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2013 City Manager Evaluation - City Commission

1. Demonstrates the ability to develop and implement creative or innovative solutions to the critical issues facing the community.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 22.2% 33.3% 22.2% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 2 3 2 1 0 9 0

2. When making decisions, systematically evaluates alternatives in terms of potential impacts or consequences.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 0.0% 66.7% 11.1% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 0 6 1 1 0 9 0

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3. When decisions are being made, demonstrates the ability to collaborate and seek group solutions - to work out "win-win" solutions.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 22.2% 0.0% 66.7% 0.0% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 2 0 6 0 1 0 9 0

4. Is insightful regarding the dynamics of organizational change and its impact on constituents, employees, and services.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 33.3% 22.2% 22.2% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 3 2 2 1 0 9 0

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Page 2, Q5. Comments regarding questions 1 - 4. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

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I find Ken to be open to feedback and suggestions when making decisions. Although there is a desire to change "business as usual," I don't necessarily see the results. I'm not sure if the lack of change is a function of the culture of city staff, an unwillingness to make change, or lack of leadership. 1) Although Ken can shine in this category from time to time, it lacks any consistency. I have seen areas where a comprehensive evaluation was completed and the end result coincides with the final decision-making process. But I feel, as an administration, there is too much credit given to them for the efforts of members of our community. Also, there are other times when there is not enough data to support the final decision making process. And lastly, these decisions are not made in an appropriate time frame. 3) I do not feel this is the case at all. There seems to be an aura about Ken that when things are clicking on all cylinders we see things as running smooth. However, if there is any type of friction, there is a breakdown in communication, a lack of respect and a will and determination to not allow the other possible solutions to enter into the concluding outcome. Members and ideas are ostracized and disappointment and discouragement permeates on all levels. 4) Ken is almost a "3" on this one. On some levels he does meet expectations. But too often, it is deemed that Ken is making the change (or keeping something the same) not for the betterment of our community, but for his own personal (or administrative) gain. The logic to some decisions are not laid out clearly and questions and confusion ensues. Does not care about solutions as he believes there are no problems in the first place. His prove it attitude is insulting and his enthusiasm is on the wrong side of whats right for Battle Creek.

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5. Comments regarding questions 1 - 4. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
Response Count 4 answered question skipped question 4 5

6. Maintains effective working relationships with local and regional governments.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 0.0% 22.2% 33.3% 33.3% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 2 3 3 1 0 9 0

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7. Maintains effective working relationships with state governments.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 0.0% 11.1% 33.3% 33.3% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 1 3 3 1 1 9 0

8. Maintains effective working relationships with the federal government.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 0.0% 11.1% 33.3% 33.3% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 1 3 3 1 1 9 0

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9. Comments regarding questions 6 - 8. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
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10. Maintains an image of the City to the community that represents service, integrity, sensitivity to public needs, and professionalism through his own conduct.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 44.4% 33.3% 11.1% 0.0% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 4 3 1 0 0 9 0

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Page 3, Q9. Comments regarding questions 6 - 8. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

Keeping the lines of communication open with local, regional, state and federal governments is helpful to our cities ongoing success. I believe Ken does a great job in this area. Ken seems to do quite well in the development of of intergovernmental relationships It is clear to me that Ken has the respect of leadership from surrounding municipalities, and he also seems to work well with the state and feds. 6) Hearing first-hand accounts from other supervisors of surrounding townships, it is not said how Ken is a team player and willing to come to the table as an open-minded City Manager with flexibility. Instead, there is a stiff-armed approach to handling our neighbors and that they are talked at, not to. And lastly, we are not as supportive, accommodating, transparent, nor as correlating as we need to be with our immediate neighbors. 7&8) I have not seen nor heard of any of this activity being positive or negative, so I choose to refrain from providing an evaluation on these two. I can only hope it is better than how we treat our regional governments. Pertaining to question #6, did not tell the truth at all regarding the entire Springfield Public Safety history of discussions.

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11. Demonstrates the ability to work successfully in an ethnically, culturally, and racially diverse community in a way that demonstrates sensitivity.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 0.0% 66.7% 11.1% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 0 6 1 1 0 9 0

12. Enjoys the respect of members of the community, as well as other members of the Public Administration profession.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 0.0% 22.2% 44.4% 11.1% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 2 4 1 1 1 9 0

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13. Comments regarding questions 10 - 12. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
Response Count 6 answered question skipped question 6 3

14. Works cooperatively with all groups to find solutions to shared problems, issues, and/or opportunities.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 22.2% 0.0% 55.6% 11.1% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 2 0 5 1 1 0 9 0

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Page 4, Q13. Comments regarding questions 10 - 12. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

Ken meets the expectations in this area but I would like to see more efforts to be more visible. I know it's a hard balancing act with so much going on and a family at the same time, believe me I know, but people want to "see" you and engage in person. #10--I wish that Ken was able to be more forthcoming with information. This can result in the appearance that the city has something it is hiding. While not everything can be shared, sometimes waiting until all information is available and the time is "right" can be as detrimental as releasing information too early. There were challenges this past year with public relationship and perception, particularly involving the police issues. Needs to step up communications in this area. Number 10 - How the image of the city is conveyed publicly has been a source of ongoing discussion between Ken and I during my term. While improvement still needs to be made, I believe that Ken has a firm grasp of what those improvements should be and that he is taking continual positive step to address them. 10) I will just state that kicking two people out of his office in the last year is not appropriate, nor professional. 12) There is not an equal distribution of respect to other members of the community or administration. It depends on where you stand on the decisions Ken has made and how he would like them to go. If you are on board with him, all is well. If not, excommunicated. Reference #10, he is never out in the public as one would think he should be as City Manager.

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15. Facilitates candid, effective, and productive meetings.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 11.1% 33.3% 0.0% 22.2% 22.2% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 1 3 0 2 2 9 0

16. Responds to internal and external requests in a timely manner.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 44.4% 33.3% 33.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 4 3 3 0 0 0 9 0

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17. Comments regarding questions 14 - 16. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
Response Count 5 answered question skipped question 5 4

18. Suggests creative solutions to the City's financial needs.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 0.0% 55.6% 22.2% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 0 5 2 1 0 9 0

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19. Keeps expenditures within budgetary constraints.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 0.0% 55.6% 11.1% 22.2% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 0 5 1 2 0 9 0

20. Monitors citywide financial performance regularly and takes corrective action as needed.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 11.1% 44.4% 22.2% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 1 4 2 1 0 9 0

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21. Alerts City Commission to changes or trends that may affect the City's future financial condition.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 11.1% 44.4% 33.3% 0.0% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 1 4 3 0 0 9 0

22. Comments regarding questions 18 - 21. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
Response Count 4 answered question skipped question 4 5

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Page 4, Q17. Comments regarding questions 14 - 16. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

I am always so impressed with Ken and staff at the workshops, he does an excellent job and you can tell a lot of work goes into it. Still could improve in timely responses and communications internally and externally. I'd prefer we get an op-ed or contact news media ahead of potential problems than have to do those things after the train has left the station. Rather we frame the story correctly than have the media or others frame it for us, it's harder to correct at that point. 16--I have seen an improvement of late but would still like to see work to improve in this area. Number 16 - once in a while minor requests fall through the cracks, but once reminded, Ken usually addresses them asap. Additionally, those infrequent lapses are made up for by times when he goes above and beyond by responding during off times or even proactively. Overall I am satisfied with response time. 14) Everyone is not brought to the table when shared problems arise. There comes an avoidance in answering the questions, smoke screens of grandstanding on issues that are not the concern, taking credit for things the community does (for which the administration had no input) and denial of the true issues at hand. 15) Read 14 above. Although there is information provided at meetings, it is not what the topic of conversation should be. Ken needs strong direction here for improvement. 16) If you get a response at all. Regarding 14, 15 and 16 he procrastinates consistently. Continues to hide behind the statement of how short handed the city is and there is just so much to do and so little time. Requests just disappear into a place where they are not answered or dealt with in an untimely manner or not at all. If you want an answer you have to keep following up and that does not work all of the time.

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Page 5, Q22. Comments regarding questions 18 - 21. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

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The City of Battle Creek has very sound financial footing. Given the rough economic times recently, has done a good job keeping the city budget balanced and spending down. Has tried to find partnerships with neighboring communities. Great job on all these. Protects certain departments from having to show any sort of line item expenditure which may show that indeed they are not using their monies wisely even though they come in showing balanced accounts. The raise to non reps was a true mistake and bad timing.

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23. Fosters continued professional development, personal growth and learning among City government staff.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 22.2% 33.3% 0.0% 11.1% 22.2% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 2 3 0 1 2 9 0

24. Provides a participatory management environment for City employees


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 33.3% 22.2% 11.1% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 3 2 1 1 1 9 0

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25. Demonstrates the ability to collaborate and seek group solutions.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 22.2% 22.2% 22.2% 11.1% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 2 2 2 1 1 1 9 0

26. The Manager's efforts lead to the successful and timely accomplishment of goals.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 44.4% 22.2% 11.1% 0.0% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 4 2 1 0 1 9 0

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27. Comments regarding questions 23 - 26. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
Response Count 6 answered question skipped question 6 3

28. Ensures City staff also treats everyone with respect and dignity.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 0.0% 22.2% 44.4% 0.0% 22.2% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 0 2 4 0 2 9 0

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Page 6, Q27. Comments regarding questions 23 - 26. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

I'm not really familiar with what happens in the organization regarding question 23 but would like to know more. For instance, have any staff this past year received certifications, advanced industry credentials, etc. and how has that helped our organization. Dissention is not encouraged and is often penalized. Disagreement can be healthy and can make programs/policies better. Need to support professional development and training for all city management. Not enough done to encourage (really push for) staff to attend professional training and management training opportunities. As a commissioner, I don't really have a window into this stuff. I wish I did, somehow. 24) Yes for the administrative staff. No for the employees. Coming from mulitiple departments, there is little to no transparency, work environments that are not conducive to a healthy workplace and favoritism within the hierarchy of the chain of command to a fault. 25) By reading my other comments, this one should be self-explanatory. 26) Although some items are unavoidable in being rushed, there are items that are not timely just because there is no timeline to them. So it is felt by Ken that when it gets done, it gets done. Oftentimes, the Commission is rushed or coerced to push items through due to the time sensitivity of the issue. And this happens on items when the situation really did not need to be that way. Reference 25 and 26 he does not believe there are issues of any sort that need to be addressed, thus no need for solutions or just hopes they go away with no " shelf life ". Procrastination is again evident and rises to the top with questions like 26.

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29. Values diversity of opinion, ideas, and views.


Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 22.2% 33.3% 11.1% 11.1% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 2 3 1 1 1 1 9 0

30. Plans, organizes, and supervises implementation of ongoing City programs and services.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 11.1% 44.4% 11.1% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 1 4 1 1 1 9 0

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31. Comments regarding questions 28 - 30. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
Response Count 5 answered question skipped question 5 4

32. Keeps the City Commission advised of new legislation and developments in public policy as well as actions in other jurisdictions that may have an impact on the City's activities
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 0.0% 11.1% 55.6% 22.2% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 1 5 2 1 0 9 0

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33. Organizes program planning in anticipation of future needs and problems and establishes common goals to be adopted by the City Commission.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 0.0% 22.2% 55.6% 11.1% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 2 5 1 1 0 9 0

34. Demonstrates the ability to define and communicate a vision for the future of our City that captures the support of the citizens and institutions of our community.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 0.0% 44.4% 33.3% 11.1% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 4 3 1 1 0 9 0

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35. Comments regarding questions 32 - 34. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
Response Count 4 answered question skipped question 4 5

36. Effectively implements policies and programs approved by the City Commission.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 0.0% 22.2% 55.6% 22.2% 0.0% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 2 5 2 0 0 9 0

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Page 6, Q31. Comments regarding questions 28 - 30. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

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I have always been treated very well by city staff and appreciate their hard work for our residents. I am concerned that Ken may not be listening to staff as well as he was in the past. This is probably more challenging in an environment where everyone is stretched due to reductions in personnel. But during tough times like we have experienced may be the most important time to listen carefully to ALL staff. Needs to make better use of the management staff he has and keep everyone informed. Do not show favoritism. Ditto. 28) Ken does not take time to hear both sides of the story. Ken does not take time to investigate the facts. Ken does not treat each individual equally. The only reason Ken gets a one is because there is no zero option. 29) I think I have made it clear that it is Ken's way or Ken's way. But he does let you choose! 30) Ken does not participate in this category to the extent that a City Manager should. Again, a strong community effort keeps many programs and services afloat. While Ken will acknowledge them and verbally support them, little is done to give that support some substance. Reference 29 he absolutely does not deal well with differing opinions and is not willing to listen to ideas and differing views unless you are one of the chosen two or three that are important to him.

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Page 7, Q35. Comments regarding questions 32 - 34. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

#34--Needs to better define and communicate a vision for the future of the City that is communicated to residents. Communication is/has been an ongoing issue. Need to do more long range planning WITH commission. Many management staff give off the impression that they wish the Commission did not exist. Number 34 - I've mentioned this to Ken and others before. The city is great at administrating, but comes up short on visionary leadership. I think this is also connected to the earlier response above the city's public image. To be fair, the significant budget cuts and resulting staff cuts over the last few years have probably squeezed this kind of thing out of front-of-mind strategic thinking and communication. 33) On one end, this should not be bestowed upon Ken's shoulders. The lengthy employment cuts that have endured over the past five years make this difficult to give it the appropriate attention. On the other hand, 62 open positions and not putting the effort in to fill these positions keep us on the back burner in program planning. Much needs to be done and can be done here and we are falling short of the goal.

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37. Keeps the City Commission informed of current plans and activities of administration and new developments in technology, legislation, governmental practices, and regulations.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 33.3% 33.3% 11.1% 11.1% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 3 3 1 1 0 9 0

38. Communicates the City Commission's policies and positions effectively to staff and the public.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 22.2% 55.6% 11.1% 0.0% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 2 5 1 0 0 9 0

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39. Maintains knowledge of current and innovative trends in the area of local government services and incorporates that knowledge in program suggestions and research.
Response Percent (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (N/A) 11.1% 11.1% 33.3% 22.2% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 1 1 3 2 1 1 9 0

40. Comments regarding questions 36 - 39. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:
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41. Please rate the City Manager's performance overall.


Response Percent (1) Unacceptable (2) Needs Improvement (3) Meets Expectations (4) Exceeds Expectations (5) Outstanding 22.2% 22.2% 33.3% 11.1% 11.1% answered question skipped question Response Count 2 2 3 1 1 9 0

42. Identify any current actions by the City Manager that you would most like to see him continue.
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43. Identify any current actions by the City Manager that you would like him to discontinue.
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Page 8, Q40. Comments regarding questions 36 - 39. Please indicate the specific question to which the comment applies, if applicable:

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I really do believe Ken passes on knowledge he may receive that can help us in Battle Creek. I think 38 will be helped by the new communications staff member. #37--Communication is/has been a problem and keeping the City Commission informed of current plans and activities of the administration. I am not sure that Ken carries the Commission's message back to the staff as clearly as he could. The Commission has divergent viewpoints but we still set policies. I also get the impression that staff is not respectful of the Commission and its role - they want to do things "their way" - but the Commission is the body that should be leading and setting the city government policies. Number 39 - related to earlier responses about image and vision. See previous. 36) When the Commission brings up concerns and wants to see them addressed, the body could see a delay of months before anything is done about it. 37) We, as a Commission, are not being told the outright truth of possible changes in staffing, regulations and practices on a consistent basis. 39) I do not see this happen or not happen to any extent that I would be comfortable giving an appropriate evaluation.

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Page 10, Q42. Identify any current actions by the City Manager that you would most like to see him continue.

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Building relationships with residents. If 20 new folks can properly pronounce his name by next year, we'll be getting somewhere...smile. Continue working with other jurisdictions around Battle Creek and the county on projects where we can partner. Proactive communications about policy and finance are good and should continue. Having a very good attendance at the City Commission meetings, being transparent with items that all involved agree upon(buying/selling of properties and the ANG base, for example), explaining issues that the city is involved in where a stronger understanding is needed (not something confrontational). I will talk with him one on one regarding this. 1. Ken has improved a lot on his responsiveness. Ken continues to be a conduit for government, business and citizens. Continues to gain a lot of respect in the community.

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Page 10, Q43. Identify any current actions by the City Manager that you would like him to discontinue.

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Lack of timely communications. I'd rather get it as it happens, perhaps without all the I's dotted and T's crossed, than later. Communications have been lacking. none Procrastination, confrontational, does not answer questions directly due to no appropriate answer cannot possibly be provided, not treating everyone equally, weak transparency with our neighboring communities, weak transparency within our own community, not owning up to wrongful situations, not treating employees as the number one asset, not treating employees as his number one responsibility, not sharing situations with the Commission in a timely manner, lying, lack of respect for the Commission, taking credit for community (not administrative) efforts, not taking a stronger, more disciplined approach to managing the budget, not attending meetings that should be attended by the City Manager, not giving the Commission enough time to vote on certain issues when more discussion or changes should have taken place, but time was just not alloted. And the lack of desire to respond to inquiries made by the Commission if it does not suit his best interests. And an attitude that presents a stonewalled approach to handling of a disagreement. He should also not be very close friends with department heads. The professional responsibility needs to take presidence over being friends. This is not the case. I will talk with him one on one regarding this.

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44. Identify any actions not currently being undertaken by the City Manager that you would like to see him implement.
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45. Additional comments regarding the City Manager that have a bearing on this evaluation
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46. Name (optional):


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Page 10, Q44. Identify any actions not currently being undertaken by the City Manager that you would like to see him implement.

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N/A Better communication is necessary. It is difficult to accurately evaluate the City Manager without full information. Updates, emails, phone conversations, workshops - need all these to keep the Commission up to date on activites going on. The situation with the police department must be addressed. Some kind of creative space for visioning that can translate to public confidence in the city's direction. That's kinda vague I know, but I think Ken understands this, and the Harwood stuff plays into it. Whatever word you want to use... "Mismanagement" of departments. Address, not avoid, conflict. Investigate issues. Don't just ask the departmental leaders and take their word for it. Hold administrators accountable. Treat everyone with dignity and respect equally. Keep the City Commission informed of all issues that they should know. Respond promptly. Bring others impacted by the decision making to the table from the conception phase. Be a good listener. Stop kicking people out of your office unless physically threatened. That is bad conduct even if it may be justified. Be our leader at all times. By that, the City Manager has to balance the interests of the community, employees and the city in all decision making processes I will talk with him one on one regarding this.

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Page 10, Q45. Additional comments regarding the City Manager that have a bearing on this evaluation

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Thanks Ken for your willingness to work with me on various projects (Town Hall Meetings, etc.) and for your leadership, you are appreciated. I believe that Ken is extremely loyal and desires to see Battle Creek flourish. I think a series of unfortunate occurrences have happened in rapid succession that have called Ken's leadership into question. I don't feel like the response from the City Manager's office is what it should have been to mitigate these concerns. Ken cares about the city and the staff. He wants the city government to be a partner to improving the community - such as the downtown changes. He needs to consider some real changes to address employee issues with police. Needs to re-build the public's perception of that department. Cut out the bad apples that need cutting. Take the blinders off. Ken and staff need to improve the responsiveness of the city to the public in several ways. Businesses should be able to get pernits in hours or a day - not weeks. Public should be able to handle many more transactions online. Perhaps add additional hours for the public to access city departments - such as late hours one day a week. As I mentioned last year, the rating system with "Meets Expectations" as the middle score of 3 is subjective as to the expectation of the respondent. I don't know what the committee thinks, but my point of view is that any average score around 3 or so would mean he's doing a good job. Early on, Ken did explain to me many facets of the city and how things are performed. But when disagreements ensued (which is ok too), his continued stonewalled reaction has made things difficult to impossible for me to provide a formidable conversation with him so we could draw out the truth together. Although I approached Ken on a few occasions, it was all give and no take; just a completely unhealthy environment every time I tried to approach him with the issues that I had. When I asked one of his administrators what has Ken provided me, the response was, "Nothing". And it's true. That is not how problems are solved. That is not a leader. This is the finest evaluation that I have given a City Manager. Ken has worked very hard for the people of Battle Creek.

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Page 10, Q46. Name (optional):

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Lynn Ward Gray Andy Helmboldt Jeff Domenico Behnke

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