Rules of the Road

The purpose of this blog is to share with you my thoughts on issues pertaining to Oil City and Venango County and to foster discussion.

However, that requires some basic rules. Personal attacks, inappropriate language and venom-filled postings will not be tolerated. Comments will be screened, and if necessary edited, before posting.

Disagreement and a variety of opinions are encouraged, but I ask that it always be in a respectful, positive manner. So fire away, but do so cleanly

Sunday, April 22, 2012

That Sinking Feeling

That sinking feeling is what I had Thursday morning when City Manager Ryan Eggleston informed me that he had accepted a position as manager in South Fayette Township, Allegheny County.

I wasn’t beyond feeling it again when he publicly announced it at Thursday night’s city council meeting. And I’m not beyond feeling it now as I write this.
I think a great deal of Ryan personally and professionally.  He has served the city exceptionally well, and by both personality and skills perhaps the absolute best person that could possibly been found to succeed long-time manager Tom Rockovich when he left the city.
Ryan and his family were presented a fantastic opportunity. And I’m glad for him, despite my sadness at seeing him go and my concerns for Oil City and the difficulties we will face in the transition and selection of a new manager.  
Being a city manager is not a job I would want, especially in one of Pennsylvania’s core communities. The deck is stacked against you. I’ve had many long conversations about the job, its pressures and frustrations with a friend who is a city manager elsewhere in the region, and I’m left wondering why anyone would do it. We should be forever grateful there are talented  people like Ryan and my friend who desire to do it.
Council moved to contact Peter Marshall of Municipal Resources Inc. to see if he would meet with us and outline our options and ideas for a manager search and selection and possibly functioning in the interim. Peter Marshall assisted council in its previous manager search that resulted in the hiring of Ryan. I think everyone on council at the time was more than pleased with his work and the approach we took for selection of a new manager under his tutelage.
It is going to be a difficult search, and it can’t help but also present some operational difficulties for the city. Certainly some of the things those of us on council individually or collectively would have liked to see made a short-term priority will have to be put off.
I suspect this transition is going to be harder than the last, in part because we no longer have an assistant city manager to step in on a temporary basis.
I have to close this column by noting that I’m amazed, frustrated and bemused at some of the rumors circulating in the community that have reached my ears, and I suspect I only hear a fraction.  I know of no conspiracy, no “done deal” for a replacement or any of the other many things that are being said, or alluded.  I don't think anyone else on council does either.


Mark M. said...

I felt the same John. Ryan has done as good a job as anyone could do. I see the City having to make tough choices soon. Either it raises taxes (no one wants) or lives within what we have. There are some crucial things that need addressed - like the streets - and they take money. There are some things that I believe the residents could step up and help out with. For instance, I noticed the City workers cleaning up and mulching quite a bit this year. Although I think that it looks great and they did a good job, I'm not sure we need to be paying folks to do that - and there is A LOT of it to be done here. It makes me wonder how they have the time to do it. You can't expect to have luxuries like multiple green spaces and parks maintained by the City and not have to pay for them.

I agree, it's not going to get any easier for you or the next manager. Unfortunately, you will have residents that think you CAN do it all with what you have and they don't realize the costs of benefits, pensions, payroll, etc. continue to increase.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, you will have residents that think you CAN do it all with what you have and they don't realize the costs of benefits, pensions, payroll, etc. continue to increase."

Then city workers need to start to pay more for their pensions and health insurance. This is happening to workers all over the state and the country.

And I agree we should not be paying city workers to spread mulch around at a time like this.