Last updated 9:52AM ET
December 13, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Introducing Durango Manager Finalists, Part 3
(2007-10-12)
TOP: Scott Trainor, Ontario, OR city manager, says city council involvement in day to day management could take away from their primary duties.

BOTTOM: Ketchum, ID city manager Ron LeBlanc says his experience includes managing growth in a valley community, including development of a hillside protection ordinance. (Courtesy: Scott Trainor & Ron LeBlanc)

(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Next week, four finalists for the job of Durango City Manager visit the community, to meet with the public, and their potential bosses, Durango City Councilors.
It's the first time in a quarter century a city manager has been hired here.
Today, in the final of three reports, we look at each candidate's view of the City Manager/City Council relationship.
Here's KSUT's Victor Locke.

VICTOR: As a home rule community in Colorado, Durango's city charter gives the city manager control over day to day operations of the community.
Elected city councilors are responsible for setting city policy, and hiring the city manager.
That relationship, however, has been challenged by at least one, if not more of Durango's current five councilors.
Councilor Renee Parsons has been the most outspoken critic of the relationship between council and the manager.
She favors greater council control of administrative functions.
And she even went so far as to suggest at a council meeting April 17th that councilors should become full time positions and the mayor should be elected, rather than selected from sitting councilors.
That meeting was the first for three newly elected councilors, who have often expressed views reflecting those of Parsons.
So we asked the four finalists for Durango City Manager to tell us their perception of what the relationship should be between Manager and City Council.
All four recognize the manager is accountable to council, but they don't all agree on how involved council should be in normal administrative duties.
Former Pagosa and Cortez town manager and current Arvada Deputy City Manager Bill Ray, Jr. says Durango's City Manager form of government has proven to be a model for many other Colorado Communities, clearly laying out the roles of each.
RAY: THE CITY MANAGERS RESPONSIBILITIES ARE CLEARLY TO DISCHARGE THE RESPONSIBILITIES AS REQUIRED UNDER THE CITY CHARTER AND TO REPORT AND TAKE DIRECTION FROM THE CITY COUNCIL ON MATTERS OF DAY TO DAY POLICY. EQUALLY IMPORTANT IS THE FIDUCIARY OBLIGATION AND INDEED THE ETHICAL OBLIGATION TO BE OPEN AND ACCESSIBLE TO THE COMMUNITY AND TO RUN AN AN EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT ORGANIZATION. THE CITY COUNCIL OBVIOUSLY IS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE ARE THERE TO ARTICULATE IN TERMS OF WHAT ARE THE ISSUES OF THE DAY, WHAT IS THE OVERALL POLICY DIRECTION FOR THE CITY AND WHERE DO WE GO FORWARD.
Ketchum, Idaho city manager and candidate Ron LeBlanc also feels the roles of manager and council are clear.
LEBLANC: THE CITY MANAGER FUNCTIONS AS THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND HE OR SHE IS RESPONSIBLE TO THE COUNCIL FOR EXERCISING THE POLICY SET BY THE COUNCIL. I'VE READ THE CHARTER. THE COUNCIL IS MORE OF THE POLICY LEVEL BOARD, LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE, AND THE CITY MANAGER WOULD BE ASSIGNED THE TASK OF IMPLEMENTING THOSE DECISIONS.
Ontario, Oregon city manager Scott Trainor says it may not be the best idea for councilors to get involved in day to day operations of a community.
TRAINOR: IF THE COUNCIL HAS TO FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE AND HAS TO FOCUS ON THE DAY TO DAY STUFF, THEN IT'S PROBABLY NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO ITS JOB EFFECTIVELY. THEY REALLY, IN ORDER FOR THEM TO BE EFFECTIVE, THEY'VE GOT TO HAVE A STAFF THAT THEY CAN TRUST TO DO THE JOB THAT THEY SET FOR THEM TO ACHIEVE THOSE OBJECTIVES. THAT CITY MANAGER SHOULDN'T BE THE GUARDIAN, SO TO SPEAK OF THE ORGANIZATION. I MEAN, THE CITY MANAGER SHOULD BE VERY OPEN TO THE COUNCIL AND BE REALLY THE FACILITATOR OF HELPING THEM ACHIEVE THE VISION THEY ARE REALLY STRIVING FOR IN THAT COMMUNITY.
Candidate Greg Clifton, current Ridgway, Colorado Town Manager says he doesn't think the division of power between a manager and council is that clear.
CLIFTON: IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT OCCURS WHERE I WORK NOW. IF YOU HAVE AN ACTIVE COUNCIL THAT HAS INTEREST IN MANY OF THE ISSUES, AND BY THE WAY YOU WOULD ONLY EXPECT THAT THEY WOULD HAVE INTEREST, THERE'S NO SHORTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE THEM ENGAGED IN MEANINGFUL WORK THAT CAN ASSIST. SO I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO LET THE COUNCIL BECOME ENGAGED IN THESE ISSUES, ESPECIALLY THE ONES THEY HAVE
PERSONAL CONNECTION TO OR HIGH DEGREE OF INTEREST IN. IT'S VERY HARD FOR ME TO IMAGINE A SITUATION WHERE YOU HAVE A VERY CLEAN DIVISION BETWEEN POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION, I THINK INHERENTLY THERE'S OVERLAP BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM, SO MY RESPONSE IS IF YOU HAVE A COUNCIL THAT WANTS TO GET ENGAGED, LET THEM GET ENGAGED AND PUT THEIR RESOURCES TO WORK.
All four candidates will be in Durango next Thursday and Friday as part of the interview process.
They'll meet with city department heads and staff, and meet individually behind closed doors for interviews with city councilors.
Your chance to meet them and learn more comes Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30, at a reception at the Train Museum.
City Council is required by law to meet in public session to vote on the next city manager, something that isn't expected to happen until later this month, or sometime in November.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
© Copyright 2017, ksut