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City to explore changes in decision-making process

Council being left out of recent employment decisions leads to discussion
Prineville City Council may reorganize the decision-making process after recent employment decisions left the councilors completely out of the loop until it was too late.
   Many residents - and at times the council members themselves - were unclear about how the city power structure is organized.
   "We just want to be aware of organization structural changes before they come out in a meeting," City Councilor Dean Noyes said. "We do not want to be in charge of hiring and firing."
   Immediately after former public works director Jim Mole was dismissed, city residents flooded the council chambers during the regular meeting, questioning the city councilors about the matter. Aside from Mayor Mike Wendel, city council had no involvement in the decision.
   At the city council meeting on March 13, City Manager Robb Corbett presented the council with the current organizational structure and asked for their input on possible changes.
   "The council requested this policy change," he said.
   Currently, departments of finance, golf, IT, human resources, community development/assistant city manager, police and railroad report to Corbett.
   Councilor Steve Uffelman suggested exploring the possibility of a CFO, an upper-level employee who would respond to Corbett.
   The city manager confirmed the city is looking into that possibility.
   Corbett also said the city is examining the organizational structures of other cities of similar size to Prineville -including St. Helens, Silverton, The Dalles, and Sweet Home - a suggestion made by Councilor Dean Noyes at the last meeting.
   Whatever decision is made, councilors agreed the City of Prineville is unlike other city governments.
   "We are quite unique," City Councilor Steve Uffelman said. "You don't have many cities that own golf courses and a railroad."
   City Manager Robb Corbett said he plans to present a revised council policy on organizational structure at the next Prineville City Council meeting March 27.
   The proposal includes language specifying any change in organizational structure of those staff who report to the city manager will be provided to the city council for their approval.