Weatherford Democrat

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July 14, 2013

Willow Park city administrator retains powers

By CHRISTIN COYNE

WILLOW PARK — A move by two Willow Park city council members to restrict the authority of the city administrator failed Tuesday night when a proposed ordinance was put to the vote.

Council members Bernard Suchocki and Dan Stalling voted for the ordinance that city staff said would limit the power of the mayor as well as the city administrator and require daily oversight of the city by council. However, without the support of council members Amy Podany, Gene Martin and Brian Thornburg, who voted against the changes, the measure failed.

“I see some problems with the way things have been going,” Suchocki told the council Tuesday night. “I think we need to restrict the activities of the city administrator.”

The proposal came months after the city council hired a new city administrator in January and, in March, amended the city code of ordinances regarding the city administrator’s qualification and responsibility requirements. Some of the same issues rejected earlier in the year by some council members while crafting the current city administrator ordinance, were proposed again by Suchocki Tuesday night.  

“The city council must protect against management abuses that have occurred in the past,” Suchocki said of the rationale behind the ordinance. “This, to me, is a case of the tail wagging the dog and it should be the dog wagging the tail.”

Suchocki said he didn’t need to point out abuses in the past.

The proposed ordinance would have required the city administrator to bring the city management’s procedural changes for council approval, according to Suchocki.

“I think it’s incumbent on the city administrator, before he makes any changes to plats, to site approvals, the way the procedures are handled or even in contracts, that all those procedures come to the city council first,” Suchocki said. “This is what this is designed to do.

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