Raleigh City Council members will soon be getting extra help and a reconfigured office suite.
City Manager Ruffin Hall is adding a position to the council’s support staff. Instead of sharing two administrative assistants, the council will have two policy analysts and one administrative assistant to help them with scheduling appointments and researching issues. Mayor Nancy McFarlane will continue to have a separate assistant.
The change won’t add to the city’s overall salary expenses because Hall won’t fill a vacant position in the finance department. The annual cost of running the council office will rise $27,105 to $240,385.
Council members have been asking for more behind-the-scenes help since 2012, when the idea of hiring more assistants was floated at a planning retreat. During that discussion, some suggested having a personal assistant for each council member. But then-City Manager Russell Allen discouraged the proposal, pointing out that the city hadn’t added any administrative positions during the recession.
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The council is also getting a new office arrangement at a cost of $28,500. Workers are renovating the old public affairs office suite to house the council’s assistants and chief of staff Lou Buonpane. Visitors will enter in those offices instead of directly accessing the council offices on the second floor of city hall.
Buonpane said the new configuration will provide a bigger reception area and better security.