As two annual job-performance reviews were discussed at the City Commission this week, Commissioner Suzanne Atwell reiterated her displeasure with the system.
“It’s flawed and … clumsy,” she said.
The commission was going over its evaluations of City Manager Bob Bartolotta and City Attorney Robert Fournier. The reviews use a numeric system that gives three grading options, which are assigned scores:
•Exceeds expectations: Three points
•Meets expectations: Two points
•Below expectations: One point
Atwell said the system relies too much on the scoring system instead of interviews of employees. She also doesn’t like the fact that the process is played out on live television, which is something she calls “unprofessional and embarrassing to the city,” because Bartolotta, in particular, is unable to respond.
Last month, she proposed hiring a consultant to conduct the reviews, but her four fellow commissioners said they were satisfied with the current system.
This week, Atwell said she hopes to persuade them to change their minds before next year’s evaluations.
As far as this year’s review, commissioners’ opinions on the city manager’s performance are dramatically different.
For instance, Commissioner Fredd Atkins felt Bartolotta didn’t exceed expectations in any of the 19 skills and tasks that are graded. Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner only gave one “exceeds expectations” grade.
But Mayor Dick Clapp, on the other hand, believed the city manager exceeded expectations in 14 of the 19 categories.
Kirschner gave 10 “below expectations” scores, while Clapp gave none.
MAKING THE GRADE
The five city commissioners graded City Manager Bob Bartolotta on 19 different tasks and skills, ranging from promoting economic development to demonstrating leadership. See details below on how many areas exceeded, met or were below the commissioners’ expectations.
Highlights: Atkins, who represents Newtown, believes Bartolotta has met expectations on Newtown redevelopment. He marked “below expectations” on economic development and using a team approach to management.
Highlights: Atwell’s three highest scores came in the area of budget management. She praised Bartolotta’s fiscal responsibility. The five lowest scores all pertained to leadership, communication and customer service.
Highlights: Clapp’s evaluation was the highest of the five. In contrast to the other four commissioners, he said Bartolotta exceeded expectations in the areas of leadership, communication and customer service.
Highlights: Kirschner provided the harshest evaluation, giving only one “exceeds expectations” score, which was for managing the city’s property. He gave Bartolotta as many “below expectations” as the other four combined.
Highlights: Turner’s top marks were for fiscal responsibility, Newtown redevelopment and knowledge of the city’s inner workings. Failing grades were given for leadership, communication and team approach to management.