City Administrator Lori Luther 1, Mayor Jeff Scrima 0
When we say we have a weak mayor in Waukesha, we aren’t messing around. Tonight, Mayor Jeff Scrima discovered the hard way just how weak he is. The City Administrator is answerable to the Common Council, not the mayor. (I argued strongly against this and lost the argument.) The one hold the mayor had over the city administrator was the performance review. Even then, Mayor Larry Nelson asked the Common Council for their input on Lori Luther’s job appraisals.
Our commenter Dean (the non-blogging Dean) passes along that the Common Council decided to take over that part of Scrima’s duties, too.
Maybe this will be the wake-up call for Scrima that if he wants to do anything, he’s going to need to learn how to work and play well with others.
By the way, I’d like to just say to the former mayor he finally won the argument. I believe in an independent city administrator. For now.
Update! From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Laurel Walker:
After a 90-minute meeting behind closed doors, the Common Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to strip newly elected Mayor Jeff Scrima of any supervisory authority over City Administrator Lori Curtis Luther.
Without discussion or explanation, aldermen amended Luther’s employment agreement so that the Common Council evaluates her, recommends and votes on her salary and is her direct supervisor. The amended language also requires Luther to meet with the council and committee chairs on a regular basis.
In an interview Monday, Luther said she had expressed concerns about the terms and conditions of her employment with Common Council President Paul Ybarra. He brought the matter before the full council.
Luther said she wouldn’t say that friction between herself and Scrima was at the bottom of her concerns. However, Luther has publicly been at odds with him, for example, questioning his secretly taping a meeting between herself, Scrima and two attorneys.
With the unanimous vote, the Common Council is making it clear that it’s time for Scrima to end the drama.