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Discussions continue on city administrator position

The Liberty Lake City Council reached no decision Tuesday on the ongoing, sometimes heated, discussion on whether to name community development director Doug Smith the city administrator.

The ordinance to create and fund the new position was broken into three parts during the meeting. Each section had a first reading and will be voted on during the council’s next meeting. “We can take them in little portions and get them taken care of,” said Mayor Wendy Van Orman.

The first ordinance will handle acceptance of a $50,000 grant to purchase and equip a new SUV for the police department, which requires a line item on the budget. “We have to pay for it first and then get reimbursed,” Van Orman said.

The second ordinance will include the city’s new organizational chart without the city administrator position, and the third ordinance will focus on the city administrator position.

“It was just discussion,” Van Orman said of the meeting. “It was basically finding out what they need to make that educated decision.”

Van Orman has argued that Smith has been doing the work of a city administrator for some time, while council members have questioned the need for such a move.

In other business, the council voted to approve a renewal of the interlocal agreement with Spokane County to provide criminal justice services. It passed unanimously. “Some of those items went up, some of those items went down,” she said. “It’s kind of a wash.”

The city also has set the schedule for the remodel of the new police station and library. The city will advertise for bids in September and open the bids on Oct. 2. The council plans to award the contract during its Oct. 7 meeting, with construction scheduled to begin Oct. 13.