Fort Smith Board nixes trash rate report

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 72 views 

One story out of the Fort Smith Board of Directors study session on Tuesday (July 24) was what wasn’t discussed.

The topic of automated and manual rate differentials in the city’s solid waste collection plan, championed by City Director Philip Merry, was removed from the agenda prior to the session.

City Directors George Catsavis, Andre Good, Don Hutchings, and Kevin Settle, were in favor of removing the item with “no plans to revisit at this time,” said Fort Smith Administrator Ray Gosack.

For Settle especially, it was time to move on.

“We’ve discussed the trash, and I thought it (rate differential) was something that we do not need to discuss at this time. Our focus needs to be more on building a positive economy and developing the projects we have going on and to keep moving forward,” Settle said, adding that the rate differential debate is “something that should be brought up in the budget discussions (at the end of the year).”

Hutchings agreed. “I think we’re going to learn a lot once the petitions are signed for November, and from the vote. What I’m hearing from citizens in all four wards is an overwhelming response that they want the entire city automated and to let the rates go down $1.10 per month as Baridi said, so I’m working to that end.”

The main topic of discussion at the study session was succession planning in the finance and utility departments.

Succession planning is the process of identifying and developing talent with the potential to fill key leadership positions in an organization.

According to a memorandum from Gosack, there are six “key” positions for which the city needs to plan.

In the finance department, the director is expected to retire in the next 4-5 years, while the assistant director is expected to retire in 6-8 years.

In the utilities department, the director and the superintendent of treatment plants and plant maintenance is expected to retire in 6-8 years, while the assistant director is expected to leave in 5-7 years, and the superintendent of line maintenance in 4-5 years.

A succession plan, which all City Directors were encouraged by on Tuesday, will identify positions where external candidates would be the best fit, and it would work to cultivate talent from within.

“As part of our citywide succession planning, departments will be asked to annually identify their key management positions, the career plans of the incumbents in those positions, and any training needs to help prepare other employees to step into these positions,” Gosack said.