Change would limit time acting directors can serve

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City Council President Doug Shields said yesterday that he will introduce legislation today to change the city code to prevent acting department heads from serving indefinitely without council approval.

The legislation is geared toward addressing problems like the 11-month tenure of acting city solicitor George Specter, which has dragged on despite the code's 90-day limit on temporary directorships. The solicitor directs the city Law Department.

Under the legislation, a mayor could not leave an acting director in place for more than 30 days without seeking council approval. With council's nod, the person could continue serving in the acting capacity indefinitely.

The issue gained new weight with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's July 14 request for resignation letters from 10 city officials and authority heads, and his invitation to them to reapply as part of a national search for managers.

Mr. Specter, originally considered one of the 10, has said he does not have to resign because he is only an acting director and that he will apply for the job he's been doing on a temporary basis.


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