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updated: 11/14/2017 4:07 PM

Geneva delays decision on assistant administrator

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  • Stephanie Dawkins

    Stephanie Dawkins

 
 

Geneva aldermen want more information before deciding whether to add back the position of assistant city administrator/director of administrative services.

While they agree the city administrator could use help, several said Monday they want to know if there are other ways to handle work the assistant used to do. They also want information how similar sized cities structure the staff.

A consultant's report recommended hiring an assistant or a director of administrative services. That person should take over much of the personnel-related duties City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins used to handle when she was assistant, and which she continues to do.

Dawkins is the liaison to the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee and the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners, and is the city's risk manager. The assistant also negotiated contracts with union employees. The city hired a firm for more than $18,000, Mayor Kevin Burns said, to handle its talks with electrical workers.

Geneva added the position in 1998. It was filled by Mary McKittrick until 2008 when she became administrator. Dawkins had the job until June 2016, when McKittrick retired and Dawkins was promoted.

Dawkins told the council in January, "I've kept my head above water for eight months, but I'm getting bogged down."

Alderman Jim Radecki said Monday he thought the report was supposed to compare the city to other cities and also private industry. Because it didn't, he voted against accepting it.

He said he wanted to know how not having an assistant city administrator has affected the residents of Geneva.

"I don't think we would expect to see an impact on residents, because we take care of the day-to-day stuff," such as making sure streets are cleaned and garbage picked up, Alderman Mike Bruno said. But long-term strategic planning is shorted, he said.

If the position was added it would cost about $54,000 for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends April 30, according to a city memo.

Alderman Robert Swanson got the council to postpone further discussion until a Jan. 29 budget workshop.

Alderman Dean Kilburg cautioned that adding the position back, while at the same time saying the city needs more money, could backfire. Last week it put a sales tax increase referendum on the March 20 ballot, and to institute a places-for-eating tax as a backup.

"Opponents will see this as ammunition not to support it (the sales tax increase)," Kilburg said.

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