During the five years the Clay County Utility Authority has been under Ray Avery's leadership, the agency has expanded several times and continues to move into developing areas of the county.
A private utility company owner who took over as executive director of the authority in April 1995, Avery has received praise for his managerial skills from the authority's seven-member board of supervisors.
Unlike many top managers in public agencies and governmental bodies, however, Avery has never been required to meet specific job performance standards in a formal evaluation procedure.
That's probably going to change soon.
The authority's personnel committee will recommend to the full board on Tuesday that criteria be established for an annual evaluation of the executive director each November.
A list of proposed criteria for the job was offered Tuesday by Ron Kart, personnel chairman, and endorsed by fellow committee members Timothy J. Radigan and Mae Byers, who first proposed an evaluation policy for the executive director several weeks ago.
The committee identified 10 major responsibilities of the executive director, including:
-- Communicates with employees in a way that promotes a positive, open and cooperative organizational culture.
-- Provides information and appropriate recommendations regarding policies and procedures for board action.
-- Promotes proper public image for the authority.
-- Promotes a healthy working relationship with other governmental entities.
-- Implements and recommends, as appropriate, sound fiscal policy consistent with accepted financial practices.
-- Ensures quality products and services are provided to customers and activities are completed in a timely manner within budget.
-- Promotes a work environment that encourages employee retention, training and development and equitable compensation.
Avery, whose base salary is $98,093, also prepared a list that contained 17 "keys to management of water, wastewater and reclaimed water utilities."
Byers commended Avery for being so thorough, and she especially praised him for the following recommendation that the executive director:
"Coordinate the expansion of capital facilities so that they are adequate for the needs of the area, population growth and that the incremental capital investments are reasonable to facilitate existing and anticipated future rates of growth, while taking advantage of the economies of scale."
"I commend him for being that explicit," Byers said.
Byers previously has stated that she has no reason to think Avery has not managed the utility system effectively. She said she simply thinks the board needs an objective way to measure his performance to determine whether he is excelling or falling below acceptable managerial standards.
Though Radigan supported the proposed evaluation policy, he made it clear that he thinks Avery has done an outstanding job so far.
"If you haven't been doing these things for the past five or six years we wouldn't be where we are today, anyway," Radigan said to Avery in the committee conference room. …