I Would Like To Speak With The Manager

The City of Valparaiso wants a city manager. 

The City Commission voted 3-1 in favor of moving forward with the new position – which would be in charge of all hired employees at the city and would answer directly to the City Commission. 

Commissioner Kay Hamilton was absent from the meeting, and Commissioner Tom Browning voted against the measure. Commissioners Chris Wasdin, Ed Crosby, and Mayor Brent Smith voted in favor of the new position. 

“I don’t think we need it,” Commissioner Browning said immediately before the vote.

The New position could cost $100,000 in base pay – plus benefits, based on similar-sized cities in the area. That is about what the town of Mary Esther, which is of similar size to the City of Valparaiso, pays its current City Manager. 

The position can be hired and fired by a vote of three commissioners. 

What's Different Because of This Change in Valparaiso City Government?

Though the City Manager-Council form of Government is different from the current form of Government, the City Commission form of Government (also known as The Galveston Model), the Commission did not officially change its form of government. That would have required a referendum and most city residents’ approval to pass.

While officially, the city will stay a commission form of Government, where each commissioner is responsible for one area of the city’s responsibility (Fire, police, parks, and recreation, etc.,) the City Manager will take over the de facto day-to-day operations and coordination.

Sunshine Law prohibits commissioners from speaking to one another about official business outside of a public meeting, but a city employee can do just that. In theory, this method of governance allows the city to operate more efficiently without breaking the law.

What Will The City Manager Do?

The document the Commission voted on says that the city manager would be responsible for the following tasks and duties at the city:

  • Attend City Commission Meetings
  • Report to each commissioner as necessary, but at least once per month
  • Information on the city’s financial condition and develop an annual balanced budget to include all city departments. 
  • Present economic and activity reports
  • Arrange a financial audit of the city by a CPA or Accounting Firm.
  • Assist in the creation of the comprehensive annual financial report
  • Prepare and maintain job descriptions for all employees of the city of Valparaiso and recommend salaries. 
  • Determine work schedules for personnel,
  • Supervise the receipt, recording, and response to complaints about city services and develop solutions. 
  • Develop and prepare a comprehensive file on the complete description of all city properties and improvements on properties. 
  • Maintain all city property.
  • Confer with the city attorney on legal matters. 
  • Hire all budgeted employees- except those that report to the Commission Directly. 
  • Terminate any employee that they have the purview to hire. 
  • Ensure all laws, ordinances, and resolutions are faithfully executed. 
  • Sign and execute contracts on behalf of the city.
two men sitting at a dais
Valparaiso City Attorney Hayward Dykes (Left) speaks while Mayor Brent Smith looks on during a conversation at Valparaiso City Commission's March Meeting.

Requirements to be City Manager of Valparaiso

Want to be the City Manager of Valparaiso? You can apply for the job when it is posted here:

According to the Agenda Packet, the City of Valparaiso posted on its website that they want the following qualifications from a candidate to be considered for the position. 

  • Degrees or certifications earned from an accredited higher-learning institution
  • Managerial experience with a preference for management in local government administration
  • A minimum of three years of experience as a local government administrator or city manager with supervision of various local government departments
  • Knowledge in some or all of the following: employee relations, utilities, city maintenance, land use, planning, finance, public safety, parks and recreation
  • Working knowledge of state, regional, and federal programs that work with or award grants to municipalities

Cost of a City Manager

City Commissioners did not outline what exactly A City Manager would earn as a salary, but nearby towns may give us a good idea what the city could expect to pay. 

The City of Mary Esther, which has a slightly smaller population than Valparaiso, pays their Manager about $110,000 yearly. Crestview; a much larger town with a population of about 27,000 pays City Manager Tim Bolduc $135,690. 

The city of Valparaiso budgeted for revenues of about $5.6 Million for their latest budget year.  

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