Administrator out, planner in

Alexis Barker, NLJ News Editor

To avoid confusion with state statutes regarding city administrators, the Newcastle City Council voted to change the advertised position from city administrator to city planner during its regular meeting on April 3. 


The council voted on Feb. 21 to begin advertising for a city administrator, whose top priority would be grant writing, as a way for the city to tackle important infrastructure needs. 


As previously reported in the August 2022 story “City will no longer have an engineer,” the council decided to not hire an engineer to replace outgoing Mike Moore, who retired Aug. 15. Instead, the city elected to hire someone to help fund projects. It would then use an outside engineer when needed. 


During the April 3 meeting, Mayor Pam Gualtieri said that there had been questions regarding the city administrator position. 


Councilman Don Steveson explained that a state statute described city administrators as “administration of all duties.” 


“We wanted department heads to manage their departments,” Steveson said, noting that the person hired would be expected to assist when needed and to find grants and funding for the city. 


City Clerk-Treasurer Stacy Haggerty added that she had found the reference to different forms of city government in state statute, including a city administrator form of government. 


According to a handbook for municipal elected officials regarding forms of government in Wyoming, the city manager form of government uses a “chief administrator,” who is employed by the governing body to handle the city’s or town’s administrative affairs. It notes that this form is adopted because many of the tasks involved in handling the affairs of a municipality call for special training and skills and because demands have risen for professionally trained experts to take over these duties. 


“The elective officers of a city or town adopting the city manager form of government are council members elected as provided by law,” the guide says. 


City Attorney Dublin Hughes explained to the council that the problem with using city administrator as a job title is that people might not understand the intention of the position because of the correlation with the city manager form of government. Because of this, he said, it would be better to have a different title for the newly created position, although having a city administrator is totally different from a city manager in that specific form of municipal government. 


The council voted to change the job title from city administrator to city planner. At this time, a detailed job description for the position has not been approved by the council. 


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