City Manager’s proposal accepted
It’s official — City Manager Dave Childs resigned this week.
At just past 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Mayor Brooke Laine brought a special session of the City Council to order. Their purpose was to take action on the “rather shocking and unexpected news that the city manager is retiring,” news that she said “could not have come at a worse time for the city.”
“Our community needs our leadership now more than ever,” Laine said. “I’m asking this council to come together and demonstrate our leadership.”
While in session, the council officially received the letter of resignation from Childs, dated January 22, 2002. The length and terms of his tenure as city manager were discussed and a proposal put forth by Childs was ultimately accepted, but not without debate.
Childs’ proposal was to remain full time as city manager until March 22, and then remain as a half-time employee until May 31. The city would continue to pay health benefits for him and his wife through that date, with all other benefits after March 22 being the same as any half-time employee. According to Childs, the idea was to fulfill a clause of his employee agreement that requires him to give three months notice and at the same time begin work for his new employer.
“I’m doing this because this is my home,” Childs said. “I want to finish up some things.”
Not everyone was in agreement with Childs’ proposal. Councilman Bill Crawford felt the terms of the contract should be adhered to, including the three-month notice clause.
“I think we can have a smooth transition if the city manager fulfills his contract,” said Crawford. “My point is this; I think we’re manufacturing a problem.”
Crawford was unsure what status Childs would have as a half-time employee. He said Childs should remain a full-time employee for three months, fulfilling his contract and eliminating questions about his status. As a part-time employee, the council would have to determine what to pay into his public employee retirement plan, who he would report to, and what part of his health benefits to pay.
“If we have a clean break, then none of that is necessary,” Crawford said.
Others on the council said Childs’ professionalism would be a benefit to the city, whether at half-time status or full-time.
“My personal experience with the gentleman is that he gives 110 percent,” Councilman Hal Cole said. “If I can take advantage of an extra 30 days of his experience, that’s a net gain for the city.”
Councilman Tom Davis and Mayor Pro Tem Judy Brown both wanted the city manager to stay on for the extra time proposed. Both said added time with Childs would be a benefit to the city.
“I believe that the issues we face and the challenges of the next four months are such that we need the expertise Mr. Childs brings to the table,” Brown said.
“I’ve never worked with a more professional person than Mr. Childs, and I’m very sad to see him go,” Davis said. “We have to look at what’s best for the city.”
Childs’ proposal was passed in a 4-1 decision. The council met in closed session to discuss recruitment of a new city manager.