Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies! Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies! Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies! Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies! Donate to Absurd Job Vacancies!


Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

Fuck UWM and all universities! UW-Milwaukee and their brethren are mediocre. Click banner ads on ClixSense instead; it's a better use of time than a college education in the UW System.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Assistant City Manager / Political Punching Bag for City of Maricopa, AZ

“Job Title: Assistant City Manager, City of Maricopa, Arizona

Post Date: Jan 24, 2012
Salary: $92,946.00 - $139,420.00
Start Date:
Application Deadline: 02/24/2012
ICMA Members Only: No
ICMA Credential (Details): not required
Normal Population: (not listed in vacancy, but the 2010 U.S. Census reveals it is 43,482)
Seasonal Population:
This position provides effective, professional leadership, positioning the City to meet the community’s current and future needs through appropriate technologies and services. The work is performed under the direct supervision of the City Manager. The principal duties of the position are performed in a general office environment.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities
•Provide support directly to the City Manager by serving as a liaison on major projects; managing oversight of the Development Services, Economic Development, and Community Services departments; supervising and directing staff; expediting resolution of certain matters in the City Manager’s Office and providing special research and support to the City Manager
•Represent the City and the City Manager to management staff, elected officials, and outside agencies; create, present and explain City programs, policies, and activities; and negotiate and resolve sensitive, significant, and controversial issues
•Meet with management staff to identify and resolve problems; assign projects and programmatic areas of responsibility; and review and evaluate work methods and procedures
•Identify complex policy issues and work with departmental executive staff to create, present and implement comprehensive solutions with approval of City Manager and City Council
•Proactively monitor and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery methods and procedures; assess and monitor workload administrative and support systems, and internal reporting relationships; identify opportunities for improvement; and direct the implementation of changes
•Participate in and contribute to the development and administration of the annual City budget; direct the forecast of funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials, and supplies; direct and approve expenditures of assigned departments; and direct the preparation and implementation of budgetary adjustments as necessary
•Provide or coordinate staff support to a variety of boards and commissions; serve on intergovernmental and citizen committees; attend and participates in professional group meetings; and stay abreast of new trends and innovations in the fields of public relations and public administration
•Attend City Council meetings and represent the City Manager as needed
•Interpret and ensure City Manager and City Council policies are understood and achieved
•Meet with City Manager and other CMO staff to discuss issues and objectives, to determine strategies and approaches, and to brief on current activities and challenges
•Meet with Department Directors to discuss programs or inquiries, answer questions, address challenges and resolve issues which may arise in the course of daily business, including budget, personnel, customer service and intradepartmental issues
•Resolve or participate in resolving customer complaints
•Represent the City Manager’s Office in various meetings, assisting with input and guidance to achieve an outcome that is beneficial to the greater good of the organization, community and citizenry
•Promote an effective, responsive and value-based organizational culture
•Maintain regular contact with the City Manager to keep her apprised of situations and issues
•Interact with Boards and Commissions, outside governmental agencies and non-profits, constituent representative groups and other citizen groups relative to goals, actions and activities of the City
•Develop and/or assist in the implementation of new programs or enhancements to existing programs, and in operational analysis and recommendations for organizational structure
•When assigned, directly supervise department heads and staff, establishing goals, objectives and performance targets; preparing and administering reviews of individual and department performance
•Actively participate in the development of the City’s strategic plan and strategies to achieve stated goals
•Actively participate in development of the City’s budget, monitoring expenditures and debt services; identifying new funding sources; and making budgetary recommendations to the City Manager and City Council
•Actively take part in the advancement and promotion of an organization that is here to support and meet the needs of the customer, both internally and externally

•Perform the duties of City Manager, as assigned, during City Manager’s absence
•Communicate and coordinate regularly with appropriate others to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of interdepartmental operations and activities
•Perform all work duties and activities in accordance with City policies and procedures
•Work in a safe manner and report unsafe activity and conditions
•Follow City-wide safety policy and practices and adhere to responsibilities concerning safety prevention, reporting and monitoring
•Perform other related duties as required

Knowledge of:
•All aspects of municipal government operations relating to staffing, budget and program execution
•Council/Manager form of government and its operations
•Political processes at all levels of government
•Federal, state and local laws impacting local government operations
•Effective leadership methods and supervisory skills
•Planning and organizing skills
•The operation of personal computer and various software applications for word processing, spreadsheets, etc.
•English grammar and punctuation

Ability to:
•Manage multiple projects and thrive in high performance organization
•Supervise, lead and direct the activities of City Departments and Divisions, as assigned, to ensure achievement of City goals and objectives
•Plan, implement and oversee programs of departmental operations and activities
•Work in a team environment under extremely stressful situations
•Inspire confidence in citizens, staff and the City Council to achieve the City’s goals and objectives
•Balance conflicting political goals and direction with an outcome of positive direction for the organization
•Communicate complicated or abstract policy direction to many different groups of staff and citizens
•Prepare and present accurate and reliable reports containing findings and recommendations
•Quickly learn and put to use new skills and knowledge brought about by rapidly changing information and/or technology
•Perform a wide variety of duties and responsibilities with accuracy and speed under the pressure of time-sensitive deadlines
•Demonstrate integrity, ingenuity and inventiveness in the performance of assigned tasks
•Operate a personal computer using program applications appropriate to assigned duties
•Communicate effectively both orally and in writing, with the public and other employees

The ideal candidate will:
•Be a skilled leader and manager with a proven track record of motivating and developing staff to obtain measureable (sic) results
•Be politically astute with the demonstrated ability to effectively communicate with staff, contractors, elected officials, and the public
•Have a proven record as an innovative leader, possessing excellent communication and presentation skills, with the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with internal and external customers
•Have superior communication abilities, strong project management skills, emotional intelligence, and commitment to public service
•Have the ability to manage multiple projects and thrive in a high-performance organization
•Have a strong background in development, planning, economic development, city codes compliance, building, zoning, and special projects. Some parks, recreation, and library experience preferred
•Have knowledge of federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to local government operations
•Have advanced leadership and management skills and a proven ability of leading teams of executive, managerial, and professional staff
•Have a strong working knowledge of municipal budgeting
•Have a demonstrated history of identifying and responding to community and City Council issues, concerns, and needs
•Have a master’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in public administration, business administration or a related field
•Have 10 years of increasingly responsible professional experience in municipal government management; including at least five years of administrative or supervisory responsibility at the senior managerial or executive leadership level

Performance Aptitudes
•Data Utilization: Requires the ability to coordinate, manage, and/or correlate data. Includes exercising judgment in determining time, place and/or sequence of operations, referencing data analyses to determine necessity for revision of organizational components, and in the formulation of operational strategy.
•Human Interaction: Requires the ability to function in a director capacity for a major organizational unit requiring significant internal and external interaction.
•Equipment, Machinery, Tools, and Materials Utilization: Requires the ability to operate, maneuver and/or control the actions of equipment, machinery, tools, and/or materials used in performing essential functions.
•Verbal Aptitude: Requires the ability to utilize a wide variety of reference, descriptive, advisory and/or design data and information.
•Mathematical Aptitude: Requires the ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; ability to calculate decimals and percentages; may include ability to perform mathematical operations involving basic algebraic principles and formulas, basic geometric principles and calculations, and statistics.
•Functional Reasoning: Requires the ability to apply principles of logical or synthesis functions; to deal with several concrete and abstract variables; and to analyze major problems that require complex planning for interrelated activities that can span one or several work units.
•Situational Reasoning: Requires the ability to exercise judgment, decisiveness and creativity in situations involving broader aspects of organizational programs and operations, moderately unstable situations, or the direction, control and planning of an entire program or set of programs.
•Physical Ability: Tasks require the ability to exert light physical effort in sedentary to light work, but which may involve some lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling of objects and materials of light weight (5-10 pounds). Tasks may involve extended periods of time at a keyboard or work station.
•Sensory Requirements: Some tasks require the ability to perceive and discriminate visual cues or signals. Some tasks require the ability to communicate orally.
Environmental Factors: Performance of essential functions may require exposure to adverse environmental conditions, such as traffic hazards.”

I know that many people equate “municipal manager” with “bureaucrat,” but the City of Maricopa takes great lengths to recruit only the warmest and most accommodating incumbent to serve as Assistant City Manager. This is evident in the multiple requirements of interpersonal skills iterated throughout the tortuous list of requirements: “Have…emotional intelligence?” Sure, I don’t throw a tantrum when I don’t get my way -- blogging about it is less likely to result in arrest and is more likely to provide a constructive outlet by stimulating discussion. “Be politically astute?” Uhhh, I guess that’s why I don’t get my way that often! *joking* In all seriousness, I get my way more often than not -- by working alone.

The emphasis on soft skills indicates a broken chain of command: Why would the assistant manager for daily operations need to influence employees and residents through informal means? Insubordination to the assistant manager should be grounds for firing. Wouldn’t employees fear being fired if they disobeyed the assistant (so long as the assistant’s mandate agreed with the direction provided by the mayor and implementation tactics of the manager)? Perhaps the employment contracts give department heads certain latitude to disobey their common boss, but that is poor organizational design.

Although citizens who aren’t municipal employees cannot be fired for disobeying the assistant city manager, in most cases the will of the city administration has been codified, thereby making non-compliance with that will a violation of one or more municipal ordinances. Wouldn’t citizens fear being fined for such violations? Why all the emphasis on schmoozing others into obedience? Call center supervisors need not apply!

I understand that the large number of requirements in the job vacancy makes for a potentially burdensome amount of screen scrolling, but there was no other way to capture precisely the immense granularity with which Maricopa’s HR department identified tasks. I would say that HR did a fine job of creating a fairly realistic concept of what to expect on the job: Half the job is speaking with other department heads, and the other half is stuff which you actually need some training to do such as program evaluation, budgeting, and multidepartment project management.

HR even made the effort to couch the multivariate analysis requirement in terms beloved by symbolic professors to show that they welcome formalists to apply, so long as those fans of Saunders, Whitehead, et al. actually possess more people skills than, “Hi, I understand symbolic logic. I’ll make sure you do, too!”

Unfortunately, the ability to “operate machinery and equipment necessary to perform job functions” is vague: Does this entail only use of office equipment like a typical white-collar worker would use, or does it entail driving the Emotional Intelligence Mobile to stakeholder havens throughout the city?

The description mentions operation of a “personal computer and software applications” but does not mention why the assistant manager would be exposed to “adverse environmental conditions, such as traffic hazards.” Unless the incumbent is expected to stand in the construction zone when speaking with the road crew, I would venture this is supposed to mean that some driving of a personal vehicle will transpire while liaising.

Given the level of detail present in the other duties, I’m surprised the mechanical aptitude requirement does not read as, “Proficiency using a computer to manipulate, store, and retrieve data, a photocopier/fax/printer multifunction machine to duplicate and transmit data, a doorknob to open and close doors to private rooms, and use of fine and gross motor coordination to maintain personal grooming, hygiene, and transportation to and from the job site, with or without reasonable accommodation.” Maricopa HR KSA Interpreter 2012 is locked in verbose mode, no? After all that, HR misspelled "measurable!"

Update added 06-16-2013: I've encountered so-called "professionals" at WCMA 5th District meetings and found them to act politely to your face but then hide like cowards behind their secretaries when called or emailed in response to ideas discussed at recent encounters. So much for fulfilling that "human interaction" requirement! I imagine this would the case if one were to visit in person, but they've proven to be wastes of time and otherwise worthless for what the cities, towns, and villages pay them. I reckon a well-programmed robot could do their work based on how the mayor's policy parameters and the budgetary constraints translate into functional limits.

If you think that's a harsh assessment, then keep in mind that when I had networked and done follow-up calls for an internship, the only opportunity offered was an unpaid document-scanning position which would involve sorting paper files by subject matter, digitally rendering them, uploading them to a server, and then typing metatags for those digital files. So what's the upside? Being in the copier room, where nominally "everyone" in the organization is alleged to visit periodically. However, that is a myth lie because at every organization I've worked, the secretary makes all copies per contractual job duties. If the personal assistant is unionized, then you can bet no one else will make copies because otherwise that would infringe upon her duties or "bust her union."

While one could weakly argue that position would have been acceptable had I been within walking distance or even a ten-minute drive, the city, HR, and IT managers knew from my resume that I lived almost 100 miles away. No sane person would accept such an internship due to the financial cost of commuting that distance -- $60 per week -- only to perform work which has no transfer-ability to actual management. What managerial skills does one acquire by scanning and tagging a bunch of documents?

I negotiated over the terms of the internship with the goal of gaining responsibility for an actual city development project or being recognized as the head of the document-scanning initiative, but they refused to budge, thereby indicating their offer was either poorly planned or a cruel joke lacking emotional intelligence: both possibilities are inexcusable for municipal managers. As for the alleged "networking" opportunities of the position, I knew from my experiences with the top-level supervisors at the WCMA luncheons that decision makers wouldn't cede any meaningful work to the intern; there's no social capital when the people offering the internship construe the intern as a free source of labor. In fact, such a practice has been deemed illegal in the East District of New York. I therefore bluntly declined their pathetic excuse for a "municipal management" internship.

No comments:

Post a Comment