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Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel

EVALUATION HIGHLIGHTS

“Cleveland’s City Manager is a fine person!!! Some of her decisions are non-effective, that have created great concern for our city!!!”

— Councilman Dale Hughes

“Works well with fellow employees and continues to learn from evolving situations from day to day, as we all are.”

— Councilman Charlie McKenzie

“Janice is a very hard-working person who truly loves and cares for the people of our community and her fellow employees. She is very focus[ed] and dedicated to the duties and responsibilities of the city manager’s job.”

— Councilman Avery Johnson

“The City of Cleveland is in a sound financial position as a direct result of the skill and expertise of Janice Casteel, our City Manager.”

— Councilman Richard Banks

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Richard Banks' evaluation of Janice Casteel

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David May's evaluation of Janice Casteel

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Charlie McKenzie's evaluation of Janice Casteel

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Bill Estes' evaluation of Janice Casteel

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Avery Johnson's evaluation of Janice Casteel

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Dale R. Hughes' evaluation of Janice Casteel

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The first performance evaluation of Janice Casteel in her role as Cleveland's city manager is complete, and her performance in most categories has been "above average"or "excellent," City Council members wrote.

Casteel has been city manager since 2008.

On Wednesday, the city released her written evaluations, which were to be submitted by council members to the mayor's office by Monday.

Except for Vice Mayor George Poe, council members generally ranked her performance as "above average" or "excellent" in most categories, especially fiscal management. Other categories included personal effort, composure and appearance; professional skills and status; relations with mayor/City Council; policy execution; reporting; citizen relations; staffing, and supervision.

Poe did not submit a written evaluation for Casteel and said he does not plan to do so.

"On Monday, she asked why I had not turned in a form, and I told her that is because I evaluate her daily," Poe said. "I told her that when I have a problem, I talk to her. We don't agree on everything, but she will talk with me."

Poe said he believes in promoting from within and feels that Casteel, who has been employed by Cleveland for more than 40 years, has a better understanding of the city's government than anyone.

"I think we should keep her," Poe said. "All in all, she's done a good job. She's not perfect, but I'm not perfect either."

In Monday's City Council meeting, Casteel described the evaluation process as "a very positive experience," citing one-on-one discussions with the council members.

In late May, the Cleveland City Council voted 6-1 to evaluate Casteel's performance after businessman Ben Moore publicly asked them to remove her from office. Only Councilman Charlie McKenzie, who ranked Casteel as "excellent" in nearly every category on her written evaluation, voted against the measure.

Councilman Richard Banks, who scored Casteel as "satisfactory" or "below average" under the evaluation form's staffing items, previously said Moore and other taxpayers had approached him about their concerns over her handling of the police department's leadership.

The annual Crime in Tennessee report by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says Cleveland's crime rate is well above the state average.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Police Department lost two chiefs — Wes Snyder and Dennis Maddux — after separate sex scandals in 16 months.

Maddux, who technically was police chief for one day, resigned in May after an internal investigation concluded that he lied to investigators about a months-long affair he was having with a subordinate officer's wife.

Snyder, who served many years as police chief, retired in January 2014 after surveillance video surfaced that showed him trysting with a woman at a rental storage unit equipped with blankets, a lawn chair and a bottle of brandy.

"In my opinion, our personnel department needs some work," wrote Banks in the evaluation's section on improvement needs. "As we all know, our city has received an enormous amount of negative attention as a result of problems in our police department."

With all the submitted evaluations combined, Casteel received an "average" score on recruitment and retention of competent personnel.

City Councilman Dale Hughes' evaluation comments expressed concern that Casteel was "not able to ascertain some areas that are needing improvement" because of her long relationships with some employees.

Councilman Bill Estes enumerated several items he considered to be Casteel's strengths, based on her actions taken in the last five years, including the retention of the Whirlpool facility in Cleveland, continually funding the city school system and soliciting law enforcement consultant Larry Wallace "to assist in righting the direction" of the Cleveland Police Department.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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