PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth Mayor David Malone believes that changing leadership during the city’s current fiscal uncertainty would be the wrong move. That is one of the reasons he says he will apply for the position of city manager as the city moves into the council/city manager form of government in 2014. The city was informed last week that it has been placed in “Fiscal Watch” status by the Auditor of State’s office.
“I was talking to a couple of other people in my office yesterday (Thursday) about it,” Malone said. “We think it’s a logical choice for them to just hire me at least for a year or two until we get out of our fiscal situation with the state because I’m intimately involved in the process at this particular time. And bringing someone else, totally new, and who doesn’t know what the issue is, it would take them a couple of years just to understand the workings of the city. For that standpoint I think it would be better just to allow me to stay right involved and just to transition into that position.”
The City Manager Search Committee meets Monday at 6 p.m. at James Dickey Post 23 of the American Legion. According to the “new business” agenda, First Ward City Councilman and Committee member Kevin Johnson reviewed the changes in the Novak Consulting Group (the consultants hired by the city to aid in the search) contract and time line requested by the Committee at the March 4 meeting. He also reviewed the Novak Consulting Group contract changes which specify the involvement of the incumbent mayor in the hiring process. It goes on to say the incumbent Mayor (Malone) had expressed to Council President Steve Sturgill that he plans to apply for the city manager position.
The agenda goes on to say the Novak Consulting Group will continue to include the mayor in the initial process for information gathering purposes, but has removed references of working with the mayor throughout the rest of the consulting contract.
The agenda reads, “Since the incumbent Mayor has expressed interest in applying for the city manager position, this change will avoid conflict of interest during the City Manager hiring process.”
“With seven years on (City) Council, with three being as president, and also three years of being the mayor, my 10 years total experience with city government itself would qualify me,” Malone said. “Saying that, I don’t know what other criteria and qualifications they will include in their requirements.”
Malone said he also believes the relationships his office has established in the community bodes well for his candidacy.
“I have developed and have a good rapport among business leaders, community leaders, all throughout the community, all spectrums of the community,” Malone said. “We’ve developed a good rapport, a lot of support, networking. I think everything is going in a really positive direction.”
The public is being invited to attend Monday evening’s meeting of the City Manager Search Committee.
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.