, deferred maintenance and increasing traffic congestion, ineffective accountability of town department heads is something Payson citizens cannot afford.

Jim Winter, Payson

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