Acting at the request of Law Director Michael Gareau, City Council may hand Mayor Kevin Kennedy the right to name an interim safety director.
Under the proposal put together at a council committee meeting, legislators would not need to approve Kennedy’s choice for the post.
The city charter requires council to approve the mayor’s nominee for safety service director under normal conditions. The city safety director also functions as service director. Any interim person named will only serve as safety director.
The idea of an interim director was voted unanimously out of council’s safety committee for consideration by the full council at their next meeting Sept. 7.
During the committee meeting, Gareau said the city administration must deal with a number of issues that only a safety director can handle.
Those issues are about employee disciplinary matters that the union contracts require the city safety director to handle, Kennedy said.
“The whole thing about the discipline is more a formality than anything else, but it’s because of the contracts,” Kennedy said.
Gareau told legislators they need to act quickly.
“I am running out of time,” he said.
The city has been without a safety service director since September 2020. Kennedy and City Council repeatedly have clashed over naming someone to the position. Legislators blame Kennedy for not bringing forth candidates; Kennedy blames council for not acting on his nominations.
In comments made after the recent committee meeting, Kennedy said he was “tired of beating his head against the wall” regarding the naming of a safety service director. He declined to speculate as to who he might name if council approves Gareau’s suggestion.
“I’m not wasting my time until they make up their minds,” Kennedy said.
During the committee meeting, he ignored council questions as to why he had not brought forth a nominee for a permanent safety service director.
Council balked at the July meeting to name former councilman and former safety service director Duane Limpert to his previous administrative position.
Kennedy’s term ends in December. He is facing a re-election battle with City Council President Nicole Dailey Jones. Following the election, the victor would nominate a permanent safety service director.
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