ODESSA, Texas — During the Odessa City Council meeting on February 28th, the council was instructed by the T2 Professional Consulting firm to put together a benchmark committee to assist in the process of searching for a new city manager.
That committee was formed on Tuesday night, and it will be comprised of all seven members of the council.
The council unanimously voted to take the responsibility of creating a benchmark and job description for what the new city manager will be hired to do.
“There [are] some very capable people up here on the dais," said Odessa Mayor Javier Joven. "I think that we can build that model of what we want to see in a city manager, and then put it out there and start bringing in those candidates to apply to that.”
The benchmark committee recommendations made by the firm were to include two city council members, two department directors and two citizens.
With the difficulties associated with finding two citizens up for the task, the council decided otherwise, and will now begin work on the process of creating the ideal model of what the next city manager should represent.
Before that decision was made, the council received an extensive presentation by the firm regarding data it collected through surveys and studies of Odessa city employees.
“But the main thing that…wind up hearing, that I saw, is that people are starved for training and it wasn’t happening," said Mayor Joven. "There was a favoritism in promotions, we had heard that prior to all this, and so the survey -- and now these are the employees communicating, and doing it through an anonymous, they’re not being tracked, there is no IP address -- so that’s why I believe that these numbers and the percentages were so high.”
Part of that data revealed that the city has not updated it’s policy and procedures manual since 2008, something the firm is already working on getting updated.
“What I want to be able to press here, that when we wind up getting this product, that we have to follow the law," said Mayor Joven. "Federal, state and equal employment.”
A clear mission statement for the City of Odessa has also been lacking, an element the city needs to have for its departments to better work together.
“We have an issue here because everyone is going in different directions and we all should be going, but…, ‘how do you go in one direction because you don’t know what the end goal is?’," said Mayor Joven. "We don’t have a unifying statement, and it’s very important, and, so, that’s something that the new city manager is going to have to take on.”
As for the recent firing of Odessa Assistant City Manager Aaron Smith, Mayor Joven said he was not allowed to comment on it as of Tuesday night.
He did mention that nobody on the city council is associated with the status of that position, but he hopes they can make a statement on it soon.