Johnson City Commission votes to define city manager's evaluation with 'broader brush'

Jessica Fuller • Updated Dec 22, 2017 at 12:05 AM

When considering the effectiveness of the person who runs the city, the Johnson City Commission decided it’s best to define that success with broad strokes rather than fine details.

After city commissioners scored City Manager Pete Peterson a 3 out of 5 in effectiveness at a September commission meeting, the topic went back and forth for subsequent commission meetings, getting delayed several times before commissioners added it to Thursday night’s agenda.

On Thursday, the Commission voted unanimously to continue with broad objectives set by the previous commission, but to shift the review process to the first half of the calendar year.

Commissioner Joe Wise had voted to delay discussion on the topic at the commission’s Nov. 13 meeting because commissioners didn’t receive Peterson’s eight pages of notes on the proposed objectives until the night before. Discussion was deferred again at the beginning of the Dec. 7 meeting and replaced with a presentation by Indian Trail Intermediate School.

After reviewing Peterson’s notes, Wise made a motion to approve the broad objectives.

“(Peterson) went to a great effort, and I found it helpful, to go through and delineate very specific tactical steps that would go into fulfilling each of those objectives,” Wise said before making his motion. “But I think for the purpose of this commission, those objectives should be on a broad brush and allow the city manager to implement without an overt amount of tactical direction from the commission.”

The second part of Wise’s motion was to move the review process, giving March or April as an example. He gave two reasons: to get evaluations away from commission elections in November to give potential new commissioners a chance to work with Peterson for a few months before evaluating him, and to line up the city manager’s evaluations with other city staff evaluations. 

That means Peterson would be due for another evaluation in about three months, but Wise proposed an abridged process to make sure everything is on track to meet objectives. 

“What we would be doing in the abridged evaluation in March is looking for satisfactory and demonstrable progress toward those objectives within the four to five months from whence the objectives (were established) to when we’re reviewing them,” Wise said.


Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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