Annual reviews to resume for top Henderson officials

After seven years with no formal evaluation process, Henderson's top officials will start getting annual reviews again as part of a complete overhaul of the way the city tracks job performance.

The City Council signed off on new evaluation procedures last week, and the changes will begin almost immediately.

Starting in December, top level managers will have their goals set for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Then in January they will start the goal-setting process for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

"It's a real positive step forward for the city," said Human Resources Director Fred Horvath, who developed the new process with the help of City Councilwomen Kathleen Boutin and Debra March.

For reasons no one seems to quite remember, the City Council stopped conducting annual evaluations of its top three appointed officials in 2002.

As soon as Boutin and March joined the council earlier this year, they began pushing for a resumption of public evaluations for the city manager, attorney and clerk, each of whom is appointed and supervised by the five-member council.

In the end, Horvath said, they decided to update the evaluation process for all managers, not just the three appointed ones.

The new procedure applies to the city's 16-member executive team and the roughly 100 managers who report directly to them.

Those employees will be evaluated on how well they meet their goals for each fiscal year. The goals themselves will account for about 60 percent of an employee's rating, Horvath said. The remaining 40 percent will be based on how an employee goes about meeting goals.

"We won't find any value if you accomplish your goals but there are casualties everywhere," he said.

To that end, the evaluation process will include what Horvath described as "360-degree feedback" from the administrators' staffs, peers and the council.

The feedback will be submitted anonymously using new computer software that will also enable managers and their bosses to track job performance on a daily basis.

The evaluation process will begin each January with goal setting linked to the development of department budgets for the coming year.

"It doesn't make sense to have goals you haven't funded," Horvath explained.

The city's lack of an evaluation process was cited by former City Manager Mary Kay Peck in a lawsuit against Henderson.

The council fired Peck in April, and she filed suit in May, claiming in part that she never received a performance review in her 18 months on the job and was never given a chance to address any of the complaints that led to her dismissal.

Peck's federal lawsuit was dismissed in October.

Contact reporter Henry Brean at or 702-383-0350.