New City Manager Proposes Office Reorganization

Incoming City Manager Fidel Maltez is looking to reorganize the office when he begins his new position in January.

Monday night, current City Manager Ned Keefe requested that the City Council authorize new positions in the office that will expand it from three to five employees, as well as to fund a supplemental salary request of $140,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Because there is a financial appropriation, the council moved the request to a second reading. The council is expected to vote on it at its next meeting on Monday, Dec. 18, following a subcommittee meeting on the requests scheduled for next Tuesday.

“The new staff proposal will create a Deputy City Manager – Operations, Deputy City Manager – Finance, and a Director of Constituent Services,” stated Keefe.

In a letter to the council, Maltez said his recommendations for the positions stem from a thoughtful evaluation of the city’s operational needs.

The two deputy city managers will report directly to Maltez and operate as an integrated team, he stated.

“Together, they will ensure the City’s operations are advancing a proactive governance model, while enduring fiscal responsibility,” Maltez stated.

The reorganization reflects a commitment to govern with care and attention to the unique needs of the community, Maltez added.

The Director of Constituent Services is a new position that Maltez said will play a crucial role in elevating the quality of life for Chelsea residents.

“The Director of Constituent Services will focus on addressing the day-to-day needs of our residents and ensure a more responsive municipal government,” Maltez stated. “The individual will work to bridge gaps between our government and our community, fostering a more inclusive and engaged environment.”

Some of the responsibilities of the constituent services director will include listening to resident concerns, providing information and assistance, coordinating with the city council, and advocating for residents, according to Maltez.

During the public speaking portion of Monday’s council meeting, Karl Allen of the Housing and Community Development Department, speaking for Steelworkers Local 9427 said the union was concerned with the city administration classifying select positions as exempt rather than as union positions.

“We currently have an active grievance against the administration over the classification of the Director of Constituent Services as exempt,” said Allen. “I, on behalf of the union, urge you to table that until the administration sits down with us and discusses this, which to date, they have not done.”

Councillor-at-Large Brian Hatleberg spoke in favor of the City Manager office reorganization and funding.

“I think this is one where we will have some debate back and forth over,” he said. “I want to simply offer my opinion that having hired the city manager, I do believe we should essentially let him structure his office. I’m not saying he deserves a blank check, but I do believe he deserves our support for his ideas.”

Councilor-at-Large Damali Vidot said she will be supporting the request from Maltez at the next meeting.

“It sends a bad message that we are already fighting or there are grievances against the creation of something when someone hasn’t even started yet,” said Vidot.

Council President Leo Robinson said the council should hold a subcommittee on conference meeting before the next full council meeting since there were comments about a grievance already being filed in relation to the constituent services position.

“As a body, we should have a conference and be able to address that,” said Robinson.

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