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.