On Feb. 22, East Lansing City Council began gearing up for an annual review of East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas by first approving a performance evaluation form.
In accordance with Lahanas’ contract, this evaluation must take place before May 31, 2022. Preparation for the upcoming evaluation comes after there was apparently no official assessment of the City Manager’s job performance done in calendar year 2021.
The now-approved evaluation form allows the five members of City Council to rate, comment on, and provide action items for the City Manager’s performance in eight different categories: professionalism, communication, community relations, leadership, financial management, management of the organization, interaction with City Council, and policy execution.
In each category, Council members will rank Lahanas as “exceeding expectations”, “meeting expectations”, or “in need of improvement.” They will then provide comments to support their decision and add action items at their discretion — they are marked optional in each section.
The last time Council took a close look at Lahanas’ performance was in September 2020, about 10 months prior to Lahanas’ employment contract with the City expiring. He got good marks in his 360 review then, when he was also revealed to be a finalist for the City Manager position in Mankato, Minnesota.
A “360 [degree] review,” as described by Lahanas in an email to ELi, is a review “designed to gather feedback from a group of employees who know and work closely with the manager being reviewed.”
During the upcoming evaluation, only the five elected members of City Council will weigh in on the City Manager’s performance. Lahanas’ job performance will be discussed in a closed session.
In February 2019, amid praise from Council, Lahanas received a pay raise that bumped his base salary from $143,000 to $167,000. That contract — the same one Lahanas was employed under during his 360 review in September 2020 — was originally set to expire June 30, 2021.
However, after a tumultuous few months in the middle of 2020, then-Mayor Aaron Stephens pushed to extend Lahanas’ contract in the fall of 2020. This came a number of weeks after then-Mayor Ruth Beier said in a tirade — right before resigning mid-meeting — that Council would be coming for Lahanas’ job.
Instead, as Lahanas got good reviews from the 24 employees queried in the 360 review — employees that Lahanas himself chose, Council moved ahead with extending his contract.
Council voted unanimously to approve a new, four-year contract on Sept 22, 2020, as Stephens said the City was “turning the page.”
That contract, set to expire in June 2024, is worth over $200,000 per year.
It includes the same base salary of $167,000, an automatic increases of 1.75% annually, a $3,600 yearly car allowance, payments for professional development, home internet service, a cell phone, a computer, term life insurance, and an annual contribution to his retirement equal to 10.5% of his salary, as well as other benefits.
The next 360 review is currently scheduled to take place around May 2023.