It may soon get easier for the city to fire department heads in Lebanon.
Councilors will likely soon vote on a measure that could eventually allow either the mayor or the majority of council to terminate department heads.
Currently, the mayor and at least four councilors must approve terminating any department heads. However, if the change proposed initially by Councilor Kathy Warmath takes effect, the mayor could terminate a department head without council approval or vice versa.
Mayor Philip Craighead said the proposed procedure differs from most other municipalities.
“The vast majority, the hiring and firing is done mostly by the mayor or city manager or, really, through personnel,” said Craighead.
He cited potential liability or political issues with involving the city council with the process.
“It could get political and they could say, ‘We don’t want you; we want to put somebody else in,’” said Craighead. “Not of this council, but ones in the future…You never know.”
For the change to happen, council must vote to seek a private act in the state legislature to change the city’s charter.
Council already approved the measure once and sent a request to the state, but the request was kicked back.
“I think there might’ve been a conflict with it as the state looked at it,” said Mayor Philip Craighead.
The city has revised the wording and plans to resubmit it.
“We’re just fixing it up, I think, so that we can send it back down to Nashville to see if we can get it through the process this year or not,” said Craighead.
The measure would also update the city’s charter to define the existing department head positions, which eliminates a Commissioner of Public Safety and adds a Director of Public Safety position.