The administrative committee is holding meetings to review and update the city personnel manual, but the discussed changes may alter the way employees are evaluated and raises are given.

The booklet is seen as an employee handbook that contains everything employees need to know about their job with the city. The last review of the manual was conducted in 2006.

Alderman Steve Myers chairs the administrative committee, which held its first manual review meeting Jan. 3. Other members are Aldermen Nick Chlebowski and Andrew Nemeth.

It turns out that city employees have not in the past been subject to formal review of their performance. One proposed amendment in the manual will change that.

If the amended manual is adopted by the full board, in the future every department head will conduct a formal performance review of each individual in his or her department once a year.

It is unclear whether or not the performance review mandate would require some action beyond mention in the employee handbook. But committee members were unanimous in their belief that performance reviews should be city policy.

In attendance at the meeting where this discussion took place were City Administrator Steve Roth, Police Chief Matt Mansell and Aldermen Carol Johnson and Mike Pigg.

Mansell said he liked the idea of performance reviews and often feels stymied because there is no vehicle to compare the performance of officers with each other. He said he and his staff could easily fit in reviews for each individual in the department in the lead up to budget planning.

Johnson questioned one phrase in a proposed definition of personnel reviews that said employees would be evaluated based on personal traits. She said the city could not withhold advancement or raises for employees based on personal traits.

The committee agreed to reword that section.

Committee members stressed that the goal of the manual is to make sure employees know what is expected of them on the job and also know what they can expect from the city as their employer.

The committee is striving to clarify the workplace rules and promises in language that leaves no room for confusion.

Once the committee completes its proposed draft it will go to the full board of aldermen for adoption.