City to have two assistant city managers

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Salisbury soon will have two assistant city managers, part of a citywide reorganization designed to help balance a tight budget and take some of the workload off City Manager David Treme.
Treme said he will promote John Sofley, the city’s management services director, to assistant city manager for management and public services. Sofley has worked for Salisbury since 1987.
Doug Paris, who joined the city in 2007, has served as assistant city manager since September 2010.
During Treme’s annual evaluation this year, City Council asked him to decrease the number of people who report directly to him, Mayor Susan Kluttz said. Council members were concerned that Treme was overburdened, she said.
“We have doubled his workload with the responsibility of Fibrant,” Kluttz said. “Our only criticism was that he works too much.”
Fibrant is the city’s new telecommunications utility, which sells Internet, cable TV and phone service.
Treme currently has 14 direct reports. Management literature suggests a city manager should have seven to 10. After the realignment, which should be complete by July 1, Treme will have 10 direct reports.
The reorganization comes as Salisbury contends with the leanest budget in Treme’s 25-year tenure.
City staff have worked to find ways to close a $2.7 million budget gap. The city also faces a $610,622 increase in mandated costs like insurance and retirement, as well as an 8 percent decrease in tax base due to revaluation.
The city has eliminated 36 full-time positions, including four layoffs, and 26 employees took early retirement.
To make the city more efficient, Treme said he is combining several city divisions, including consolidating the maintenance and landscaping operations and placing all facility management activities in one department.
Development Services Division has been placed under Community Planning Services Department. Communications and marketing efforts have been consolidated, and the Public Works Department will take on storm water and traffic management.
“In my opinion, this reorganization will result in better oversight of the city’s operations,” Treme said.
It’s not unusual for a city to have more than one assistant city manager, he said.
“It depends on what I think will work best for our city,” Treme said. “In my opinion and based on my experience, I feel good about this change.”
Paris and Sofley are the two top graded positions in the city, Treme said.
With the promotion, Sofley will earn a higher salary, Treme said. He hasn’t decided how much, he said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.