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City manager's evaluation notes areas for improvement

While council rankings show satisfaction, pointed comments highlight concerns


While the majority of the Sherwood City Council say City Manager Joe Gall is meeting or exceeding his job standards, they have a number of areas where they want him to improve.

The council specifically wants him to complete a number of goals and issues that range from preparing a revenue and expenditure forecast to improving both communications with the council and providing more leadership to his staff.by: CITY OF SHERWOOD - Joe Gall

They also want to see him manage his emotions more effectively and be responsive to citizen communications.

That was the gist of a memorandum and 8-page performance evaluation released by the Sherwood City Council Tuesday night as part of the council’s consent agenda.

The memorandum stated that the council wanted Gall to “succeed as city manager, and recognize that the recent months have been unusually tumultuous."

"That said, we believe improvement is needed in your performance because council believes the goals/projects listed below are essential and critical to performance of your duties as city manager," the memorandum stated.

While evaluation comments were often pointed and sometimes critical, the council generally rated categories in Gall’s performance evaluation as meeting or exceeding job standards with no overall average lower than a 6.4 ranking.

According to the evaluation, a ranking of 5 to 6 means the city manager’s performance consistently meets the standards while a 7 to 8 ranking means he is frequently or consistently above the level of a satisfactory employee.

The city manager was given an overall average ranking of 6.4 for his relationship with the city council. Comments included that he needed to participate more in council meetings and that he needed to follow up more quickly on council goals, saying he was late in bringing those before the council.

“In part this appears to be a reactive approach rather than a proactive management style; the city has faced several significant issues this year (e.g., YMCA, Walmart, budget) and Joe tends to allow these issues to drive his efforts,” said one comment.

Gall said his understanding was that the evaluation’s comments, which were anonymous, came from both senior staff members and the Sherwood City Council. Regarding his evaluation, Gall observed that the summary ratings of the six council members and mayor were spread over a wide range.

“Five of the seven folks think I’m doing a good job and two think I can do better,” said Gall.

While the council ranked Gall as exceeding job standards for community and public relations, one person commented that they felt Gall appeared “indifferent” to citizen complaints. However, another comment said the city manager was great at seeking greater citizen involvement and support for community activities.

“The Veteran’s Day event was excellent and beautifully executed,” wrote one commenter.

The council now wants Gall to work on council goals, prepare a three- to five-year revenue and expenditure forecast, complete senior staff evaluations and complete a YMCA assessment to see if there are outcomes that might require contract modifications. They then want to meet with him in three months after he works on those goals, projects and issues they want him to address.

Gall said that’s his plan as well.

“Certainly I’m going to focus on getting those things accomplished,” he said. “Communication with the council is something I’m really going to continue to focus on.”

Gall said the fallout from some residents over the announcement that Walmart would be coming to the city — as well as general frustration with the city that’s evident in comments by other residents — has made it a “tough year for everybody.”

Still, Gall said he loves his job.

“The bottom line is you get up every day, do your job and try to improve,” he said.




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