Reorganization planned for Gilbert Town Hall staff - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Reorganization planned for Gilbert Town Hall staff

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Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 4:47 pm

Gilbert Town Hall will undergo a reorganization that relieves the town manager of direct oversight of the entire staff and creates a finance department.

The organization would go into effect after approval from the Town Council on Thursday, which is expected.

Under the new staff tree, most department heads will report to one of two assistant town managers. Currently, interim town manager Collin DeWitt is immediate supervisor for each department, a model he said Gilbert has outgrown.

"The town has been organized in a fairly horizontal fashion," DeWitt told the Council during a study session on Monday. "I don't know of a time it has not been like that. As we have grown, many people have done many things, and many hats have been worn by a few.

"It's become somewhat dysfunctional because of the magnitude. As the town's responsibilities change, it is time to go to a more traditional format."

Police, fire and public works departments are among the entities overseen by one assistant manager; finance, community services and support services the other. Marc Skocypec and Tami Ryall are assistant town managers.

DeWitt said the new structure provides better department collaboration and succession development.

"This is a reshuffling of the desk chairs so we have a more effective organization," DeWitt said.

The finance department includes three new positions: finance director, budget administrator and budget and financial planning analyst. The new personnel would be funded by eliminating the financial services manager position, the use of contingency funds and other fund transfers.

In other news, the Council, during a special meeting on Monday, delayed a vote on an ordinance that would require an appraisal for large land purchases made by the town. Members expressed a desire for more research, including comparing similar ordinances from other municipalities.

The ordinance was born after published reports that the town paid $42.7 million for 142.5 acres of land - or about $300,000 an acre - from dairy owner Bernard Zinke for future parks and roadways. No appraisal was commissioned during the sale, which was negotiated by then-town manager George Pettit and approved by the Council in January 2009.

"It was standard operating procedure, it was understood, that an appraisal would be gotten with any purchase of land on behalf of the town," Council member Linda Abbott said during the meeting. "That process had been followed, it was reasonable that it would be followed, and the fact was that it was not followed ... The bottom line is that is the issue we need to address: If there is an acquisition of land, that (appraisal) needs to be included in the negotiations."

The ordinance, as currently written, allows the town manager to waive an appraisal if the purchase price is $25,000 or less or the cost per square foot is "comparable to sales of similar property."

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