Toby Wells was already serving as both city engineer and Public Works director before he gained a new responsibility on March 14. He is now acting city manager and could be in that top administrative role for some time.
Wells said the City Council is not rushing out on a search to find a permanent full-time city manager. The plan is to review Wells' performance in June and talk about long-term plans.
The options in June could include asking Wells to serve another three months or embark on an executive search with a head-hunting agency.
"They had a long meeting on Friday (March 14) and didn't want to rush to a conclusion, they wanted a little more time to make sure that they make an educated and informed decision before they move to the next level," said Wells. "It's pretty clear they want to get to a point where they have a full-time city manager."
Mayor Chris Vierra said the council needs to find a way to fund a full-time city manager position.
"That's the captain of the ship, that's the leader of the organization and we can seemingly be willing to fund overtime but why would we be hesitant to fund the city manager position?" asked Vierra. He said the economic slowdown was such that a full-time manager was needed the past three and a half years but that things have changed.
"As the economy is starting to get better," said Vierra, "there's really going to be a lot more required of that position."
Wells' engineering and public works duties are being shared by others and the financial ship is being steered for the most part by Finance Director Sheila Cumberland. However, she has announced her plans to retire later this year.
The council decided to make a switch from the leadership of Police Chief/Director of Public Safety Art deWerk after his filling for three and half years of the city manager void after the departure of Brad Kilger. DeWerk had suggested earlier this month that he was open to being replaced if the council felt that it was time to make a change. DeWerk asked the council to revisit the city's situation to ask "if this is an arrangement that you wish to have continue? That's a fair question and if the council determines that it's time to move to a new arrangement ... then I'm in total support of that."
Wells said that deWerk did a "fantastic job in weathering the storm and helping us to survive."
DeWerk now has full time time to devote to running the Police Department. DeWerk called the loss of Deputy Chief Mike Borges a huge loss in his agency.