photo by: John Young
Though Lawrence burghal commissioners said they were apologetic to apprehend Burghal Administrator Tom Markus’ advertisement that he affairs to resign, all said they are beholden for the changes he’s brought to Burghal Hall.
Markus, 67, appear Tuesday that he affairs to abandon in the bounce of 2019, which will mark about three years aback he began his position as the city’s top administrator. Aback Markus was interviewed, he said he planned to authority the position a best of bristles years, and Markus said on Tuesday that he acquainted it was time for him to move on and that he hopes to absorb added time with his family, including his six grandchildren.
Vice Mayor Lisa Larsen said she was apologetic to apprehend about Markus’ decision, but that she understands his admiration to absorb added time with family. Larsen said admitting the burghal didn’t get the best of bristles years, the agency has gotten the shakeup at Burghal Hall that it approved aback hiring Markus.
“One of the affidavit to accept somebody from the alfresco appear in is it gives you an befalling to accept somebody attending at it from a accomplished altered point of view,” Larsen said. “He has apparent us area some of our weaknesses are.”
Mayor Stuart Boley said he’s beholden that Markus, who has added than 40 years of acquaintance in borough government, basic a claiming backward in his career, and that the burghal has benefited from his ability and leadership.
“I ambition it was activity to be longer, but I’m not activity to say, ‘Oh, he let us down,’ or annihilation like that,” Boley said. “He’s done absolutely acceptable assignment for us.”
Commissioners accustomed Markus with spearheading a added organized and cellophane account process, the alliance of the accessible works and utilities departments, and administering burghal business in a added cellophane way. The latter, commissioners noted, included advertisement mistakes and added issues to the agency that in the accomplished ability accept been beneath about handled.
Specifically, commissioners acclaimed that aback agents accomplished that the burghal had bootless to accelerate invoices for about $700,000 account of leases and added agreements, Markus brought that advice to the commission. Ultimately, burghal agents succeeded in accession the accomplished due amounts, which went aback several years.
Boley and Larsen acclaimed that the burghal took calefaction for the error. Larsen said the bearings ability accept been handled internally in the past, but that Markus brought it out in a cellophane manner.
“He brought that alternating — there was a aberration historically but owning up to it and demography affliction of it,” Larsen said. “And that’s aloof the accomplished mindset I anticipate he has brought to the commission.”
Larsen additionally acclaimed that the burghal captivated accessible arrangement negotiations for the badge admiral abutment arrangement and formed to accomplish abiding it lined up with the city’s authorization apropos abutment contracts. Larsen additionally said that Markus has opened up discussions about the account agreements amid the burghal and county, some of which haven’t been revisited in years or were alone agreed to verbally.
“We absolutely charge to accomplish based on what our accounting agreements are, and if they’re not acceptable enough, let’s accomplish the changes that are all-important to accomplish them work,” Larsen said.
Commissioner Jennifer Ananda additionally said she was afflicted with the akin of transparency. She said that bringing such things advanced allows the agency to do added to abode the basal issues.
“Even admitting some of these things originated beneath a antecedent burghal manager’s watch, owning that and alive to change it and demography the calefaction from these things,” Ananda said. “The point is absolutely authoritative change and giving the burghal commissioners the advice that they can use to accomplish acceptable decisions.”
Boley said a above advance to the account action was that the burghal began including all burghal funds in its anniversary operating budget, instead of aloof the funds adapted by accompaniment law. Accompaniment law does not crave cities to account assertive funds, such as those for basic projects, centralized services, action funds and assorted adapted acquirement funds. Boley said that meant there were millions of dollars that weren’t prioritized beyond the government.
“We spent in 2015 about $16 actor alfresco of our acknowledged anniversary operating budget,” Boley said. “So that meant we were authoritative one-off decisions, on things like the skate rink, instead of saying, ‘How does that fit aural Parks and Rec priorities?’”
Commissioner Leslie Soden said she thinks one of Markus’ strengths has been his open-mindedness. She thinks key accomplishments during Markus’ administering accept been the efforts to abode the city’s affordable apartment shortage, development of a cardinal planning process, the admission of priority-based allotment and authoritative changes with administering at Burghal Hall that she said accept helped access accord amid departments.
When asked if there are advancing efforts they would like to see completed or prioritized afore Markus leaves his position, commissioners mostly acclaimed that the alteration action in accepted would be key, and that advancing efforts would abatement beneath that. Larsen said she is still because that question, but that one affair she would like to see prioritized is the afresh amorphous discussions with Douglas Canton apropos the allotment and account acceding for Lawrence-Douglas Canton Fire Medical Department.
A accurate council-manager anatomy of government
Commissioner Matthew Herbert said one of the noteworthy things about Markus is that he tells the agency aback he thinks the altercation is activity in the amiss direction. Herbert said admitting the agency has gotten some criticism on the regard, that he thinks Markus’ angle as a able burghal administrator is important.
“I anticipate accepting that able backbone, the alertness to footfall up and say, ‘Hey, apprehend me out,’ I anticipate fabricated him effective,” Herbert said.
Throughout his career, Markus formed in borough government in assorted Midwestern cities. Herbert said that Markus brought an outsider’s angle to administering that the burghal needed.
“He brought in a bare slate,” Herbert said. “And there are some things that we had done in this boondocks for a continued time that, frankly, we apparently didn’t accept a bigger alibi for added than we had consistently done it that way.”
Herbert said that included the alliance of the accessible works and utilities departments, the city’s move against priority-based allotment and a added organized alfresco account appeal process. Herbert said he thinks the operational efficiencies created with those changes will be a bequest of Markus’ tenure.
Soden said Markus’ acquaintance was abnormally accessible accustomed that four out of bristles commissioners were confined their aboriginal agreement aback he began his position in 2016.
“I anticipate he was absolutely acknowledging to compassionate that there were changes we basic to make, and allowance to adviser us to what would be adapted solutions,” Soden said.
Boley said that, beneath Markus, the agency has had cogent discussions about how the council-manager anatomy of government operates. He said allotment of that has been compassionate that Markus is amenable for administering as against to the commission, and that the agency allowances from Markus’ able guidance.
“If all you do is backroom and you don’t accept able guidance, it ends up not absolutely confined the accessible the way the accessible needs to be served,” Boley said. “And that’s one of the cogent acquaint that I’ve abstruse from Tom, was just, let’s do council-manager anatomy of government the way it’s declared to be done.”
The aing burghal administrator
As far as what the agency should be attractive for in its aing burghal manager, Soden said she’d like to see addition with acquaintance alive in at atomic a brace of cities and addition who, like Markus, is not abashed to accomplish changes and has acquaintance accomplishing so.
“The better affair that I’m absorbed in with the alteration is that we get a backup that is additionally absorbed in announcement adroitness and innovation,” Soden said. “I’m not attractive for a burghal administrator that’s attractive to aloof advance the cachet quo, I appetite addition that will abide to appoint with these new ideas.”
For him, Boley said that he thinks it’s important that the burghal administrator understands the accelerating attributes of Lawrence, and that the burghal manager’s eyes for the association reflects that. Larsen, too, said she would be attractive for somebody with professional, accelerating ideas.
Ananda said that she thinks it was acceptable for the burghal to accept addition like Markus, who can accord an outsider’s angle that is not ego-based. She said whether the burghal needs added of that or addition attractive to break in the position over the continued appellation will be article the agency will accept to consider.
“I anticipate there are allowances to both,” Ananda said. “What do we charge as a city?”
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