|City Manager Jay Cravens|
Cravens at the last City commission meeting reported the refund triumph, alluded to an element of luck and mentioned the $85,000 figure which sounded rather preposterous at the time. Chance however favors the well prepared mind and extensive research going back ten years justified the $85,000 refund.
|A Light in Winter|
Evaluating City Manager Cravens
Cravens, hired as City Manager in 2007, annually under goes a public evaluation before City Commission. This year the annual review sort of meandered through two meetings an a work session. The first was reported here in the post on the May 24th city commission meeting. Hiring and firing involved some discussion. The commission and the City Manager hire. The commission as the ultimate authority can fire but so can the City Manager. It was really all common sense. When in doubt talk to the commission.
No Such ThingSome of Mr. Cravens's head scratching may have come from the unique challenges, the unique City of Bloomfield Hills presents. At City Manager networking meetings Mr. Cravens attended other city managers would tell him ," Just have your such and such department take care of it. Other cities have layers and departments that don't exist in our city. Jay would have to explain that the city of Bloomfield Hills had no such, such and such department. "Really ? " was the universal reply. In an era when many municipalities prefer big and bulky, the City of Bloomfield Hills runs lean and mean.
Round 2At the next commission meeting Mr. Cravens displayed a series of carefully crafted color charts that indicated that most of the City employees had been hired by commission with only a handful actually hired by the City Manager. The point being how could the CM be expected to evaluate, supervise , and perhaps discipline people he hadn't hired. The commission hpwever held fast to the common sense conquers all approach.. "I really don't know where Jay is going with all these charts," City attorney Bill Hampton said looking at one that been passed in his direction
The the next session, a work session, where ideas rather than proposals are the emphasis, it was was Mayor Zambricki who surprised with a big stack of handouts. outs. and a linguistic ability few knew he possessed. In fact to the uninitiated it almost appeared as though he was speaking in tongues. In a blink of the eye the English we all speak (essentially the English of day time television's panel discussions, Judge shows, and soap operas) was replaced with a flawless fluency in the argot of Corporate America. With it's fondness of measurements, Corporate America has become domain of the frustrated tailor. The theory goes you can't quantify what you can't measure and the Zambricki administration would be measuring. There would be goals and series of seemingly complicated evaluation forms for the City Manager and his departments.
Great at What ?
At which point Commissioner Pat Hardy( a former Junior high school English teacher and not a child of corporate America) asked if all the forms and fuss was really really necessary "You Know (Mayor), if you had suggested this (when a couple of infamous city managers of lore threatened havoc)I would have said "great" and "all for it" but for Jay Cravens who we like..." Then she asked Mr. Cravens if he really wanted to fill out forms. Jay said he'd be willing to give it a go. Mayor Zambricki replied to Commissioner's Hardy with, "Every company has someone who everyone says is a great guy. Yes but great at what ? That's what were are going to measure."
We evaluate City CommissionWhile it is the City Commission's job to evaluate our City Manager, it is our job as residents to evaluate Mayor Zambricki's and the commission's handling of the matter. Since no one else has stepped forward, I'll volunteer and borrow the the royal "We".
the City Manager
the City Manager
We don't know where Mayor Zambricki is going with all the measuring and metrics . We would expect that in his fifth term as Mayor, Mr Zambricki "knows" how to run the City, and that knowledge trumps the need to constantly measure or evaluate. That being said we will concede an apparent motivational value to such an approach. Mr Cravens is on a roll. In the metro area ,city managers salaries are generally in the low six figures. Mr. Cravens has certainly earned a very large part of his salary with the DTE refund. In addition the City will also enjoy cost savings and the residents will realize added convenience with the SOCRRA year round hazardous waste drop off program which Mr. Cravens initiated.
We would also like to commend commissioners Hardy, McCready, and McClure for their input. Pat Hardy's comments provide contrast to the mayor's point of view and requires him to articulate in more detail. Commissioner Mike McCready's comments, especially on the subject of shared services, have been right on. Commissioner Sara McClure is attuned to the wishes and needs of the residents and often says what the residents are thinking or should be thinking.