By Frank Lewis
January 7, 2014
PDT Staff Writer
Derek Allen was all smiles following the organizational meeting of Portsmouth City Council Monday night. It was at that meeting that Allen was given the oath of office to officially become Portsmouth’s new city manager — the first since that form of government was re-instated in 2012 by voters.
“I have a lot of optimism,” Allen told the Daily Times. “We’ve got some exciting ideas, and we’re going to move Portsmouth forward. I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Allen had been village administrator for the village of Delta, Ohio, prior to accepting the position, and comes to the city while it is in the midst of digging out from fiscal watch status administered by the Auditor of State’s office, but at the same time, with a twinge of optimism in the air with the city setting an income tax collection record of $10 million in 2013.
Allen will be collecting a salary of $105,000 a year. But a closer look at the contract shows some additional benefits built-in. In addition to his annual base salary of $105,000, Allen will receive health, disability and life insurance benefits, and will be entitled to accrue all unused leave, “without limit,” and in the event his contract is terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily, he will also be compensated for all accrued vacation time.
In addition, Allen will be given the sum of $2,500 a year payable in equal monthly installments of $208.33 as a vehicle allowance to be used to purchase, lease, or own, operate and maintain a vehicle, meaning a private vehicle. He will, however, be responsible for paying for liability, property damage, an comprehensive insurance coverage and he will be responsible for all expenses attendant to the purchase, operation, maintenance, repair and regular replacement of that vehicle.
“We’ve got to get a 2014 budget in place, and figure out where we are financially, and making sure we are moving forward on regaining a good fiscal foothold in this community,” Allen said. “That’s my priority.”
His resume also lists as accomplishments as reducing audit citations and the elimination of Ohio EPA violations at the Water Treatment and Wastewater Treatment plants. Allen reported in his resume that he retired four loans and performed infrastructure repairs without issuing further long term debt; improved the financial situation in the Water Fund from near bankruptcy to solvency in three years, and successfully renegotiated the water contract with the village’s largest water consumer from a 20-year contract with a low locked in rate to a water rate comparable to today’s prices.
Allen’s resume said he restructured the entire financial system of budgeting cost accounting and utility billing, including discovery and correction of $92,420 of utility over-billing to the village’s two largest utility customers.
Now he begins working with six people he has only come to know in recent weeks.
“I am very pleased with the Council,” Allen said. “I think it’s going to be a very wonderful group of men to work with, and leadership to move this community forward.”
Allen said he just moved into the city this past weekend, but has high hopes.
“I’m excited about the community,” Allen said. “I’m going to enjoy being here. It’s a wonderful community.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.