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Manager gets mixed reviews from new council; overall rating 'satisfactory'

By Staff | Mar 29, 2008

City Manager Terry Stewart scored mixed but generally satisfactory reviews for his performance over the last year from the city council, according to evaluations compiled Friday.

Half of council members gave Stewart “fully satisfactory” marks, while a pair of others said his work was “unsatisfactory” and another gave him an “excellent” review.

And in a perfect example of the council’s mixed feelings towards the city manager, Councilmember Eric Grill checked both “fully satisfactory” and the “unsatisfactory” boxes on his review. The councilman, who along with four others was elected to his seat in November of last year, said he went over the evaluation with Stewart earlier this week.

“Do I have disappointments? Absolutely, and I’ve expressed those with them,” he said in a Friday phone interview.

“I’m not fully satisfied with his performance but it’s not totally unsatisfactory, either. I don’t have a lot to go on with a short timeframe. I’m not going to play with things where people think he made mistakes before I got to the dais.”

That feeling resonated with most of the new council members who said they simply did not have enough time to fully evaluate Stewart’s job performance.

In his summary, Councilmember Jim Burch said his review is based solely on the four and a half months he has been on the council and admitted that his contact with the city manager has been limited. He wrote that Stewart has “attempted to fulfill his obligations with respect to my requests at all times” though he does have concerns about his and the rest of staff’s attitudes towards spending.

Nevertheless, Burch did point out that there is there is room to grow on his side as well.

“It will be our unified challenge to learn more about each other for a more effective city government,” he wrote.

Others were more blunt with their criticism, as Councilmember Pete Brandt said there are dozens of examples of Stewart using “poor judgment” that cost the city money. Brandt did not elaborate in his review, but he has repeatedly criticized the cost of new fire stations and the utilities expansion project.

Veteran councilwoman Dolores Bertolini gave Stewart his most glowing review, saying that he did an excellent job over the past year. She praised him for his quick response to council requests and said that he displays talents “that keep the city at a steady level.”

Council will further discuss the evaluations at Monday’s city council meeting during the administrative items section.

City Council meets at 5 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall on Nicholas Parkway.