BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Despite receiving a less-than-glowing annual review, Daytona Beach city commissioners and mayor have decided to hold on to City Manager Jim Chisholm.
His 3.16 C-average on a scale of 1-5 was enough to keep his position after facing critical evaluations several years ago when some commissioners graded Chisholm at the level of a 2 or a D. The scale ranks any score below a 3 as “does not meet expectations,’’ 3 “meets expectations’’ and 5 as “overwhelmingly exceeding expectations.’’
The average across the board was above the “meets expectations’’ baseline. He was graded in 11 categories.
The city commission hired Chisholm as city manager in August 2004. As city manager, he is responsible for implementing the policy of the commission, preparing the city’s annual budget and ensuring the city operates in a fiscally responsible manner.
As Daytona’s chief executive officer, he also is responsible for the day-to-day management of all operations of city government.
Chisholm, who did not offer any reactions at the May 21 meeting, marked high in responsiveness and communication and low in court activities and public meetings. Most of the commissioners and Mayor Derrick Henry asked if the city manager would assert himself more.
“If there is a legal issue that comes up that you think we need to be informed about, rather than we ask you, we would more often than not have you interject and tell us what your opinion is,” Commissioner Rob Gilliland reported at the meeting.
Chisholm was lauded for his communication skills and ability to break down complex legal issues in a manner that a novice would understand. Additionally, the commission noted decision-making and budgeting among top scores.
Chisholm was asked to improve in multiple areas, including planning and organization, dealing better with city personnel and to respond more timely to the commission and share information with the commission during early stages of negotiation for more inclusiveness.
He also was asked to litigate more versus making settlements when the city is faced with court proceedings.
“Overall, our city manager met expectations,” Commissioner Paula Reed said.
Reed was selected to organize and analyze the commissioners’ individual written evaluations and gave a bulk of the report at the meeting.
The power of the Daytona Beach city manager has been the topic of much discussion in recent years and is at the forefront of considerations by the Daytona Beach Charter Review Commission (CRC).
“The current structure gives, in my opinion, all the power to a person who’s not an elected official,” Dr. Willie Kimmons, vice chair of the CRC said to the board on Feb. 4 during a meeting at City Hall.
“The people that elect people, I think that is where the power should be.”
“If you look at the current day-to-day structure that we have in place, the city manager runs the day-to-day operation of the city, who is not an elected official, who is supposed to report through the city commission and the mayor and that can be a tremendous, tremendous morale problem when you look at the lines of demarcation and span of control, it makes it very difficult,’’ Kimmons added.