Council responsible for reviewing city manager’s and city attorney’s performance

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Two city employees have performance reviews currently being handled by the Lincoln City Council, according to Mayor Paul Joiner. Those employees are City Manager Jim Estep and City Attorney Tim Hayes. The city manager and city attorney are the only two employees the City Council is responsible for administering performance reviews to, according to Joiner. “They are the only two positions that answer to the council or take direction from the council,” Joiner said. “All other city employees work for the city manager.” Estep’s review was set for Wednesday and Hayes’ will be on Friday, according to Estep on Monday. “Every city employee is reviewed annually. The city attorney and the city manager are no different,” Joiner said. Hayes’ last review was midyear 2010, according to Joiner, and Friday’s meeting is “a follow up to track progress on goals and objectives plan for about six months out.” Estep’s annual review was completed Aug. 2 and his goals were reviewed Nov. 9, according to Joiner. “The city manager’s session is to receive and discuss information requested from the city manager,” Joiner said. Joiner said the performance reviews scheduled this week are not full reviews, which he said can take up to a month to complete. The full, formal performance review takes up to a month because of the work involved, according to Joiner. “They can be handled (in) a variety of ways, but in general a series of questions asking for a measure of performance against goals and expectations is distributed to each of the council members as well as the employee,” Joiner said. “The individual evaluations of the council members are discussed among the council members and compiled into one document. When that task has been completed, the employee is brought in to discuss the evaluation and to present his or her self evaluation.” After the evaluation stage is done, Joiner said new goals and expectations are set and “agreed upon for the coming year.” The review can take up to a month, due to factors including “coordinating the availability of six people” and time for those people to complete evaluations, “discuss and compile that information into one document” and reviewing and discussing that information, according to Joiner. The News Messenger asked Estep about his performance review. “We are finishing up and looking at my goals and it’s so the new City Council members can see and discuss the goals,” Estep said. Estep said the review process in Lincoln is similar to other cities he has been at. “In most cities, city managers are reviewed at least a minimum of once a year,” Estep said. “It’s a chance to have an ongoing dialogue with City Council members to make sure I’m in sync with my goals and the prioritization of my goals.” He said performance reviews are important since it “keeps an ongoing dialogue between both myself and the City Council.” “So I understand their priorities as a full council, because I talk to them on an individual basis but I can’t talk to them as a group unless it’s at a meeting,” Estep said.