Council to discuss city administrator, paperless agendas

Published 2:02 pm Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Austin City Council will discuss the next step in its city administrator search as well as switching to paperless council agendas at its upcoming work session Monday.

The city has been without a city administrator since the council fired former city head Jim Hurm in December. The council decided last month to temporarily pause its search to fill the vacant city administrator position earlier this year after city staff said they could operate as-is on a short-term basis. The city is waiting about 90 days before taking action on the city administrator position so city staff and council members can gather input from city employees and residents.

Yet a majority of department heads agree that a city administrator is necessary, according to a report by Human Resources Director Tricia Wiechmann. Wiechmann wrote the city needs to have a “strong administrator who can handle day-to-day decisions, make recommendations and provide direction.”

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Mayor Tom Stiehm said the latest report, along with the other input, will likely cause the council to move forward on a city administrator ahead of its 90-day waiting period.

Council members will also discuss making the switch to paperless council agendas at future meetings. That would mean purchasing at least eight iPads or other tablets for the council, with potentially another seven more for city department directors.

City staff say it would cost about $4,400 to buy the iPads for council members and about $3,850 to cover tablets for department heads.

The measure isn’t intended to save money, per se, but city staff would save at least 2.5 hours copying at least 22 paper copies of meeting and work session agendas for city staff, the council, media members and the public each week.

Agendas would still be posted online and would be available to the public.