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By Emily Gilbert

City Hall may get some new faces

City Manager asks Council for new staff positions at City Hall


Last updated 11/15/2019 at 4:01pm

Mill Creek has seen growth in recent years and it is only expected to continue. An increasing population leads to the need for more city services and programs, and City Manager Michael Ciaravino has asked the Council for a number of staff additions. 

Under Michael Ciaravino's proposal, the Public Works department would get a Surface Water Engineer. The position's duties would include updating the city's GIS information, identifying grants and other funding opportunities, and maintaining city infrastructure among others. An important component of the engineer's duties would be inspecting surface water facilities, like city-owned ponds and those owned privately by Homeowners Associations.  

"When private ponds are not maintained, the water level rises and that water backs up into pipes and some of those pipes we own and affect us. So it's important for the city to be proactive in inspecting the ponds and following up with the HOAs," Public Works Director Gina Hortollosa said.

One of the additions was another full-time maintenance worker. Hortollosa said that her crew needs one more person to maintain the level of service around the city and to address growing needs, such as graffiti repair and event cleanup. Ciaravino also had some changes to the city's communications and marketing department, notably removing the director role in favor of recreation, communication and outreach coordinators. Part of the director's duties would be absorbed by the City Manager and his proposed Chief of Staff. There would also be one communication manager to oversee the department and report to the City Manager. 

Ciaravino proposed two additions to the executive team: a so-called "Chief of Staff" and an executive assistant. 

Ciaravino explained that although he has enjoyed the "hands-on" work he has done, he needs someone else to help with regulatory compliance issues and assisting other teams. He explained that a large part of what the Chief of Staff would be responsible for was the city's compliance with state and federal governance regulations. 

He also clarified his need for an executive assistant. 

"My experience in other places is to at least have an executive assistant for the city manager who can manage the administrative tasks that I'm absolutely positive you did not hire me to perform here, but that I have been performing," Ciaravino said referring to scheduling and basic paperwork. 

He said that the executive assistant with would support the Chief of Staff, public records requests and other teams as needed.

A core aspect of Ciaravino's concern surrounded the perceived lack of redundancy of City Hall in the event of a staff member's departure. 

"What I notice about the City of Mill Creek is that it doesn't have a backup plan for anything when it comes to administration and municipal governance," he stressed. 

Multiple members on the council voiced support for the City Manager's proposal, if there was room in the budget.    

"I believe we have not been as supportive of our city managers as we should have been. And I believe [the Chief of Staff] is an important position and I also think the [executive assistant] is important too," Mayor Pam Pruitt said. 

"We've been very, very cautious over the years - we've been very stringy over the years, its true - about adding positions," Councilman Mike Todd said, citing concerns about economic downturn and the city's budget capabilities, although he supported the staff additions. 

The proposal was only brought up as a discussion item and no action was taken, although council members said they wanted to see numbers for the positions and how they would fit into the budget.


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