CAMP VERDE – In a right-to-work state, there’s almost no such thing as certain employment.
Even in Camp Verde’s Town government, there’s no promise of a job tomorrow. Town Manager Russ Martin, in previous jobs as Town Manager, worked under a contract. But in Camp Verde, Martin has no such agreement. Just the basic hand-shake most everyone else works under.
Though it’s not as if Camp Verde has never had a contractual agreement with its town manager. In fact, from 1988 until 1996, its three town managers worked under contract.
Wednesday, Camp Verde’s Town Council will discuss future evaluations and possible contract processes with Martin, which includes reviewing examples of other Arizona city and town managers’ contracts received by the International City/County Managers Association.
Whether or not council will one day enter into a contractual agreement with Martin – or his one day successor – is not necessarily part of Wednesday’s meeting. But Camp Verde Town Council member Brad Gordon says he thinks having a contractual agreement with the community’s leader “is typical.”
“Not being in a contract seems to lend itself to uncertainty,” Gordon said. “[Martin] doesn’t seem to mind [not being under contract]. But just like anyone else, people might feel more secure with a contract. So I think we should look at it. We’re going to see what the pros and cons are.”
In the summer of 2016 at his annual evaluation, council and Martin first discussed the possibility of working under contract.
“I told council I’d put together information so we could discuss whether or not it’s a good idea,” Martin said. “I would still be an employee. It’s the standard, the norm in this profession. That standard is one I’d like this community to look into. No different than how teachers and superintendents are employed.”
Any differences, Martin said, are generally regarding items that would apply to a manager, like a car, phone, travel, education and training, severance, moving allowance. Sometimes, communities pay for moving fees [for a new town manager].”
Said Martin, operating under a contract is not about looking to leave a community.
“I did not bring up the conversation. I’m comfortable in the position and what I am doing,” Martin said. “Not that I plan to go anywhere, but it would sent a good precedence for a future manager. And it does invite, attract quality candidates.”
According to Camp Verde Town Clerk Virginia Jones, at the time that Dave Maynard was the town’s manager – June 1988 until April 1991 – the Town’s department heads “were under contract.”
The Feb. 8 council regular session will be held at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers, located at 473 S. Main St., suite 106.
A copy of the agenda is available at www.campverde.az.gov/town-council-agenda-2017.
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42 and on Facebook at @CampVerdeBugle