Town questions employee evaluation methodsSOUTHINGTON - While town administrators have long held that yearly evaluations of municipal department heads were of little use, members of the town council are asking for more information on ways to measure job performance.
Councilor Anthony D'Angelo brought up the subject of job evaluations at the council meeting Monday, when he asked Town Attorney Mark Sciota to look into the idea of evaluating the job performance of department heads.
To the surprise of several council members, Town Manager John Weichsel said that municipal employee evaluations have not been done in town for years.
Weichsel cited the opinions of Peter Drucker as one of the reasons for not doing yearly evaluations.
"They sometimes do more harm than good," Weichsel said, adding that yearly performance evaluations are controversial and might be difficult with unionized workers.
Drucker, who died in 2005, was a writer and management consultant who is widely considered to be the father of modern management principals. He advocated use of the Management by Objective method of evaluating performance. Essentially, after objectives are identified, the employee is expected to work toward the goal and audit themselves on how they are doing, with immediate input from employers.
According to Weichsel, municipal managers and employees are evaluated daily as they perform their duties.
"We do it every day," he said.
D'Angelo, however, said he felt it was important for the members of the council to have a way of looking at how a manager is performing duties because it also would point out the good things employees were doing.
Councilors Christopher Palmieri and John Barry agreed that having a way of evaluating performance would be an asset for managers, councilors and the employees.
"It's hard for me to believe that in 2008 a union would hinder an evaluation," Barry said.
Councilor Nicholas DePaola, who also is a business owner, pointed out that the town's police department and school employees are subject to yearly, or more frequent, evaluations.
Weichsel said that the town would look at how yearly evaluations could be done and indicated that forms used in the past might be still available.
At D'Angelo's request, Sciota said he would put together a plan for evaluations and deliver it to the council by the fall.