Steamboat City Council working on new way of evaluating city manager
May 6, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Did the Steamboat Springs City Council finish an annual performance review of the city manager in March?
That depends on which city council member you ask.
The council was split 4-3 over the question Tuesday night as it moved forward with a significant revamping of the process used to evaluate the city manager.
Council members all were on board with adopting a new written evaluation form for their top employee, but they were divided as to how quickly they wanted to use it.
Council President Bart Kounovsky and members Scott Myller, Kenny Reisman and Walter Magill said they had completed City Manager Deb Hinsvark’s annual review during a lengthy executive session on March 18, and they did not need to use the new process until her next review next year.
But members Scott Ford, Sonja Macys and Tony Connell said they left that last performance review with the understanding the council was going to continue the review with the new written form that still is being finalized.
Macys said she felt that the city manager had been “caught in a crossfire” because the council wasn’t prepared to do the evaluation.
"I’m sorry this puts Deb in a weird spot,” Macys said. “It’s not about Deb. It’s about what tools do we use to evaluate the city manager?"
Asked by Connell if she had received enough input from the council during her review, Hinsvark said she had and she felt the evaluation was complete.
The new review process being discussed would add a written scorecard to the annual evaluation of the city manager and also would allow the public to see the final results of the review.
The proposed form was spearheaded by Connell, one of the newest members of the council.
Reviews of recent city managers have regularly been conducted by the council in executive or closed session.
Kounovsky said there hasn’t been a written evaluation form for the city manager since he started on council in 2010.
Some council members who discussed the current review process on Tuesday suggested it isn’t as thorough or as structured as they would like it to be.
Ford said he wanted the review to "get away from anecdotal information and feelings."
Connell’s proposed evaluation form is five pages long and asks council members to grade the city manager on topics ranging from his or her ability to promote a strong sense of teamwork to his or her level of communication with the council.
The council resolved to continue refining the evaluation form at its next meeting.
It would then have to be endorsed by Hinsvark before the council could adopt it.