WATERLOO — Mayor Quentin Hart and City Councilwoman Margaret Klein both agree city employees should receive annual performance reviews.
But it took Hart’s threat of a veto for Klein to agree mandatory evaluations should be delayed for another year.
Waterloo City Council members ultimately voted 6-1 Monday to approve a resolution requiring all city workers to be reviewed annually by their appropriate supervisors starting July 1, 2019.
Klein’s initial proposal had called for the reviews to begin immediately and take place before July 1 of each year.
“None of this is micromanaging,” Klein said. “It simply is tackling a problem that goes back several administrations.
“People just were not receiving their annual evaluations,” she added. “A good discussion about strengths and weaknesses and performance is a good thing.”
But Hart said Klein’s proposal had “legal challenges,” which led him to veto the resolution unless the start date was pushed back. He and Human Resources Director Lance Dunn have been working on a review program.
Most of the city’s work force is governed by collective bargaining agreements with seven city unions. Those contracts, which would drive any evaluation process, do not expire until June 30, 2019.
The Iowa Legislature last year stripped public labor unions of the right to bargain for anything except wages, meaning employee reviews were no longer a mandatory topic of bargaining and could be placed by the city in a handbook unilaterally.
It remains unclear how the new policy would affect the city’s police and firefighter unions, which did not lose full bargaining powers under the state law. Those departments are currently doing employee evaluations.
The adopted policy also calls for council members, with input from the mayor and human resources director, to review the performance of the city clerk and city attorney. Those positions are hired by council members rather than the mayor.
Councilman Pat Morrissey voted against the measure, which he believes usurps the mayor’s authority and should not be a role of the city’s legislative branch.
“We have no business as a City Council evaluating anyone,” Morrissey said. “I find it appalling that we would try to interject ourselves into (the mayor’s) part of governing this city.”