At a Special Meeting called for Wednesday night, July 5, the Jones Board of Trustees approved Ordinance 7-5-2023 amending the Municipal Code. Among the many changes included in this Ordinance, the Board of Trustees created a new Town Administrator position.
Jones currently operates under a Trustee form of government. The new Board of Trustees attended an OML training on May 23, 2023 titled “The Do’s and Don’ts of Municipal Government” to learn more about the requirements and restrictions to operate this form of governance effectively. However, they became increasingly aware that the restrictions of the Trustee format creates several limitations, namely creating barriers for Town staff on making quick financial or administrative decisions. Any purchase that costs more than $2,500 must be approved at the monthly Trustee meetings. Mayor Wilkinson says that this delay has significantly slowed the response time and the capacity for staff to address immediate concerns. “We’ve all known we need to move toward something like this. It is really difficult to oversee a Town with the way things are structured now,” Wilkinson said.
We’ve all known we need to move toward something like this. It is really difficult to oversee a Town with the way things are structured now.Mayor Missy Wilkinson
The new Administrator will initially be a contracted position, similar to how the volunteer Fire Chief position is paid. This person will be the day-to-day decision maker for the administrative functions of the Town, be responsible for the preparation and oversight of the annual budget, and will supervise the Department Heads, including the elected positions of Town Clerk and Town Treasurer. The Administrator will also have the ability to approve purchases up to $25,000, without prior Board authorization.
Mayor Wilkinson hopes to have the position filled by the end of the month, and sees this as a trial run for testing a City Manager form of government. “I would like to see a one-year contract to start, bring somebody in …who is very qualified… and get us back to a baseline.”
This change is a small step toward improving the Town’s internal functions. Wilkinson states, “This is the first step to seeing what we need.” The flexibility of the position allows the Trustee’s to conduct a trial run with a City Manager form of government, without having to make any permanent changes or committing any long-term resources for salary.
You can read a copy of the new ordinance below: