Camp Verde, Town Manager consider contractual commitment

German, Jenkins to put together draft of contract for Russ Martin

Russ Martin

Russ Martin

CAMP VERDE – At two separate meetings this year, the Camp Verde Town Council has discussed Russ Martin’s contract status as the Town’s manager.

Simply put, there is no contract status. Because Martin is not under contract. At least not yet.

In February, council discussed and decided that its town manager, should be contractually employed, rather than simply an employee of the Town.

At an Aug. 11 work session, council agreed that Mayor Charlie German and Council Member Dee Jenkins would solicit information and put together a contract that could be presented to Martin.

“The only decision at this point is to put together a contract package and see where that takes us,” Mayor German said. “We believe that as we continue to develop as a Town, we need to become a little more formalized with our development of a contract for our manager, whether it is for Russ or for one who will eventually replace Russ.”

For the Aug. 11 meeting with council, Martin put together what he called “a base contract with four different options.”

Options included three-year and five-year agreements and were based on the contracts of town and city managers for Cottonwood, Chino Valley, Winslow and Globe, Martin said.

But Jenkins said that it’s “a little early” in the process to consider length of contract.

“We’ll work on a possible draft after we do our due diligence,” Jenkins said. “This isn’t necessarily a Russ Martin contract. This is a town manager contract. It will be a working contract that we can move forward no matter who our town manager is.”

At this point in the process, no negotiations have taken place, both Martin and German said.

Martin also said that he has encouraged council to talk to its “counterparts” at the annual League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Aug. 22-25 in Tucson.

From 1987 through 1994, Camp Verde’s town manager was under contract to the Town. But neither Martin nor Deputy Town Clerk Virginia Jones could say why the Town went away from the practice of having its town manager contractually employed.

Though Martin isn’t making plans to leave Camp Verde, German said that having its lead person contractually committed “enhances [the Town’s] ability” to recruit for the future.

“In the future when other town managers may want to apply, they will want to know what we’re offering,” Jenkins said.

“That is why from my perspective [council] agreed to put together some items into a contract package and meet together to hash out what we would like to present to Russ for negotiation,” German said.

Both Martin and German have said that it was council that decided to explore a contract with its Town Manager.

In the summer of 2016 at his annual evaluation, council and Martin first discussed the possibility of working under contract.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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