At its Dec. 19, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council conducted a closed session to review the performance of its city attorney, Stephen Postema, for 2011. The result of the session was that the council voted, with dissent from Sabra Briere (Ward 1), to approve an amendment to Postema’s contract that allows him to cash-in up to 250 of hours of accrued banked time before June 30, 2012.
The position of city attorney is one of two positions that reports directly to the council – the other is the city administrator. Under Michigan’s Open Meetings Act, reviews of personnel are allowed to be conducted in a closed session on request from the employee, but are not required to be. However, Postema’s contract contains a clause specifying that: “The results of the evaluation shall be in writing and shall be discussed with the Employee in closed session.”
A performance review conducted just two months ago at the council’s Oct. 24, 2011 meeting had been just for 2009 and 2010. That review did not result in any adjustment to Postema’s base salary, but also allowed him to cash-in up to 250 hours of accrued banked time before the end of 2011.
In a rare move, Sabra Briere (Ward 1) sat out most of the closed session on Dec. 19 and voted no on the contract amendment this time around. She questioned whether the council’s administration committee had provided other councilmembers with opportunity to offer feedback on Postema’s performance since the Oct. 24 review. She noted that other councilmembers had been given an opportunity to provide their view on Postema’s performance before the Oct. 24 review, but that review had specficially been just through 2010.
And Briere did not recall being given an opportunity to provide additional feedback since October for the current review – which included 2011. None of the members of the council’s administration committee could point to an occasion when feedback had been solicited during that time period. Mayor John Hieftje offered that sometimes all the forms are confusing.
This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]