Annual Report Card on Newport City Manager Jim Voetberg; all councilors fill out evaluation forms except Mayor McConnell. His verbal comments during Executive Session at the time are not releasable to the citizens of Newport.
During Monday’s Newport City Council noon Executive Session, city councilors met to discuss their “Performance Evaluation of the City Manager.” While evaluation forms and what is written on them are public documents, what councilors said verbally in connection with them is legally barred from being reported under Executive Session provisions found in state law. Mayor McConnell’s evaluation form contains elaborate doodling but nothing else. In light of the foregoing, McConnell’s views of Jim Voetberg’s job performance over the past year are officially unknown. We release (at the bottom of this story) the only written record of Mayor McConnell’s participation in Jim Voetberg’s evaluation during Monday’s Executive Session.
By Dean Sawyer, City Councilor
Jim Voetberg received a fairly solid report card from most of his city councilors based on written evaluations filled out and turned in Monday. However there were areas that some councilors continue to call for improvement.
Councilor Dean Sawyer said in his evaluation that Voetberg is outstanding with the way he works with the city planning commission but only average when it comes to effectively communicating with union members prior to and during the budget process. He noted a level of employee frustration.
As for the way Voetberg communicates with the council, Sawyer was very critical of what he called a lack of response to his emails to Voetberg. That Voetberg needs to be more open and transparent about city business. He said Voetberg does not inform the council in a timely way on issues that require council oversight. He said he learns more through the local news media. He also contends that Voetberg does not identify or share important issues with the council in a timely manner. Sawyer adds that Voetberg does not respond to council questions and requests for information in a timely or accurate manner. He says Voetberg avoids requests and openness.
However, Sawyer said when dealing with identified issues, Voetberg offers more than one option on critical issues. Sawyer said he likes that.
In terms of managing the city’s money, Sawyer says Voetberg’s performance at ensuring the city budget is properly prepared and executed and that funds are properly managed is outstanding. His collaboration with the council and the council’s advisory budget committee is also outstanding. Sawyer gives Voetbert a solid good rating for setting realistic budget priorities and offers projects that have sufficient resources to see them through. Voetberg, says Sawyer, finds ways to shave costs from projects which ensures better budget stability. Sawyer also gave Voetberg an outstanding score on the way he advises the council on city spending and status of projects every month. Even upon request. However, Sawyer wants Voetberg to get busy collecting fees and fines owed to the city, some of which have been unpaid for years.
When it comes to supervision, Sawyer gave Voetberg average-to-good marks on respecting and encouraging employee opinions about work related matters. An average score on teamwork and collaboration between management and staff. He gave Voetberg higher marks for ensuring safe and professional work environments, and employee training to ensure a competent work force.
Sawyer gave Voetberg high marks for the way he works with the city attorney to ensure city ordinances are fairly enforced and that he ensures compliance with state and locals laws and ordinances.
Sawyer says Voetberg works well with other government agencies and their staff as well as the many citizen advisory boards within the city itself.
Sawyer gave Voetberg only an average rating when it comes to providing goals and visions for the city. Sawyer says Voetberg still doesn’t seem to have a greater vision for the city’s future.
On other matters of leadership Sawyer says Voetberg does a good job with preparing the community for emergencies and disasters, about average on reducing problems of the city, but that he works very well with employees when reducing or eliminating problems. He’s also very good at promoting efficiencies in the city’s overall operations.
However, Sawyer says Voetberg still deflects too much blame onto city department heads for city problems and that he deserves low marks when it comes to decision making about lawsuits.
Sawyer says Voetberg goes out of his way to assist citizens with their issues at city hall and that he responds in an outstanding way to concerns from citizens. Sawyers really likes the way Voetberg is out in the community and attends many civic and social service group meetings. He says Voetberg does only an okay job with relationships with the news media.
Sawyer says Voetberg understands his job and its duties very well and that his performance is very much improved. But Sawyer continued to complain about what he calls a failure to share information in a timely and accurate manner.
However, when it comes to working well with the business community and major city projects, Sawyer gives Voetberg the highest marks, especially when it comes to Walgreens, protecting the city’s interest, dealing with the chamber and doing the heavy lifting to raise new revenues to improve the town’s sewer and water systems. He also likes the way Voetberg is pursuing the under-grounding of unsightly utility poles and lines along Highway 101 through town.
By Councilor Dich Beemer
Councilor Dick Beemer gave Voetberg middle of the road marks for employee relations, teamwork, sharing ideas, ensuring a safe and professional environment, worker training, and respecting and encouraging department heads. Beemer also gave average marks for Voetberg’s efforts to ensure that city laws and regulations are fairly enforced, his working relationship with the community, effective communication with community partners and relations with city advisory committees.
Beemer gave Voetberg average marks for listening skills, executing strategies to achieve city goals, mission and values and the way he prioritizes city policies.
In the area of council relations Beemer gave Voetberg average ratings for being a good communicator, for being open and transparent on city issues, offering the council choices on important matters and responding to city council questions.
Beemer also gave Voetberg average marks for dealing with the city’s budget process, reflecting goals and objectives of the city, finding cost savings in the budget, and for making sound business decisions.
By City Councilor and Mayor-elect Sandra Roumagoux
Councilor Roumagoux gave Voetberg average marks for the way he supervises department heads and other employees, the way he offers ideas, encourages teamwork and collaboration.
Roumagoux gave Voetberg higher marks for the way he ensures that city ordinances and regulations are fairly enforced, how he relates and establishes working relationships with the public, along with government partners and city advisory boards and committees.
Roumagoux graded Voetberg as average in the way he listens to people, articulates city strategies, ethics, understanding of critical issues, evaluates major problems and the way he assumes responsibility for his actions.
Roumagoux gave average marks in the way he handles citizen complaints but higher marks in his general relations with the community in his responding to citizen concerns, engages citizens and other groups on critical issues, attends community meetings and his relationship with the news media and the city council.
Roumagoux gave Voetberg good marks for the way he understands his job, enforces timelines for projects, his written and verbal skills and in the way he shares information in a timely and accuragte manner.
Roumagoux says Voetberg ranks highly in the way he works with developers while protecting the city’s interest, increasing the city’s tax base and the way he seeks funding for big projects. Roumagoux said Voetberg works well with union workers and that he’s open and transparent while conducting the city’s business.
Roumagoux says Voetberg keeps the city in the loop on major issues and that he offers options and information in a timely manner and that he’s open and transparent with the council.
Roumagoux also had high praise for Voetberg in the way he handles the city budget and for collaborating with the council in developing and then acting on the budget throughout the fiscal year.
Roumagoux singled out Voetberg’s performance in dealing with the Dennis Reno lawsuit as outstanding, keeping the council in the loop in what was a very difficult piece of litigation that cost the city a $60,000 portion of the total $210,000 that Reno was awarded by a federal judge over allegations of wrongful termination and retaliation of a whistleblower.
By Councilor Lon Brusselback
Councilor Brusselback gave Voetberg average ratings throughout many of the above categories of city manager behavior. Brusselback gave Voetberg good ratings in his relationships with the citizenry and other public agencies. Brusselback said Voetberg is a good listener. Brussel back especially likes Voetberg’s realistic attitude toward constructing city budgets that are reasonable and in accordance with city finance capabilities. Brusselback said Voetberg is ethical, has command of the issues, has a proactive approach to solving problems, assumes responsibility for his actions and well understands his job.
Brusselback does not like the evaluation form formats. Too confining in certain areas, he claims.
Councilor David Allen
Councilor Allen was more critical of Voetberg’s job performance. He rated Voetberg low on the way he respects and encourages employee opinions about work-related matters. That he’s weak on encouraging teamwork and collaboration between management and staff. On other matters of policy execution, government relations and leadership, Allen gave Voetberg and average rating.
But in terms of ethics he gave Voetberg a less than average grade, also for his command of critical issues, identifying potential problems and executing solutions and for not having a good approach to problem solving. Allen gave Voetberg a failing grade on the issue of accepting responsibility for his actions and the result of his actions.
In terms of community relations, Allen gave Voetberg average grades but downgraded Voetberg’s performance in communicating well with the news media and with the public on city activities. In general, Allen gave Voetberg a low grade on the way he shares information in a timely and accurate manner.
In terms of economic development Allen gave Voetberg average to low scores.
By Councilor Jeff Bertueit
Councilor Bertuleit gave Voetberg average to good scores in terms of his supervisory performance with staff and department heads. Good to average marks for the way he executes city policies, government relations, but only average to below average marks on his leadership in terms of describing and executing strategies to meet the city’s goals, values, and mission. Bertuleit gave average to good marks on Voetberg’s ethics, command of critical issues, and promoting efficiencies in city operations.
In terms of community relations, Bertuleit gave Voetberg a poor rating in the way he handles citizens complaints and a likewize poor rating in his dealings with the news media. Bertuleit did give high marks that Voetberg gets around the community very well and is active with a number of community groups.
Bertuleit gave average to good marks on Voetberg’s performance of his administrative duties but downgraded him in the way he shares information in a timely and accurate matter.
On economic development Bertuleit gave mixed gradings; average on working with developers and in protecting the city’s interest, a good rating in the way he seeks funding for critical infrastructure programs, but poor marks toward working to expand the city’s tax base and therefore revenue flow into city coffers. He also downgraded Voetberg with regard to short and long term initiatives to enhance economic development.
Bertuleit was generally critical of Voetberg’s relationship with the council judging him deficient in openness and transparency with the council, giving timely and necessary information on matters that require city council oversight and in answering council questions quickly and accurately.
In terms of financial management, Bertuleit gave Voetberg higher marks in terms of budget preparedness, setting realistic budget goals, progress reports on the way city funds are being spent on under-construction projects and in the way he shares budget audit results with the council.
By Mayor Mark McConnell:
Mayor McConnell left his form blank except for some elaborate doodling. His verbal comments about his evaluation of Voetberg are not legally releasable to the public under Oregon’s Executive Session provisions.