Superior’s Human Resources Committee has come up with a game plan to explore positions to be filled or created to make city government more efficient.
Creating a city administrator — something voters will be asked to weigh in on in November — didn’t rise to the top.
Council committee members Ruth Ludwig, Jack Sweeney and Tylor Elm all agreed filling two openings in the information systems department needed to be a priority. Currently, the IT director operates more as a help desk lead, a 2019 study of city operations found.
The committee agreed to look at IT staff and a human resources assistant later this month. They will look at the parks and recreation position in March. No date has been set for the city administrator discussion.
“These are discussions we need to have,” Ludwig said.
With many recommendations made for software and technology in the 2019 study, Ludwig said the city needs an IT director to have a big-picture look at its needs. The city should also consider changing oversight of the IT Department from the Finance Department to the Mayor's office, she said.
“I think having (IT Director Dan Shea) as his own department is fair,” Elm said. “I think we all agree with that.” However, Elm said, each department should have the opportunity to explain what the new structure would be.
Elm said he agreed that hiring IT staff should be the city's No. 1 priority, but Sweeney said it fell to No. 2 in his book.
Sweeney's first priority would be to look at the recommendation to hire a city administrator with the caveat that they only look at the administrator — not the role of the mayor.
“A doesn’t go with B,” Sweeney said. “Simply A: Do we need an administrator?”
Another commonality among the committee members was hiring a human resources assistant.
Superior’s Human Resources Department, now staffed by two people, was a three-person department until 2006 when then-HR Director Mary Lou Andresen retired. Following her retirement, the city eliminated the position.
Cammi Konezcy, who serves in the re-created human resources director's position, said the city is asking to expand the department back to three people.
Sweeney said he’s very concerned about the path forward with human resources, which is why it was his third priority. He thinks the person who is hired should have experience working with health care benefits. Currently, the Finance Department handles benefits for city employees.
Other priorities included:
- Ludwig: automating the payroll system; hiring a parks and recreation coordinator; and hiring an electrician for the Environmental Services Division. The latter would reduce expenses for contracted services, she said.
- Elm: looking at recommendations for the city attorney; looking at the recommendation for a full-time administrator and part-time mayor; and hiring a full-time parks and recreation coordinator.
- Sweeney: hiring a parks and recreation coordinator; taking a look at the mayor’s chief of staff; hiring an electrician for the Environmental Services Division; and considering recommendations for cuts in the building inspection and assessor's offices.
Committee alternate Dan Olson did not attend the meeting, but he sent Ludwig his preferences. They included recommending the committee consider a city administrator; and hiring a human resources assistant, a city attorney, IT staff and a parks and recreation coordinator, Ludwig said.
Mayor Jim Paine said it appeared there was a clear consensus on some of the positions.
“All three of you agreed on the IT positions, human resources position and P&R events coordinator,” Paine said.
While the IT positions could be as simple as telling the administration to fill them, Paine said there were a number of questions that could take a little longer to sort out, including whether IT should be its own department. The other positions would require job descriptions to be drafted or reviewed.
Elm said the committee should also consider the recommendation to join forces with the county for IT services.
Paine recommended that discussion go before the joint City-County Committee.
“I just mention it so we don’t forget about potential possibilities,” Elm said.
This story originally contained a misspelling of Dan Shea’s name. It was updated at 10 a.m. Feb. 5 with the proper spelling. The Superior Telegram apologizes the error.