• Friday, September 21, 2012

Working better together and with the public.
That, in a nutshell, is the intended goal of a new “Mayor and City Council Governance Guide” which has been written and will be considered for approval by Georgetown City Council at its meeting Thursday.
In July, council met with interim City Administrator Carey Smith for two days to discuss ways to improve the way city business is conducted.
The 70-plus page document that will be up for approval Thursday is the “summary and work product” that was created as a result of those workshop meetings, Smith said.
One of the areas in the document is a 12-point “code of conduct” that was signed by council members during the workshop.
It says the members will try to show respect for each other, city employees and the public. It also says council will:
• Act in a polite, courteous and friendly manner.
• Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
• Listen and strive to understand before making decisions.
• Be fair and equitable.
• Agree to disagree and move on to the next issue.
• Have an open mind. Avoid stereotyping or labeling.
• Focus on the issue. Not the person or personality.
• Praise in public, criticize in private.
• Have an open, candid and thorough discussion where everyone has an opportunity to be heard.
• Keep things in perspective. Maintain your sense of humor.
• Leave as friends.
Smith said the document will be used as a set of guidelines on how business will be conducted.
Mayor Jack Scoville said the new guidelines should make council more effective.
“We have personalities that clash a little personally but as a group we get along well,” Scoville said. “When you have seven people some are not as friendly as others.”
He said he feels everyone on council is interested in compromise and working things out.
“We are not an ‘it’s our way or the highway’ council,” Scoville said.

Smith staying longer

Also on Thursday, council will consider a contract extension for Smith that, if approved, would keep him as the interim administrator until mid-December.
His contract — which was put in place June 12 — expired Saturday but the search for a new permanent administrator is continuing.
Smith said 225 people have applied for the job and the company that has been hired to help narrow the field is expected to present council with a much smaller list within the next 60 days.

Department consolidation

Council will also consider a recommendation to consolidate the city’s Water and Sewer Utilities and Department of Public Works into a Consolidated Department of Public Services.
If approved, a new director of public services will be hired.
A memo to council states while the actual services provided by the two departments are clearly different, the service population, the skills and abilities of personnel and the reliance on heavy equipment, some of it similar in use, make it likely that they could operate beneficially as divisions under the new Department of Public Services designation.
The creation of the new position, Public Services director, could provide a stronger management presence to these divisions and the technical expertise needed to lead this department effectively.

Lawsuit settlement

As previously reported, council will also consider the settlement of a lawsuit filed against the city by Steve and Jean Rothrock.
In order for the settlement to take place, council must approve the couple’s request to have HardiePlank on the sides and rear of their home at 116 Cannon St.
A matching wood product would be used on the front.
Thursday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown City Hall.

By Scott Harper

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