Mayor Steve Bach's appointment of Dave Lethbridge as interim public works director triggered unrest among City Council members. They're supposed to confirm several mayoral appointments, but interim appointments apparently fly below the Council's radar.
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Assistant City attorney Tom Florczak reported yesterday to 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.
Given that, Councilor Don Knight asked Florczak how he came up with one year, if all the guiding documents don't mention anything. Florczak said the one year stemmed from what's been done in the past for interim or acting appointments.
Knight then asked if Council could impose a shorter time frame and require the mayor to show good cause to extend it to one year.
"If you get into shorter period of time," Florczak said, "does that get into intrusion on the executive's ability [to appoint]? The year is a good starting point."
Several Council members showed vigor in challenging Florczak's conclusion or making suggestions.
For example, Council President Keith King wanted to know if Council could inject itself into the selection of positions it's later asked to confirm. But that didn't go over, with Assistant City Attorney Wynetta Massey saying, "Think about an appointment is the start of the confirmation process." The mayor could ask Council's assistance in the selection process, but Council shouldn't assume it can "insert itself into the selection process."
Councilors Knight and Andy Pico agreed to do further study on overhauling the confirmation process so that specific rules are required and followed.