Austin City Council fires City Administrator Jim Hurm

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jim Hurm is no longer Austin’s city administrator.



City administrator’s performance was ‘deemed unacceptable’

The Austin City Council voted unanimously to fire Hurm, effective immediately at the end of Monday’s regular meeting. Hurm was not immediately available for comment, as he had apparently left the building before the meeting ended. He did not return phone calls.

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Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm didn’t go into detail about the Council’s decision — Council members discussed the matter in a closed session before Monday night’s meeting — but an evaluation completed in September clearly indicated city department heads weren’t happy with Hurm’s job performance.

“Mr. Hurm’s performance was deemed unacceptable with respect to staff supervision and department heads,” the report states.

It further adds, “A majority of department heads felt that Mr. Hurm did not properly manage the goals and expectations of city departments, would not accept and share responsibility for decisions made, and, further, stated that he did not effectively communicate pertinent information to their departments.”

An Associated Press story recently reviewed salaries of the top three highest-paid officials in 126 cities and surrounding counties in Minnesota. Hurm topped Austin’s salary at $109,179 per year.

In the evaluation, Hurm indicated he was surprised by how critical department heads were and said he would have liked to communicate with them to rectify the issues.
Hurm had been Austin’s city administrator since 2003.

City of Austin Human Resources Director Trish Wiechmann said operations will continue as normal in Hurm’s absence.

“Things will run as they do on a daily basis,” she said. “We have great department heads, and they will manage their departments and stay in close contact with the mayor and city council’s process as usual.”

Now the city will begin the hunt for a new administrator. Wiechmann said those discussions have not yet begun and aren’t set on a council agenda anytime soon. The entire process could take four to five months.