Langley to hire part-time administrator

"Though it is a subject that has seldom appeared before the public, the city of Langley is going ahead with its long-held plan to hire a city administrator.This week, a notice went up on the city's bulletin board, stating that the city is looking to hire a part-time administrator. Although the Langley City Council has yet to vote whether it wishes to create the position, Langley Mayor Lloyd Furman said he anticipates a motion to that effect at the council's April 5 meeting.Funding for the new position will come from a long-distance phone tax the city passed last year. The tax, which is expected to bring in about $22,000 this year, was earmarked last year to go toward street repair and hiring a city administrator. Mayor Furman said he expects the city council to approve a $24,000 annual administrator's salary, which will use all the phone tax revenues. Added to the mayor's $14,400 salary, that will push the total annual administrative price tag for Langley over $38,000.While the question over whether to create the position has not come before the city council for an official discussion or vote, council members are supportive. Neil Colburn, the longest serving member of the council, said the mayor and council have, during recent afternoon retreat meetings, discussed the hiring and who might be best qualified to fill the position.One person mentioned as a candidate, Colburn said, is city attorney Eric Lucas. Lucas would be a good choice, Colburn said, because the person who does fill the position will be expected to bring administrative consistency to the city. Lucas has been the city's attorney for more than nine years.I'm sort of looking forward to it, Colburn said.Council member Dione Murray said the council has been working to create the position since it passed the long-distance phone tax last year. The tax funded a $22,250 budget for a city administrator in 1999, however the job was not offered during that budget cycle. Murray said that between staff comments she has heard and council discussions she has taken part in, she believes many people are in favor of the move.We've had some positive feedback, Murray said.Bill Hawkins, one of the council's newest members, said nothing to contradict that thought this week.I really concur that if it can be done with the right person for the right price, it will be good for the people of Langley, Hawkins said.Mayor Furman said he expects the city to hire an administrator within a month. Advertising for the opening went up at City Hall late last week. The city will take applications until April 4. Furman said an administrator will make transitions between different mayors and different council members at each election cycle much more smooth. In addition, an administrator will take up some of the day-to-day duties that a part-time mayor should not necessarily be required to do. It's going to take a little bit of a load off me in some ways, Furman said.After the job posting closes, Furman will choose one person from the pool of applicants and recommend that the council hire that person. The council will have the final vote on hiring and firing anyone in the city adminstrator position, Furman said.Additional duties for the administrator will include filling in for vacationing or otherwise absent department heads and grant research.Final authority on all administrative decisions will continue to reside in the mayor's office, Furman said."

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