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UPDATED Tacoma: Council’s report card gives Anderson mixed reviews, as contract extension nears

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on July 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm with 17 Comments »
July 11, 2011 6:56 pm

(6:40 p.m. Update at end of post)

Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson won praise for his budgeting skills, staff recruitment and a strong understanding of how state and federal issues relate to the city, according to his latest report card from Tacoma City Council.


“The (City Manager) still remains highly capable of managing the budget during challenging economic times,” the evaluation says.

But council members also criticized Tacoma’s chief administrator for failing to develop a clear economic development plan for the city, and at times, for keeping them in the dark about significant city issues.

“There is major concern about economic development leadership by the City Manager and at the Senior Management level,” the evaluation states.

The city manager’s 2011 performance evaluation, which covers Anderson’s work from July of last year to the present, is a collaborative but anonymous document that incorporates critiques submitted from all nine of the city’s elected council members.

Commentary at times was mixed, even contradictory, providing Anderson with a range of feelings about his performance in six major categories. The council’s current evaluation provides only written feedback; a point-ranking system was dropped two years ago.

(We’ll have more details tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the full report card.)

Required under the city’s charter, the evaluation is a precursor to city policymakers’ decision of extending Anderson’s contract, which expires this month.

The council is set to consider an 18-month extension for Anderson at Tuesday’s regular meeting, but questions linger about what might happen.

This year’s evaluation appears more critical than last year’s report card.  It provides a mixed-bag of commendations and criticisms, including several disapproving remarks about a string of recent issues – from developments in the Zina Linnik case to procedural “missteps” in the Cheney Stadium renovation project.

“Some Council members rate the relationship between the (City Manager) and Council as good, but in decline,” the evaluation noted.

Councilwoman Lauren Walker today described the evaluation as a strong guideline for Anderson, adding she doesn’t believe his contract extension will be an issue.

“My experience is evaluations always have a mixed area of praise and areas of needs of improvement. And this evaluation reflects that,” Walker said.

Several other members have not yet returned calls today. Councilman David Boe declined comment.

In a prepared statement issued Monday, Anderson called his job a “privilege” and accepted the evaluation as a way to improve his performance.

“I am very grateful to the Council for their hard work and candor” he said. “As in previous years, I commit myself to using their appraisal to do a better job.”

Hired in 2005 after serving as Des Moines, Iowa’s chief administrator, Anderson, 65, oversees the city government’s day-to-day operations,  more than 2,000 employees and a $1.7 billion general government budget (including the city’s $399 million general fund), among other responsibilities.

Under his current contract, Anderson earns $236,373 per year, gets 50 days off per year*(see update below) and a $550 per month automobile allowance. Just before a city employee wage freeze kicked in, Anderson took a 17.4 percent pay raise — giving him $35,000 more per year — that he’d previously deferred due to city budget woes. The pay hike made Anderson the city’s second highest paid employee after Utilities Director Bill Gaines.

UPDATE: I’ve misstated Anderson’s time off clause in his current contract.

When Anderson was initially hired in 2005, he received “an initial bank of 50 days of administrative leave,” with an additional 14 days added to this paid time off bank the following year.  He has since accrued time off according to leave accrual formulas under 1.12.248 of the city code, his contract states.



Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. tac_roark says:

    50 days off? How is 10 weeks of vacation even remotely reasonable?

  2. tomwa007 says:

    50 days off, becasue he can.
    Fire this sorry excuse for a city manager, he is the wrong man for the job.

  3. rockrabbit says:

    How about if we apportion that big salary among a full-time (or half-time) city council and make the mayor a real executive?

  4. La Gunta says:

    How about 365 days off per year?

  5. dster420 says:

    Get rid of this slimy character; he is just a puppet!! He won’t do what is right, or correct, because he is too busy covering others’ butts, and making some favors for later, like mark(the kiddie shark) french!!

  6. Zina Linnik even gets a special name drop. Ghost in the machine.

  7. REMINDER: special Citizen’s Auxiliary City Council ribbon cutting ceremony at the Eric Anderson Memorial Car Park this WED at NOON http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160217894050131

  8. 10 weeks? What is this, Greece?

  9. princessnancy says:

    OMG! 50 days, really? He is way overpaid for what he is doing.

  10. TEN WEEKS OFF????
    Oh boy. He still managed to tear down the Luzon, pave half of downtown into empty parking lots, screw up the Zina case and lie about it, and make a costly mess of the Cheney rehab. Now to the positive things he did for Tacoma: ehhhhhhhhhm….errr….uuhhh. Oh yeah, he got a massive salary increase this spring – and 10 weeks off. Totally indecent. No wonder people distain all things government. What a leach.

  11. Mrs. Walker’s comments show that the council is intoxicated on Anderson’s koolaid. His contract extension is not an issue?

    Lying by public officials is OK? No Cheney roof is OK? Shuting the libraries in low-income neighborhoods is commendable budgeting? The 15% pay increases for employees already making over $100,000 per year? Demolition of Luzon Building? The saga of the Chinese Temple “gift” now costing over $600,000?

    What has Anderson done positive while here anyway?

  12. tree_guy says:

    “My experience is evaluations always have a mixed area of praise and areas of needs of improvement. And this evaluation reflects that,” Walker said.

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2011/07/11/tacoma-councils-report-card-gives-anderson-mixed-reviews-as-contract-extension-nears/#ixzz1RrFzfF4j

    Ms. Walker should temper her desire to lavish praise at the time of a personel evaluation. It makes discharging an underperforming employee more difficult. David Brame was well praised in his evaluations. How did that turn out?

  13. uratroll says:

    I realize that his compensation package was negotiated before he took the job. He’s very shrewd and the dismay here should be placed upon those that agreed to that contract without hesitation or contingencies. Still, he demands others to do the same, or more, with less and then also enforces mandatory resitrictions and cuts on subordinates and other city employee’s. Although I believe those reductions and such are needed, it shouldn’t distract from the fact that he himself won’t do what he asks of others and it makes him…well…a politician. His hypocrisy knows no bounds!

  14. rockrabbit says:

    Mr. Kamb should spell out what the city code says regarding leave, not make readers look through the arcane city document ourselves! After raising the 50-day issue incorrectly, we want to know, how much vacation does he accrue each year? And what’s “administrative leave” anyway? Is it sick leave plus vacation? Something else?

  15. lying is never ever OKAY

  16. sunlover says:

    BS – received a mixed review means he is a failure. Get rid of him. 50 days off a year is pure crap for anyone who is paid that type of money to manage the city of Tacoma. 50 days off, plus weekends means he isn’t around much to manage. We can hire a CPA for a lot cheaper to manage the budget. Geez, what a idiotic city council so full of themselves.

  17. skippythedog says:

    Where there’s smoke…there’s fire. Get rid of him.

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