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2013-04-25

New ordinance clarifies reporting 'chain of command'

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

After much ado, it seems as though the City of Bandera department heads might now know the identity of their direct supervisor.

After a one hour and 40 minute executive session on Thursday, April 18, Councilman Binky Archer made a motion that the administrator would serve with the mayor and report to the governing body, consisting of the mayor and city council. The wrench in the works, for that motion, at least, seemed to be Archer's use of the phrase "serve with."

Councilman Jim Hannah immediately noted that he would not be able to approve that motion, saying the constituents seem to be aware, in his opinion, that the relationship between the mayor and city administrator is "apparently working." Furthermore, Hannah wanted people to have the ability to go to either the mayor or city administrators with concerns.

The discussions, however, never centered on constituents but rather on department heads and their designated chains of command. The question before council has always been to whom department heads report - Mayor Don Clark or to City Administrator Mike Cardenas.

Previously no clear reporting chain for the municipal judge, city secretary and law enforcment officers had been delineated.

Mayor Pro Tem John Hegemier indicated his preference would be for the mayor to have authority over the city administrator. However, in municipalities, the administrator reports to the city's governing body, which consists of the mayor and council.

In the end, Hannah amended Archer's motion making the ordinance more in line with one previously crafted by municipal attorney Monte Akers. All department heads would report to the city administrator and the city administrator would report to the governing body - the mayor and city council. The ordinance also clarified that the city administrator no longer serves as the city's financial officer. The financial officer now reports to the city administrator.

Additionally, the city administrator oversees the preparation of municipal job descriptions as well as preparation of the budget, which is submitted to the governing body.

The city administrator has also been authorized to make purchases on behalf of the city provided the expenditure is allowed in the current budge or the amount of the purchase is less than $1,500.

Hannah's amendment passed 4-1 with Archer voting against it. And, that was that - hopefully.

In related business, after emerging from the protracted executive session, city council approved future salary plans as proposed by City Marshal James "Charlie" Hicks.

Subsequent departmental salary increases will be taken out of capital reserves.

Hicks will use seizure funds to purchase protective vests for reserve officers.