Council directs staff to move forward with EDC staff transition
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove city council gave direction to interim city manager Ryan Haverlah to move forward with crafting a plan to transition the employees of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Department out from under the direct supervision of the Copperas Cove city manager.
It has been nearly two years since the city council voted to move the EDC’s staff under the direct supervision of the Copperas Cove city manager, and EDC board chair Adam Martin reiterated the two issues the board saw with having the EDC’s employees report to the city manager.
“At the last meeting, we talked about that there were some efficiencies gained when we moved into the city, things that we would like to see, but there were also a couple of things that we wanted to see addressed, and the biggest one was potential conflict of interest with the executive director essentially having two bosses, the board of directors and the city manager, and also that we would like to have more influence or control over the hiring and firing of the executive director,” Martin told the council.
“At this time, we believe the best thing to give the EDC the best chance to thrive is to separate, and it came down to those two things, the conflict of interest between the city manager and the executive director, and having control of hiring and firing. We looked at some alternatives and trying to implement those changes, but it would be a direct violation of the city charter to try to do that.”
Previously, the City of Copperas Cove had hired Marc Farmer as executive director for the Economic Development Department last spring. However, last November, then city manager Andrea Gardner fired Farmer. The city’s Human Resources Department continued to seek another executive director, but recently interim city manager Ryan Haverlah stated that the city was holding off on extending an offer of employment to an applicant due to the possible transition.
Place 7 councilman Charlie Youngs asked that the vote to move the employees from under the city manager be on the May 15 meeting agenda.
Presently there is only one staff member, an interim executive director, although the EDC board and council approved the addition of an administrative staff position and a marketing position earlier this year.
There is a transition plan from 2016, which could be done essentially in reverse, a two- to three-month process for “unraveling”, said the EDC’s attorney.
However, it was discussed that the hiring of any new staff will be held off until the transition is farther along, so the city will not have to “terminate” those positions and the EDC will not have to “hire” those employees again.
Board Chair Martin said the board would still like to use the city’s services to handle the EDC’s financial reporting and human resources, to use “the expertise and buying power of the city under contract.”