A crazy thing happened to me on the way to a village council meeting…I walked in with a contract for administrative consulting services and walked out/in with a contract to be the village administrator. Of course, I wanted to hang on to my consulting practice which is just starting to take off, so it is a part-time gig.
The primary tool for this particular task was presented with a document/program entitled the Local Government Organizational Assessment. This document covers every area of local government administration, some areas in general , some areas more specific. The community is facing a triple whammy of (1) not having enough general fund monies to meet FY 2012 obligations, (2) inability to meet debt obligations for its water plant expansion and (3) being two years behind in combined sewer overload compliance.
This is not the first time I have encountered such problems in a small town. These issues seem to arise as a result of a reform group running for office and the outgoing group spends down reserve funds or refuses to enact rate increases that would protect financial obligations or compliance issues. Egos and malevolent behavior prevail.
The good news is that the newly elected reformers become interested in professional management of their local government. Professionally trained local government managers are still the vanguard of reform in local government practices. This is not to pat myself on the back, but rather a thank you to those who have come before me, inspired me, trained and mentored me.
Small communities need to take a good hard look at their system and seriously consider hiring a professional administrator or continuing the reform by adopting a charter form of government with a council-manager format.