SHERIDAN — The Sheridan City Council unanimously approved the second reading of a charter ordinance to hire a city administrator at the regular meeting Monday evening.
The city again went out of its way to emphasize it would maintain a strong mayor-council form of government if the charter ordinance — which requires a two-thirds majority vote — passes a third and final reading on Oct. 5.
“It is evident in the ordinance before you that the strong mayor and council is retained,” city attorney Greg Von Krosigk said. “The idea behind a city administrator is to take you as the elected officials to be the legislative body, to control the policies, issue directives to essentially a chief of staff in the city administrator, and for that city administrator to implement the policies and legislation that you pass as elected officials.”
The ordinance allows the mayor with a majority of City Council to appoint an administrator. The mayor and Council would also have the authority to fire the chief of staff.
The administrator would be responsible for general operations within the city, including budgeting and employment of all city workers other than the city attorney and municipal court judges.
Under the proposed setup, Sheridan residents would still elect a mayor, who would possess veto and line item veto power. The administrator, according to the draft charter ordinance, would hire all department heads within the city and could remove them at any time with or without cause.
Sheridan budgeted $160,000 for an administrator’s salary in fiscal year 2015-16.
Von Krosigk told the Council the ordinance was put together by studying other cities in Wyoming that use a strong mayor-council form of government but utilize a city administrator, such as Cody, Gillette, Jackson, Lovell, Powell and Kemmerer, among others.
A charter ordinance is necessary in this case because the city would be modifying the statutory duties of the mayor. Sheridan mayors have previously hired and fired department heads.
Councilors spoke in favor of the proposal, pointing out a city administrator would be a trained professional adept at running the day-to-day operations of the city.
In other business:
• Councilors approved the construction of a new office and shop facility at the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery for approximately $716,000 and awarded the bid to Dick Anderson Construction, a Wyoming and Montana firm.
Sheridan received about $2.3 million from the state of Wyoming in 2014 for specific capital improvement projects, $400,000 of which went to the cemetery. The remaining funds will come from one-cent and supplemental money.