There are many different avenues to evaluate employee performance. My preference would be this: First, any collective agreements and/or contracts that protect the employees working conditions need to be reviewed to ensure that there are no anticipated violations in any review model. Once it can be confirmed that the evaluation system used will not violate any agreed terms, a process can begin. It is important to use a system that can be applied to all employees, regardless of rank, including the CAO. It has been my experience that using different systems to evaluate different jobs only serves to divide and alienate employees. Using a uniform system should clearly show employees that they are all valued, and considered equal, in the role they play serving the Town. This may sound unreasonable to some but it has been proven to work. At some point in the beginning of the process, an organizational chart needs to be established. It should include the mayor and council as partners in the redevelopment of a more positive and inclusive working environment. For the record, I believe the council should be more like governors than managers, a body that oversees the processes to ensure that they are completed properly. I also believe the lack of understanding and oversight in the past was part of the problem that helped perpetuate the current climate. Any planning should include input from the employees. Without their buy-in, the system will likely fail. They should have the opportunity to provide input in whatever form they wish, including anonymously, to ensure there is no fear of repercussion. The goal is to fix the problems, not create new ones. To keep this answer from getting too long, let’s jump to the job descriptions. Clear and defined job descriptions must be established so that people understand what they are accountable for. Once everyone understands what they are responsible for on a day to day basis, then you can begin the process of performance, with all the previously listed considerations of course. Performance should not be evaluated on an ‘either you can do it or your out’ level. There are many competent employees who may just need further direction, support or some training. Evaluation of jobs and performance usually causes an air of fear and/or anger, that needs to be considered and eliminated, as much as possible anyway. At that point, the resulting accountability can be established and implemented. I don’t think it can be defined this early, without first doing all of the steps outlined above.