City's interim appointee on his way out

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Traffic engineering is part of the public works director's job. - ERIK OGAN
  • Erik Ogan
  • Traffic engineering is part of the public works director's job.
After less than a year in the job, David Lethbridge is apparently leaving the city — or, at least, he's leaving his "interim" public works director job, for which he wasn't qualified in the first place.

The city is advertising to hire a public works director, for which applicants must be licensed engineers.

Lethbridge was hand-picked by Mayor Steve Bach in June 2013, even though he hadn't the degree for the job or the professional engineer license that was required.

We wrote about it and wrote about it.

Here's part of the job description:
The Public Works Director (PWD) is a highly responsible at-will executive position reporting to the Chief of Staff/Chief Administrative Officer with responsibilities for management of the public infrastructure within the city in accordance with federal and state regulations and City Code. The Public Works Department is staffed by 209 budgeted employees (FTEs) with a 2014 department budget of $108 million.

The PWD oversees City Engineering, Traffic Engineering, Streets Division, and Mountain Metro Transit. The PWD leads, develops, and administers the department’s operations, activities, and budget; provides oversight, management, and direction for the Public Works division managers and personnel; and oversees programs such as capital improvement, roadway maintenance, mapping and geographical information systems, asset management, design engineering and surveying, roads and transportation, and engineering development review. The PWD will establish the goals and objectives for the department; assure alignment of Public Works’ priorities with the City’s strategic and organizational goals; and carry out City policies and procedures and works collaboratively with other departments, agencies, contractors, land developers, and community partners to improve quality, maximize use of resources, and increase efficiencies.
City Council wasn't happy about the interim appointment a year ago. Bach refused to allow Council confirmation of Lethbridge, because he was an interim appointee and, therefore, not subject to Council confirmation as required by the City Charter of department heads, Bach asserted.

Council then adopted an ordinance in January that allowed Council to "request that the mayor provide a plan to fill the vacancy."

But Bach vetoed the ordinance, which also empowered Council to move ahead with confirmation of an interim appointee after six months if a permanent appointee was not submitted for consideration.

In any event, last July, when the debate was under way about Council confirmation of interim department heads, assistant city attorney Tom Florczak told Council that because the charter, the city code and personnel policies manual are silent on the matter, one year is considered the limit for an interim appointment to serve.

So, now Bach has to find someone else.

The city's job post sets the pay range at $125,674 to $157,093; the top end is $10,000 more than Lethbridge makes now, and $22,000 more then his predecessor, Helen Migchelbrink, who was qualified.

If you're interested in this job, one of 13 posted on the city's site, move quickly. Applications close on June 3.

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