The vote didn’t come without questions and concerns from the public. Some of the questions presented to council included, “Why hire a new city manager when one exists?” and “What reasoning could the council have for hiring a new city manager and at such a high cost?” It was also asked what consideration was taken of recent labor negotiations and the fact current city employees are on furloughs and have to pay more into their retirement program.
Council Member Linda Kidd said it is a lot of money and it’s been a big part of the city’s discussion. It’s not about being unhappy with Dave Brownlee, the current city manager, she added.
She said the council believes they have a better position for Brownlee. He’s “excellent in utility managing and that’s huge for the city,” she continued.
Kidd said the city needs expertise in finding money for the city. A coach is needed and while Elaine Cullen, who was hired for a time as an economic development consultant, helped and got things started, more is needed.
Council Member Shawn Gudmundson said it was a hard decision for him, also, as he has many friends who are city employees but if something doesn’t help move the city forward there won’t be a city to call home. Economic development needs to be pushed and the council found a gentleman who can do that, he said. Cleaning and other projects can be done by the city itself, but Daniels has a background to help in ways those who are already in the city can’t, he added.
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