Council Approves $71K for Salaries in New Administration
Mayor-elect Christenson said new staff members and organization in the corner office will help fulfill campaign promises.
City council approved a $70,230 transfer from the revenue reserve in a 9-1 vote, aimed at funding new positions proposed for mayor-elect Gary Christenson's office last night, including a communications director and business liaison.
Christenson told the finance committee that he wanted a fresh start in the corner office, and to actively pursue ideas he touted on the campaign trail, such as increased transparency and customer service at City Hall.
A survey circulated by his transition team seeks to gauge resident interest in a variety of such initiatives. One example he listed including using a smartphone application that would allow residents to report potholes and other problems directly to the city's Department of Public Works.
Other plans include creating a city-wide volunteer call on the city's website, which would combine the volunteer lists of numerous organizations and city council members. Christenson said he hoped that list would allow the city to call on volunteers for service quickly.
Councilor-at-Large Craig Spadafora said the town's eager volunteers – especially among it's senior population – was an “untapped resource,” with many wanting to volunteer but not knowing where to begin.
“This would really be an effort to create a city-wide volunteer network,” Christenson said.
Only councilor Barbara Murphy voted against the plan, both in the finance committee and in the council-wide vote.
She said she thought the IT department would be a better fit for some of the social media proposals under Christenson's consideration.
Christenson replied he “respectfully disagreed,” and said the IT department should stick to managing the engineering aspect of the city's network – maintaining servers, troubleshooting, etc.
“I don't want this (initiative) to get lost,” he said.
Outgoing councilor and Christenson's former mayoral opponent, Deborah Fallon, was not present for the meeting.