Sumner’s choice for a new city administrator is already a familiar face in City Hall – former police chief John Galle, who has acted as interim administrator since Diane Supler’s departure this last spring. Supler left her position abruptly; documents obtained in a Courier-Herald investigation show signs of a conflict with Mayor Dave Enslow.
In a special meeting on Monday, July 9, the Sumner City Council voted 5-2 to offer Galle a contract to be the permanent city administrator.
During the special meeting, councilmembers and resident Jon Swanson (the only resident present at the public meeting), lauded Galle’s commitment to Sumner and believe he has done a good job as interim administrator. The employment agreement passed 5-2, with Randy Hynek and Nancy Dumas voting no.
Dumas said that a lack of related experience to the city administrator position and no official review of his job performance thus far are the main reasons for her “no” vote.
“During the past few city administrator’s times of employment, the city didn’t face such critical financial external and economic constraints. I would not have put such great emphasis on fiscal experience requirement of an administrator at that time,” said Dumas. “However, the city is currently working on its biennial budget for 2013-14 and [Galle’s] apparent lack of fiscal experience with such a large budget has me concerned. “
Galle has retired from the Sumner Police Department, but he has not yet signed the administrator contract. Deputy Chief Brad Moriecke is now acting police chief.
Galle holds a Masters of Arts in History, and a B.A. in history for secondary education. He worked at Tacoma Baptist School as a teacher and administrator from 1988 to 1996. He was hired as a Sumner patrol officer in 1997 and rose through the ranks until he was named Chief in 2007.
Dumas believes the matter should have been voted on during the council’s regularly scheduled meeting date, so more members of the community could be made aware of the decision. Hynek seconded her idea to move it to tonight’s meeting, but the motion was denied by the council.
“The vote on John Galle’s approval should have happened at Monday’s regular council meeting so it would be open and transparent to our citizens,” said Dumas. “Instead, it happened before Monday’s study session at a city council special meeting after an executive session. Neither disclosed John Galle’s position as the topic.”
As city administrator, Galle would assist Enslow and the city council in the planning, organization and administration of all government functions, and supervise the city’s administrative and financial departments. He would ensure that city work will conform to city ordinances and state law. Responsibilities also include attending various civic and business meetings on behalf of the city, building the city council agendas and directing the annual budget preparation, among other responsibilities. He would report directly to Mayor Enslow.
If Galle accepts the city administrator position, he is set to make $10,726 per month ($128,712 annually) for 2012, but starting Jan. 1 2013, he will receive a step increase, which will place him at the top of his pay scale, according to the approved contract. He will be a salaried city employee with full benefits and not eligible for overtime.
If the city decides to terminate Galle, the city has agreed to pay him a lump sum cash payment equal to 6 months of pay ($64,356), according to the contract. Or, the city can give him 6 months notice that he will be terminated. The only instance where the city would not pay Galle 6 months of pay would be if Galle were fired for reasons of personal gain or a felony act.
If Galle decides to resign, he will give the city a minimum of four weeks notice.
Galle will be able to accrue and utilize vacation leave, and was given 80 hours with the approval of his contract.
Galle will be evaluated at least once a year by Mayor Enslow, in accordance with performance criteria determined by Enslow and Galle. The criteria may be “added or deleted from time to time… in consultation with Mr. Galle,” according to the document.