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Inquiring Mind

Ticonderoga, NY

#1 Sep 16, 2013
Let's try an experiment: A _serious_ discussion about the pros & cons of a Town Manager.

Four suggested ground rules:
1) Be civil.
2) While opinions are welcomed, whenever possible please support your statements with sources. Reference date of board minutes, provide web links to source materials, etc.
3) See rule #1 above.
4) When rule #1 is violated, please do not reply in kind.

A question to start things off:

If you believe a Town Manager is needed in Ticonderoga, what responsibilities should the position have, and why?

Or

If you don't believe a Town Manager is needed, explain why.

Go!
No Know No

Ticonderoga, NY

#2 Sep 16, 2013
Proponents state a town manager is needed to apply for grant funding.

Yet, the current Town Supervisor can point to numerous grants the Town has received during her tenure. See the campaign flyer Ms. Malaney is passing around.
no way

Ticonderoga, NY

#3 Sep 17, 2013
A town manager--that is a Vic Lavallee idea--was his campaign platform years ago. Where did that get him? Did he get 100 votes? Bill's mouthpiece. What a shame!!! Won't get a manager less than $50K, with benefits, Bill want to give up some his salary. He will make less that $30K. How much do you give up and attract someone decent? You raise the budget $10K and the tax increase goes up 1%. Simply math shows the increase with a manager would be 5%, at least, or more. That's even before you submit all the additional increases. Vic we don't live in a city, can't afford and no need. TRA tried the idea of hiring a qualified manager, a huge mistake. Great idea Vic--keep those ideas to yourself--please....
Get what you pay for

San Diego, CA

#4 Sep 17, 2013
Some towns have hired a manager in addition to their supervisor. Why? Because some people don't want to let go of the old way of managing a town--an elected supervisor. BUT, in this century and in this very bad economy, if a town has anything to grabbed onto, like Ti does (historical sites, lakes, etc.), then they actually need someone who has education and experience in building upon those assets. A grant here or there, applied willy nilly, will get you no where fast. This is happening all over the country. It's an investment.

And, since IP may stay or not stay, you better hope to God the town invests in something else. However, don't count of the supervisor or board to do that for you. See what THAT has gotten you!

(Full disclosure: I have no idea who "Vic Lavallee" is.)
OMG

Burlington, VT

#5 Sep 17, 2013
Take a look. Passing around "flyers." The flyer mentions a few grants. Do you NOT see the need for someone with a real education and real background for taking a dying town and, with the proper skills and experience needed, turn it around into a thriving town?? Like we once had? THINK BUSINESS. The town needs to be run like a business first, so that we can have a "community" that is viable. Right now, Ti is one step away from a ghost town. One step. And, no one can deny that. No one who has a brain and is honest.
No Know No wrote:
Proponents state a town manager is needed to apply for grant funding.
Yet, the current Town Supervisor can point to numerous grants the Town has received during her tenure. See the campaign flyer Ms. Malaney is passing around.
taxpayer

New Britain, CT

#6 Sep 17, 2013
Will it end up just like Essex County, where the board picked one of their own for manager? Typically, when one of the board gets voted out of office or is afraid of being beaten in the next election, they give him/her an even higher paying job such as County Manager or Town Manager, and they are in there for life. The county manager (a small town supervisor that was voted out of office) makes well over $100,000 and his wife has a high paying job as clerk for the supervisors. I don't see any of the exemplary qualifications you are talking about. They were in the news earlier this year retiring and then deciding not to retire, so the board gave them back their jobs. No way to get rid of them if they are given a non elected job, as the politicians protect one of their own. At least with an elected supervisor you can vote them out of office if you don't like them, even if you have to wait a few years.
See http://www.co.essex.ny.us/downloads/2013%20Di...
Get what you pay for

San Diego, CA

#7 Sep 17, 2013
You can stipulate ANYTHING in a contract. If you want someone from outside, you can stipulate that, too! If you want them for one year or three years, you stipulate that, too. Just be sure that you get a very good attorney who specializes in contract law.

It's NOT rocket science, folks. Corporations, mid-sized companies, federal agencies do this EVERY DAY. Think!!! And yes, keep asking valid questions.
Fact

Ticonderoga, NY

#8 Sep 17, 2013
There are 932 towns in New York State.

Only 31 have either a town manager or town administrator.

Source: NYS Association of Towns
Get what yo pay for

Burlington, VT

#9 Sep 17, 2013
And so?????
Fact wrote:
There are 932 towns in New York State.
Only 31 have either a town manager or town administrator.
Source: NYS Association of Towns
Change

Ticonderoga, NY

#10 Sep 17, 2013
Bottom line is we need new blood. No more Dorcy, Deb or Steve. Start the cleaning of the chambers of bad mismanaged issues that the tax payers have suffered for. I vote for Grinnell, Hudson and Kolysko and Van Wert. The reason is my community has gotten worse not better in the last few years. Time for someone else to make a positive change.
Question for OMG

Ticonderoga, NY

#11 Sep 17, 2013
OMG wrote:
Take a look. Passing around "flyers." The flyer mentions a few grants. Do you NOT see the need for someone with a real education and real background for taking a dying town and, with the proper skills and experience needed, turn it around into a thriving town?? Like we once had? THINK BUSINESS. The town needs to be run like a business first, so that we can have a "community" that is viable. Right now, Ti is one step away from a ghost town. One step. And, no one can deny that. No one who has a brain and is honest.
<quoted text>
Do you see coordinating local economic development efforts as one of the responsibilities of a town manager?
Charlie Sheen

Florence, MA

#12 Sep 18, 2013
Whats to manage? A declining economy because no one wants to turn our town into a Tourist town. Bill Grinell is a Grumpy Old Man who is set in his ways.But then again so are most of the taxpayers.
Fact

Ticonderoga, NY

#13 Sep 18, 2013
NYS Town Law Article 3-B

58. Town manager. Any town may, by local law, establish the office of town manager, provide for his appointment and delegate to such office such powers and duties as may be prescribed, modified or revoked from time to time by the town board.

58-a. Powers and duties. The town manager shall be the chief administrative officer of the town and may be given such powers and duties by local law, as the town board in its discretion shall prescribe notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, unless the legislature expressly shall have restricted or prohibited the adoption of a local law relating to the delegation or grant of such powers provided, however, that the powers of legislation and appropriation shall be exercised by the town board. Subject to the
provisions of sections twenty-three and twenty-four of the municipal home rule law, the town board may also, by local law, grant or transfer
to such town manager powers and duties held by elected officials of the town.

Source: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cg...
seen it

Ticonderoga, NY

#14 Sep 18, 2013
Get what you pay for wrote:
You can stipulate ANYTHING in a contract. If you want someone from outside, you can stipulate that, too! If you want them for one year or three years, you stipulate that, too. Just be sure that you get a very good attorney who specializes in contract law.
A qualified candidate to become the first professional administrator for a town will provide her own contract language upon an employment offer that will likely include a multi-year appointment and a buy-out provision for early termination of at least a year's salary plus benefits.
Get what you pay for

San Diego, CA

#15 Sep 18, 2013
The town can stipulate the terms of the contract. Negotiate very specific terms. The town doesn't have to agree to anything, including "multi-year" appointments, or benefits (or NO benefits), or a "buy-out provision."

In this economy, the town could probably stipulate ALL terms and still find several talented candidates. And yes, from an outside gene pool would probably be the most fair to everyone.

"When it's not working--and it's not--try ANYTHING else."
seen it

Ticonderoga, NY

#16 Sep 18, 2013
Get what you pay for wrote:
The town can stipulate the terms of the contract. Negotiate very specific terms. The town doesn't have to agree to anything, including "multi-year" appointments, or benefits (or NO benefits), or a "buy-out provision."
And the qualified candidates will walk from the negotiating table without thinking twice. And you won't hire the best and the brightest.

Sounds like you'd be ready to advertise for candidates with limited carpentry experience and an associates degree in art history. Good luck with that.
Fact

Ticonderoga, NY

#17 Sep 18, 2013
Chief Administrative Officer Salary & Compensation: The Big Picture

http://media.mlive.com/saginawnews_impact/oth...

Read it. Then read it again. The NYS salaries are noted on page 76.

The ICMA model employment agreement referenced in this study can be found at:
http://icma.org/en/icma/knowledge_network/doc...

Read that twice, too.
a finer point

Ticonderoga, NY

#18 Sep 19, 2013
no way wrote:
TRA tried the idea of hiring a qualified manager, a huge mistake.
Hiring a qualified manager wasn't the problem. Their first hire was actually very bright and talented. The problem was two-fold: 1) the starting salary was too high, and 2) The TRA board didn't manage him.(Yes, you still have to manage a manager.) Costs spiraled, projects multiplied and the TRA Board couldn't come through with the funds necessary to sustain the efforts.

See the Board and committee minutes on the TRA website: http://ti-alliance.org/

Lessons that should be learned:

1) When hiring, know the current labor market and don't over-pay for the staff - no matter how talented the candidate of choice is.

2) If a manager isn't the owner of a business or organization, they still need to be managed by their supervisor(s) to avoid mission creep and spiraling costs.

3) Simple math: When you add staff and programming costs, you need to add and sustain revenue.
Sounds Familiar

Burlington, VT

#19 Sep 19, 2013
This smacks of the very same problems with the school district. And yet, there is a "board" to "manage." Hmmm...

Extremely low test scores = failure.

So, between a "manager," aka superintendent, and a board, you can STILL have abysmal failure.(The BIG difference being, of course, TENURE (a 19th century failed policy), and the NYS Teacher's Union--bullies without a cause.)
a finer point wrote:
<quoted text>
Hiring a qualified manager wasn't the problem. Their first hire was actually very bright and talented. The problem was two-fold: 1) the starting salary was too high, and 2) The TRA board didn't manage him.(Yes, you still have to manage a manager.) Costs spiraled, projects multiplied and the TRA Board couldn't come through with the funds necessary to sustain the efforts.
See the Board and committee minutes on the TRA website: http://ti-alliance.org/
Lessons that should be learned:
1) When hiring, know the current labor market and don't over-pay for the staff - no matter how talented the candidate of choice is.
2) If a manager isn't the owner of a business or organization, they still need to be managed by their supervisor(s) to avoid mission creep and spiraling costs.
3) Simple math: When you add staff and programming costs, you need to add and sustain revenue.
Interesting

San Diego, CA

#20 Sep 19, 2013
The similarities between the school system and the town system are interesting. Both have boards. Both have "administrators." Some big differences in the system. And yet, ALL are "failing" their constituents.

All true.

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