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King tabs Martin as second consultant

By Staff | Aug 30, 2010

CRA vice chairman and one time city council candidate Jim Martin has been selected by City Manager Gary King as the second Organizational Effectiveness Program Consultant.
Martin will be charged with reviewing the city’s Public Works Department, according to King, at a rate of $39 an hour, for a contract term of three months.
Martin will report directly to King, and like his counterpart, Bill Towler, will have access to a city vehicle for use while on city business.
King said he hired Martin because of his background as an executive with Rockwell International, a aircraft manufacturer and defense contractor.
King said Martin’s experience working with the B1 bomber program makes him an ideal candidate to overhaul the city’s public works program.
“He will move forward immediately with a comprehensive assessment of the public works department … and identify ways to make it more cost efficient,” King said.
Both Martin and Towler, along with King, were strong supporters of Mayor John Sullivan and Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz during last year’s campaign.
While Martin ultimately lost the District 1 council seat to Marty McClain, Towler operated grassroots09.com, a website dedicated to the machinations of campaigns run by Sullivan, Chulakes-Leetz, John Cataldi and Martin himself.
Towler, hired last week, was tasked by King to examine the city’s fleet because of his work in auto insurance.
Councilmember Marty McClain said a lack of transparency on the hiring of Martin and Towler sends the wrong message to the public.
McClain said King should have discussed the creation of the two positions with city council, which are now filled with political supporters of certain members of the dais.
McClain also said Towler has full master access to all city facilities, including city council offices.
“These are the conversations we need to have to make it clear to the citizens what’s going on,” McClain said.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail, too, said he had issues with the hiring process, but added he’s had conversations with King about the hiring of Towler and Martin.
McGrail said he wishes both Towler and Martin the best, but would have preferred to see someone without the political ties hired for the job.
“I would have truly enjoyed seeing a name that wasn’t involved in the campaign,” McGrail added.
Councilmember Bill Deile said it was the city’s manager’s job to hire who he pleases, and that the charter prevents any council member from giving instructions to who the city manager hires.
“We can’t tell him who he can hire and who he can fire … it’s not within our purview,” Deile said. “I’d like to see the process stay the same.”
Martin said he did not know when he was scheduled to start, but predicted early next week.
Martin said the job of examining the city’s Public Works Department is going to be “tough.”
“I need to see what it is today, then see what the tasks are and then get a handle on it,” Martin said.
It was never made clear if Martin, now a paid city employee, is in a conflict of interest as a sitting member of the CRA board.