The town plans to hire another assistant manager this year, someone who will take on take on the duties the current assistant manager and town manager have had to pick up since Rodney Dickerson was appointed town manager.
The town has budgeted up to $87,195 in the recommended 2016-17 budget for the position for nine months of work.
That equates to $110,373 for a full year’s salary.
“The salary could be higher or lower depending on whether we hire internally or externally and the qualifications of the person,” Dickerson said.
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As assistant town manager, Dickerson was responsible for the the parks, recreation and cultural resources, public works and information technology departments. He was also responsible for safety, risk management and town committees, among others.
But when he was appointed town manager in March, his position was not immediately filled. So he and Assistant Town Manager John Hodges had to split up more duties between the two.
Dickerson said he doesn’t know exactly what the new assistant manager’s duties will be when hired. He said he will need to assess where the organization is and look at the town’s departments and structure.
He said he’ll need to evaluate his and Hodges’ strengths and weaknesses and go from there.
“We might mix it up a little bit,” Dickerson said. “Nothing is set in stone.”
Whether department heads report to Hodges, Dickerson or the new assistant town manager, ultimately the manager will be responsible for overseeing the whole town.
Dickerson said adding another assistant town manager helps ease the burden on the day-to-day activities Hodges and he are currently having to deal with.
“There are so many things to do day-to-day, you can really get behind,” he said. “I think one of the core things the manager needs to do is interact with the council. So if you get too tied up with the day-to-day you can lose that.”
The Town Council created a second assistant town manager position in 2014 after the previous town manager, Hardin Watkins, told the council that the position had stretched him and other town leaders too thin. He said staff didn’t have time to think about big-picture issues facing Garner.
The new position would split the duties among the three managers.
Hodges was appointed to take on the vacant position in Nov. 2014.
Hodges oversaw the planning, engineering, economic development and inspections departments, including construction project management. He also works as liason to the Garner Revitalization Association, the Garner Economic Development Corporation and the Garner Chamber of Commerce.
“I see great benefit,” Mayor Ronnie Williams said of filling the vacant spot. “It helped relieve the (former manager) and took some of the work load off of him. To me it’s proven to be beneficial.”
Williams said he foresees the Town Council approving the line item in the budget.
“I think so,” he said. “I think we are all together on this one, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Dickerson said he wants to get through the budget before he starts looking into hiring a new assistant town manager.
“I would say within the next three months,” he said.