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The City Manager is the administrative head of the City of Beaverton, responsible to the City Council for the proper administration of all city business. The person is the principal policy advisor to the Mayor and City Council. The City Manager’s duties are outlined in Section 4.1 of the 2021 City Charter and also reflected in the adopted job description. The manager appoints and removes all city employees except for positions such as the City Attorney and the Municipal Court judges.
The job description for Beaverton’s City Manager is similar to the City Manager job descriptions used by other cities, although Beaverton’s job description specifically requires the City Manager:
The City Manager is not a member of the City Council and does not vote. The person is responsible for assembling and preparing the agendas for council meetings as well as following up on all decisions and direction coming from the council. The manager must attend all council meetings unless excused by the Mayor.
Section 3.3 of the 2021 City Charter describes the Mayor’s new job duties. The Mayor attends and chairs all meetings of the City Council, signs the ordinances, resolutions, proclamations and other records of the decisions of the council, and is the head of city government for ceremonial, political and emergency management purposes. The Mayor must work with the rest of the council and the City Manager to coordinate the city’s relations with federal, state and local governments and to develop the city’s short and long-term goals. The Mayor also nominates and appoints members of the city’s boards, commissions and committees, subject to the approval of the City Council.
The city’s new charter becomes operative on January 1, 2021. The recruitment and hiring of the person to fill the position of City Manager therefore has to be fully completed before then. The current city council is a five-member council; the new charter provides for a seven-member council. The new seven-member council will have at least three new voting members. Under these circumstances, the current five-member city council deemed it best if it recruited and hired an interim city manager able to start work on January 1, 2021, allowing the new seven-member city council the opportunity to recruit and hire the city’s regular city manager in 2021.
The City has obtained the services of an outside firm experienced in the recruitment and hiring of local government executives to assist city staff and to advise the City Council. Formal advertising begins in early October following time spent in September engaging with members of the city staff, union personnel, members of boards and commissions, community partners and residents. While interviews will be held in executive sessions closed to the public, the final hiring decision will be conducted as part of a public meeting. Members of the public may offer advice regarding the qualifications and expectations for future City Manager at any upcoming City Council meeting. The City Council adopted Resolution No. 4623 earlier this year that describes the hiring process for positions that are hired directly by the City Council.
The Interim City Manager will be selected by the five-member City Council. The regular City Manager will be selected by the new seven-member City Council. In both instances, the selection is decided by majority vote.
The City expects a group of qualified and experienced local government professionals will be interested in serving in the role. They may be retired managers or those who are seeking a temporary position for personal reasons. The recruitment pool is not limited to people living in Beaverton or in Oregon.
Most of the city’s department heads will report directly to the City Manager. These currently include the Finance Director, Community Development Director, Public Works Director, Library Director, Director of Mayor’s Office Programs, and the Human Resources Director. The exceptions are the City Attorney, the judges of the Municipal Court, the city’s financial auditing firm, and the administrative staff positions serving the Mayor and councilors. These positions report to the City Council. There is nothing inherent in this transition to the City Charter of 2021 that requires a city manager to terminate all the current department head.
The Mayor, councilors and staff are discussing some changes in operational responsibilities that may occur in January to assist the smooth transition to a City Manager. This will be a process that will continue to evolve after the Interim manager starts and thereafter. Staff will likely retain their current positions and their day-to-day responsibilities should change little. Stay-tuned!
A seven-member City Council will operate similarly to how the current city council operates, but there will be some differences. For example, the Mayor will still serve as chair of the council meetings, but the mayor will vote on each matter coming before the council and will have no veto power. Likewise, a quorum of the council will still be required to conduct official business, but now the minimum number of members required to achieve a quorum will be four, not three. The City Council periodically reviews their Council Rules and there could be some revisions considered with the changes required by the new charter.
The advertised salary range for the City Manager is $180,000-$241,219 annually. They will enjoy benefits similar to department heads of the city but details regarding the compensation package will be negotiated with the successful candidate. This could include use of a car, however that is not a regular benefit provided to all department heads. The charter allows the appointment to be for a fixed term or open-ended, as negotiated with the city council. City Managers serve at the pleasure of the City Council and their contract usually contains severance benefits.
Property taxes or other fees should not increase directly due to the hiring of a City Manager. Most often, communities operating under the Council-Manager form of government are known for their efficient operation and financial discipline. The salary and benefits of this position and those of all other employees appear in the annual budget of the city.
Most cities larger than 2500 residents, and many of the larger counties and special districts, have a professional executive manager serving as their administrative head.
Beaverton had a council-manager form of government from 1962 to 1976, when voters approved a ballot measure eliminating the appointed city manager position and established instead an elected full-time Mayor. A special election was held in March 1977 to fill the newly-established full-time Mayor position.
In the Council-Manager form of government provided for in the 2021 Charter, the Mayor is one member of the seven-member City Council. The Mayor has no special authority over the City Manager. The City Manager is expected to listen to all seven elected council members and seek their direction, as a group, on both routine as well as controversial items. For most decisions that must be voted on and are not unanimously decided, a majority of the council members present and vote to decide the matter.
As compared to the current City Charter, the new charter contains no specific requirement for a chief of staff or similar assistant to either the Mayor or the City Manager. Staffing for the direct support of the City Manager is “to be determined.” Some preliminary appointments of staff to support the manager and/or the mayor will be made by January and reevaluated based on needs of the organization and the experience of staff and elected officials.
The City Council developed and recommended the new City Charter over numerous meetings during 2019. The most often cited reason by members of the City Council for favoring a new charter with a change to the Council-Manager form of government is to have the administrative head of the government more responsive to the policy directions and decisions of the City Council rather than relying upon an independently elected Mayor who also served as the executive.
One of the main features is the imposition of term limits on the Mayor and members of the City Council. No one may serve more than three consecutive four-year terms. See Section 5.7 of the 2021 City Charter. The new charter eliminated a fixed dollar amount of “floating debt” of the City that grew obsolete due to inflation. Now the city’s debt limitation is governed by state law. The new charter is gender inclusive and eliminates the use of “he,” “him,” and “his” as pronouns for nouns embracing all genders.
The increase in the members of the Council will increase the size of the City’s Budget Committee. With a seven-member council, the Budget Committee will now consist of 14 members (seven elected officials and seven citizens). The addition of a sixth City Councilor adds a member to the current nine-member Board of Directors of the Beaverton Urban Redevelopment Agency (BURA). (The Mayor, five councilors, and three appointed individuals make-up the current voting members of the BURA Board.)
Staff is proceeding with a schedule leading toward the recruitment, selection and approval of people to the City’s boards, commissions and committees in December 2020, unless advised otherwise. Any appointments for additional positions will be handled after January 1, 2021.