I have been asked many times what the duties are of the mayor’s chief of staff. The answer is a simple one. I don’t know.
This is not about personalities as several mayors have had assistants, called by different titles.
The facts are that the city charter and the council manager government that we operate in Tempe calls for the manager to oversee all employees with the exception of the city clerk, city magistrate and city attorney. Those officers work directly for the mayor and city council, although they do work closely with the manager and his staff.
In these lean times with budget cuts, layoffs and cuts in direct city services it seems obvious to me that the priority use of financial resources should go directly to citizen services. Having a $100,000 position of chief of staff with no staff and no direct services seems rather extravagant.
I have discussed this with both candidates for mayor, not asking for a commitment to eliminate the position, just to think about it. The city has done a good job dealing with the downturn in the economy. However, several city services have been cut or negatively impacted.
Isn’t it time to eliminate one more position before the next mayor takes office? After all, the city manager is the true chief of staff and is paid to perform those duties.