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It shouldn't take years for city to act
Midway perspective
Terry Doyle
Terry Doyle is an independent conservative who lives in Midway and is dedicated to efficient, open, and ethical government. - photo by File photo

“What I am saying is, we spend too much time, we waste time, the city’s time that the people have us up here to do. We waste that time. We looked at it the first of October and November and December, we’re still going over the same stuff. Why don’t we go on and do what we’re supposed to do? Get it approved and move on to the next issue that this council is supposed to be doing”.
This quote is an excerpt from a recording of the Midway City Council’s monthly work session Dec. 29, 2014. Councilman Curtes Roberts was addressing the city council’s apparent lack of competency in reviewing and approving the city of Midway’s personnel policy and other documents. After his impassioned reproach, I reviewed and compared the policy with the Georgia Municipal Association’s personnel-policy template. I also reviewed the policy’s history.
The Midway personnel policy presumably was plagiarized from the city of Riceboro on Aug. 9, 1993. I say presumably because the official Midway document still says “city of Riceboro” instead of “city of Midway” throughout its pages. Where it does say Midway, it is obvious that someone whited out Riceboro and typed Midway over it. The only change since 1993 appears to be the addition of President’s Day as a city holiday on Dec. 21, 2011. The personnel policy is totally antiquated and in conflict with the city charter and other human-resource and personnel directives, references and possibly laws.
The personnel policy identifies the mayor as the appointing authority for the city of Midway. The city charter grants no such authority to the mayor. The city council is the sole appointing authority. In another section, it conveys to the department heads the authority to administer “outside” employment of city employees. Any employee wanting to hold a second job must obtain the permission of their department head. This is archaic and, perhaps, a violation of approved standard employment practices.
The city spent thousands of dollars to have the Carl Vinson Institute of Government align pay scales and develop job descriptions for each employee’s position in order to facilitate the implementation of a performance-appraisal system. In section four, the policy addresses performance appraisals. “The appointing authority will implement a performance-appraisal system for the city. Merit increases in salaries will be based on performance-appraisal scores.”
The city of Midway has no employee-performance appraisal/evaluation system. This means that poor performers get the same pay increases as exceptional performers through the current blanket-raise policy. There is absolutely no incentive to excel.
It concerns me that Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington’s proposed changes for adoption, which were scheduled to be passed at the Dec. 29 work session, addressed only two areas — changing Riceboro to Midway in the policy and the computation of annual leave. Additionally, these changes were not given to the council members until just prior to the meeting, with no time for review. This is a pathetic personnel policy and needs to be completely rewritten. Just correcting the city’s name and reviewing leave schedules is not sufficient.
Councilman Roberts, I could not agree more with your observations and concerns. However, I believe you and the council members should be more concerned that it took five years for the council to address this outdated document. At the Jan. 28, 2010, meeting, the need to revise this document and all city documents — including the city charter — was addressed and included in the 2010 city goals. The city charter only took you four years.
 Are the wrong elected officials traveling to China? Perhaps Midway’s elected officials could go and offer pointers to the Chinese on how to conduct their fire drills?

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