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Clanton Council to consider organizational structure changes

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Hiring more city employees and establishing departmental leadership would lead to more efficient daily operations for the City of Clanton, according to recommendations from Human Resource Management Inc. consultants.

The Clanton City Council heard a report from the company during a work session on Jan. 21. A vote on the recommendations is expected to be on the agenda for the Jan. 25 voting session at 5 p.m.

The recommendations call for hiring five to six employees and establishing three new leadership positions: an operations manager for city hall, director of public works and director of water and sewer. These director positions would provide leadership for departments as opposed to these departments going directly to Mayor Jeff Mims. The mayor has about 18 positions that report to him directly at this time.

Carolyn Campbell of HMR said having more employees will be crucial for the mayor to be able to do his job of promoting the city’s economic development.

The operations manager position will help the city meet federal compliance requirements, including laws related to pay.

Mims said there are positions at city hall that were never filled when employees left.

“It is not efficient to expect five employees to do the work of 10,” Mims said.

Campbell said the review found some great things about Clanton, but it “also found some great challenges.”

“We never talk about those great challenges on a daily basis without talking about solutions,” Campbell said.

She said these solutions will require time and money.

“We need strong leadership in the public works and the water and sewer,” Campbell said. “Those areas can bring in money. We think those positions will pay for themselves in the first six months.”

Mims and Councilman Billy Singleton agreed that the positions would pay for themselves. Mims said the city is losing money in the water department because of leaks and old water meters functioning incorrectly. He said there is one building in town that a meter cannot be found for.

Singleton said having too few employees in the water department could be costing the city economic opportunities and lost revenue.

The water department is also having a lot of overtime because a position has not been filled.

Any increase in revenue to the department would be used to improve the department. Singleton said there are upgrades that would be needed in the future and this revenue would help cover that.

Increasing the pay for those in this department that were below the average pay for like-sized cities was also discussed as a possibility.

HMR focuses on helping clients implement best practices. They have done similar reviews for other municipalities in Alabama.

Other recommendations include raising the salary of the city clerk to $65,000, hiring a level three accounting clerk, establishing administrative support for the fire chief and the police chief.

Brenda Harrington of HMR submitted compensation comparisons to the City Council for cities of similar size and recommendations for salaries the positions being recommended.  She said following the recommendations could also help with hiring new employees and keeping employees.