October 23, 2008

The argument for a chief operating officer

Those pushing for a chief operating officer in Bristol have put together this:

SAVE TAXPAYER $$ VOTE YES FOR THE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER ON NOVEMBER 4TH
Dear fellow Citizen:
The responsibilities of the mayor are too broad and too demanding for one person and leave little time for appropriate strategic planning and promotion of the City. For this reason and others, the bi-partisan Charter Revision Committee recommended that Bristol adopt the management position of a Chief Operating Officer (COO).
“What exactly is this COO position?”
Allow us to spell out clearly: 1) the role of the COO and, 2) how the position would be implemented in Bristol. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with this information, share it with your friends and encourage them to vote YES to question #5 on the ballot on Nov. 4th.
What is the role of the COO?
This trained professional will coordinate and supervise the appointed officers of the City (department heads), relieving the Mayor of these responsibilities, and assure that these officers administer City resources effectively and efficiently. The COO will:
• Supervise and evaluate direct reports.
• Communicate with the mayor and council about the affairs of the city and make recommendations relating to the interest of the city.
• Provide strategic planning and coordination among city departments to implement the budget and policies and procedures of the city.
• Provide leadership and direction to all officers and employees of the city to develop and implement city budgets, customer service and personnel initiatives, technology initiatives, grant activity, and other matters.
• Develop and administer programs to address citizen inquiries and complaints.
• Aid in recruiting and developing qualified candidates for appointment to city boards, commissions and other appointed offices.
• Attend all city council, board of finance, and other meetings as required.
How do we hire a COO and what are the qualifications to be COO?
• The mayor nominates and the city council appoints a COO hiring committee which conducts a search and recommends a candidate for the position.
• The COO hiring committee consists of five members: the Mayor (or designee), one member of council, the board of finance chairman (or designee), and two electors from the City, neither of which may be City employees or from the same political party.
• The COO hiring committee makes its recommendations to the mayor. The COO is nominated by the mayor and appointed by the city council. The COO is appointed for a term of four years.
• The successful candidate holds at least a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration or related field (preferably a master’s degree) and has at least four years experience as a City Manager or equivalent. Further, preference is given to a candidate with: experience in administration, supervision, strategic planning, budget preparation, team building and negotiation skills; strong communication and interpersonal skills, strong verbal, written, and analytical skills.
• The successful candidate must become a resident of the City of Bristol within six months after appointment and maintain residency during the term of office.
• At the end of the COO’s term, or at any other time, the COO may be removed by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the city council.
-Ken Johnson & Craig Yarde
Paid for by Choose COO, Gary M. Schaffrick, Treasurer
*******
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

But they still haven't addressed the conflicts with the current charter, which will still be in effect

Anonymous said...

All fluff/no substance

VOTE NO!

Anonymous said...

This is a vendetta from two losers against the Mayor, nothing more, nothing less, under the guise of supposed accountability.

Why do we need a person at double the Mayor's salary to be a go for the Mayor. This person would be answerable directly to the mayor.

What savings are going to be derived from this position that will cost us taxpayers over $250,000.00 after salary, benefits, and office support staff? Why haven't the supporters disclosed exactly what the costs of a COO would be and demonstrate that the savings would offset the costs. Why? They can't show any substantial savings to the taxpayers because there are none, just another layer in government and another fluffy job for one of Johnson's and Yarde's friends, if not themselves.

If you want people to vote, give them the facts, not rhetoric.

Yarde must be looking for a new position now that he has sold his business.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....maybe we should HIRE our next president too? Why should the voters get to choose? Running the entire country is a much bigger business than running lil ole Bristol....maybe the kens and craigs should move on to Washington and push to take the rights away from all the citizens of the United States!

Anonymous said...

Now I can see the reasons that those pushing this COO mess weren't willing to come forward with any positive explanation for the position - there isn't one and they sound ridiculous trying to defend their positions - VOTE NO.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a City Manager position to me. Seeing that they couldn't get this through the Charter Revision Committee, this "bi-partisan" group gave in and adopted the same principles and job duties using another name, Chief Operating Officer. Who are they kidding? If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, guess what, it's a duck!!

If the City Manager, Chief Operating Officer, were such a grand idea and worked as great as the proponents want you to believe it will work, why doesn't every city and town in the country have this form of government? It's because this form of government doesn't work for every town and city.

Bristol has worked fine with a strong Mayor form of government, fact is that Bristol was used as a model city by the State because it was run so well under the present form of Mayoral government, why change it for change sake?

Anonymous said...

The unions will have a big eye opener come Nov 5th! I can't wait! Bristol will be entering a new chapter in City history on Nov 5th! The gloom and doom that has over shadowed Bristol for the last 20 years is about to be a thing of the past. This city is such a joke right now its not even funny! it's sad and an embarrassment! Just talk to your state leaders what folks at the Capital think of the city of Bristol! Wake up people! Vote Yes for the COO!

Not stupid said...

Supervise and evaluate direct reports.

Per union contract this isn't possible.

Why isn't the salary for the COO and related necessary hires placed in this "explaination" of the position?

Do you feel the wool being pulled over your eyes? I do.

Anonymous said...

The unions are laughing right now because they know that even if this is voted in, it is a moot position because they report to the mayor per union contract and not some person hired to be a COO.

Anonymous said...

Unions, Unions, Unions!!!!

Unions are to blame for everything that's wrong in this country, right?

It's so sad that we have such ignorant people like you around. The unions built this country into what it was at one time but the greed of big business has brought us down. Just take a look at Wall Street , are there any unions there? How about the CEO's of the big corporations, are they represented by unions? How many union's are paying their officials millions in salary and benefits?

I suppose you think it's quite alright for an executive of a corporation to make mega million dollars in salary and benefits while reducing wages and benefits for the workers that make the money for them to be so greedy. I suppose you believe that everybody should work for Wal Mart wages and get on Medicare like Wal Mart tells their employees to do?

I really think that you are going to be surprized on November 5th when you realize that the majority of taxpayers in Bristol aren't living in the same make-believe world that you are obviously living in.

Anonymous said...

If you are honestly happy with our current situation, then by all means vote the COO down. However if you are not happy, this proposal should be given serious consideration. It can not be summed up as cleanly as either side is presenting. It is not all about accountability and being anti union, nor is it all about costing taxpayers extra money and adding an extra layer of bureaucracy. This type of government has been around for years and many many other towns have chosen to adopt this format - council-manager form of government. Is it right for us? I don't know, but I am leaning towards this change.

Anonymous said...

goto www.icma.org to learn about council-manager forms of government.

Tim Gamache said...

I will try this one more time.ONLY if this position generates considerably more revenue than it costs(don't forget given the duties the proponents envision for the COO it will require a pretty substancial staff),to include the benefit package(and there will HAVE to be one if we want a truly qualified candidate) will this change to our form of government prove in any way beneficial.I also am concerned that the Charter Revision Cmte. in order to make it palatable enough so the City Council would approve,"watered down" the criteria of a Town Manager position to come up with this COO.This is to say the COO candidate can possess less qualifications than the majority of citizens would like to see in ANY candidate.I would ask the proponents to PLEASE do not use the intelligence insulting "common sense will tell you" argument.Given I don't believe for a second this position will generate more revenue than it cost the taxpayers,the voters are left out of the dismissal proceedure(no accountability to those footing the bill) and finally some serious ambiquity in the language in relation to the positions authority;I cannot at this time support this change.

Anonymous said...

Why do they have to have 4 years as a City Manager,when they won't be a City manger?

Another bit of stupidity!

Anonymous said...

What do you think a web site devoted to City/County Management is going to tell you? All the feely good bull about having a City Manager.

Bottom line, what is it going to cost and what are the savings going to be? Will the savings make up for the costs of the position or will the position cost us taxpayers more money?

If it was so great and did such a great job, then why doesn't every city and town in the country have such a position?

Change is good but at what cost?

Anonymous said...

There is no reference to a COO as proposed by Kenny Yard and Craig Johnson.

This is their unique proposal with nothing to reasonably compare it to.

Fantasy land I call it.

Anonymous said...

It is about adding an extra layer of government and the costs associated. I could give it serious consideration if we knew all the facts including the costs, which nobody who is for the proposal, wants to talk about. All they want to talk about is how more efficient work can be done. I've heard this before, can anybody say PRIVITIZATION? Has anybody heard of ENRON?

Anonymous said...

At what cost do you want to see change?

Anonymous said...

I think that Mike Petosa of the Greater Bristol Labor Council knows all the facts. Mike is a walking, living wealth of knowledge.

MIKE PETOSA for City Council 09
Bye Bye Minor

Anonymous said...

I was not referring anyone to that site for it to be the end all for information on this. I found the site looking this up myself. Should I have to do research on my own, probably not, but I decided to anyway. I just wanted to shed some light that is all. Take the information on the site for whatever you feel it is worth. At least it explains this form of government a little.

Anonymous said...

2 Points beside the obvious "What's the cost?" question that so many have asked and no one can answer:

1. The language says that a committee finds the candidates and the mayor nominates him or her. What if the Mayor chooses not to nominate anyone or not anyone on the list? The language doesn't address that. When you say nominate it implies the mayor would approve of whomever he's nominating. What if he doesn't? Then what?

2. It says that the COO would have a four year "term" but then says that at the end of his term (or any other time) he can be removed by a 2/3 vote of the City Council. Well, if it's a term then shouldn't he be subject to reappointment after his term and not merely possibly be removed?? Sounds like he'd never be removed under this language. Look at Rosenthal...Stortz didn't want to reappoint him but could not get the votes on the Council to remove him. Guess what? We are still paying him! The same thing will happen here under this proposal.

VOTE NO COO

Anonymous said...

This issue is fairly new to me, but if it was brought up and rejected during charter revision, why is it being reconsdered so soon?

Steve Collins said...

The charter commission unanimously endorsed the idea, but the City Council voted it down. After that, supporters gathered signatures to put the measure on the ballot over the objection of politicians. That's why you'll be voting on the issue come Nov. 4.

Anonymous said...

Tim, and others,

The cost will be greater than the COO salary and staff!

Due to the vagueness of the language, the conflicts with the Charter, and the contracts, we will likely see many many challenges to this proposal if it is voted in.

There will be legal costs, concessions, inaction etc. etc., until things are settled, which may take YEARS.

Anonymous said...

Case closed.

The decision has been made.

Glen Kloko will be the COO

Anonymous said...

Those that say this will generate more revenue will have to explain just how that will be done without raising taxes and/or other fees?

Odin said...

"Bottom line, what is it going to cost and what are the savings going to be? Will the savings make up for the costs of the position or will the position cost us taxpayers more money?"

If you and Tim truly believe that the only indicator of the COO's value is whether he/she will save us money, please vote "no".

On the other hand, if you think there is value to being perceived as a city that takes the business of running the city seriously, and not pander to the unions, vote "yes".

Anonymous said...

vote no just one more useless position the taxpayers will have to pay for. what's wrong with ward he can't handle everything on his plate. how much $$ would this person make?

Anonymous said...

OMG..the union hack for city council...where's the FOR SALE sign for my house...Bristol realtors are going to have a good year if that hack gets in.

WAKE UP BRISTOL>>UNION OPPOSITION TO THE COO SHOULD BE TELLING YOU SOMETHING!!!!

VOTE YES FOR COO.VOTE MCCAIN PALIN>>VOTE FOR PEOPLE WHO WILL REPRESENT YOU NOT SPECIAL INTERESTS>>>LIKE UNIONS.

Gamache...you still don't get it...how sad are you!

Anonymous said...

7:02am - you'll need to search elsewhere for your argument, ward isn't the one asking for this, he has publicly stated that he is against it and has offered up alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Wards alternatives are just an attempt to mollify the people: he isn't looking at the real savings opportunities.

But a mayor has all the power,and more, that a COO would have.

And, would a COO do somewthing his/her boss doesn't want done?
Onlt the Mayor and Council can remove them, NOT the people.

Anonymous said...

From what I read, it seems like a lot of people feel that Ward is not doing his job, and should be replaced.

Either way, looks like Ward will have a rough 2009.

Anonymous said...

oh, I am ever so thankful for the fact that I have been blessed with an exposure to the realities of life, otherwise I might have had to risk being relegated to the depths of incarceration into the wayward existence of being subjected to enrollment as a republican.

Anonymous said...

from what I read on this blog from people like 8:52, nothing will ever be positive if we wait for their involvement.

Tim Gamache said...

Odin and 7;20AM Due to the fact I was never and am not now, a city employee with a collective bargaining agreement with the city,for me this issue has NEVER BEEN about "pandering" to anyone or group.I don't get it?Are you for real?This IS essentially about signing a "blank check" given the incredible ambiquity in the overall language.What part don't YOU understand?

Anonymous said...

In talking with some public works guys yesterday they are for the COO and think Ward is not doing a good job. They said the city looks like crap and they are feed up with all the politics in their departments. It looks like the unions are not doing a good brain washing job to get them to vote No! LOL! I love it!

Anonymous said...

If Ward was doing a good job, why would there be any support for a COO?

Anonymous said...

you are probably just trying to antagonize the situation amongst union people but my guess would be that ward must be asking them to do what's right instead of what has been, they should get it that in this workplace there isn't much room for workers who won't do their jobs the right way anymore.

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify:
If ward was doing such a good job, why would there be ANY support for a COO from the general voting populace?

All union people do not live in town, all are not registered. so teh actual number has to be less than 2000.

Is it political, is it naivete?

Anonymous said...

let's see, ken johnson lost the election, cockayne's idol (johnson)lost the election, minor's political boss lost the primary and the election, any other questions?
it's not a union thing, it's a LOSER'S thing.

Anonymous said...

recent comments diverting attention from the issue to union or ward bashing would lead me to believe that those pushing this COO thing are getting a bit nervous - too bad that the pushers can't spend as much time giving the voters the answers that they have asked for.

Anonymous said...

The reason that the COO supporters have not provided answers to the questions is that either they do not understand teh issue, or the answers would be counterproductive to their misguided efforts.

Anonymous said...

aha, these can only be the words of someone who is trying to come to the truth as to the pros and cons of the issue in order to make a valued vote. Like you, I am hoping to acheieve the same but I am not very optimistic.

Anonymous said...

Ken Johnson, Craig Yarde, Cockayne, Craig Minor, need I say more?

Poor sports, if I can't play, then I'm taking my ball and going home!!

Stop trying to cram your personal agenda down our throats. Tell the people the truth about the costs, if they knew the costs they would have never signed your petition in the first place.

Please, taxpayers of Bristol, read the details of the proposal, it really stinks.

This is not a union issue, it's a taxpayer issue.

All costs to us taxpayers for a personal agenda. If it works as well as they propose, everybody would have it, it's only common sense!!

Anonymous said...

Gamache...you are too much...the blank check you speak of is the one the democrat buddies of yours give to the unions every year. The COO has to reduce that robbery by a half of a percent and he will have paid for his projected salary for 10 FRIGGIN YEARS...you silly little man!

Anonymous said...

4:58

And others.

The real costs are unknown at this time.
One can approximate salary and benefits for the COO and staff.

Even at $400,000/yr, that would pale along side possible challenges if the proposal passes. There are charter conflicts, bargaining unit conflicts, that could result in millions of dollars in claims.

And, there are NO, I repeat, NO savings that could not be realized under the current sysyem.

So, what is the benefit???

Anonymous said...

5:37 -I don't think that a "blank check" is a focus here, seems more like the "blank stare" that you are using to ignore the issue at hand - fill in the "blank space" between your ears and you might get a better understanding of what is in front of you.

Anonymous said...

November 4th can't come quick enough!

What will people talk about when its over?

Will either side ever truly accept the outcome?

Anonymous said...

the results of the vote on question #5, COO, with a "NO" vote, will either put the issue to bed or, with a "Yes" vote will open up a myriad of other problems related to the present city charter and the institution of the coo, which were not addressed by the charter revision committee's actions.
A "YES" vote will ensure chaos, the need for additional time and monies for corrections and sheer confusion for the people.
Look at our economy and tell me that we can afford another $200,000 - $300,000, at the least, in increased taxes, Unless you have a crystal ball that I don't have, my confodence doesn't rest with spending more money on the whim of a few losers.

Anonymous said...

There is no cogent argument for the COO COO!!!

Anonymous said...

I think the COO could make up for his/her salary by running the city more efficiently. I have a problem, however, with the city being run by some one other than the elected official: the mayor.

The solution would be for parties to put up candidates who are more qualified. Can't either party find some one with a degree in public admin? Running a business is good experience, but education would also help.

Anonymous said...

11:48

I am glad you said "could", not "would".

We did have mayors that had college degrees, we did have one who had partially completed their MPA, and we did have a candidate who did have an MBA or MPA.

But what is needed is the support for a mayor that does make the hard, but sometimes unpopular decision, support from the council as well as the people.

A good example is that last mayor could not get support from the council to not reappoint the BDA Director, when it was clear that he should be repalced.

This COO approach is a good example of those who do not know much about the process think that they have all the answers. Unfortunately, the answers are quite inadequate and to a quite extent, wrong.
This should be evident to all, as those that are in favor of the COO have been and are unable to provide meaningful responces to the questions that have been asked.

Anonymous said...

"A good example is that last mayor could not get support from the council to not reappoint the BDA Director, when it was clear that he should be repalced."

Did Stortz ever actually put it to a vote? I don't remember seeing that.

Anonymous said...

stortz never even brought rosenthal's name up for a city council decision, one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

After 30 years, Stortz certainly knew how to count noses.

He had two nays for sure. Art and Frank supported Rosenthal. Jonathan was and is a big fund raiser for both of them.

Since Zoppo would not commit, neither would Minor and McCauley.

I'l bet Art would vote differently now.

And the new members would also vote to oust Rosenthal.

Anonymous said...

October 28, 2008 11:56 AM says: He had two nays for sure. Art and Frank supported Rosenthal. Jonathan was and is a big fund raiser for both of them. Since Zoppo would not commit, neither would Minor and McCauley.

Are you on drugs or something? You couldn't be more wrong.

Anonymous said...

mccauley and minor wouldn't do anything without zoppo and now they just don't do anything period.
kevin rambles on like a monotone parrot and minor talks down, or at, people rather than admit that he is clueless.

Anonymous said...

12:45

In what way am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

TIME TO GET RID OF THE UNION AND MOVE BRISTOL FORWARD. TAKE DOWN THE WASTE.

Anonymous said...

Furrys letter in the paper did not asnswer any questions.

Why?

Anonymous said...

The best argument against a COO is that Johnson, Cockayne and Minor are for it.