GRANGEVILLE – It’s the same faces but new roles for two City of Grangeville employees.
Tonya Kennedy is now Grangeville City Administrator, appointed last month by the council, a position she will hold along that as city clerk.
Bob Mager advances from his role as public works maintenance supervisor to appointment as public works director. Council approved the step up at the Jan. 7 council meeting.
“Welcome aboard to your new job, Bob,” Mayor Wes Lester said, following a unanimous council vote to appoint Mager. He replaces Jeff McFrederick, who has served as director since December 2011. McFrederick advised Mayor Lester of his intention to resign more than two weeks ago to take another job.
Mager has worked for city public works since 1990. In this position he will oversee the sewer plant and public works (streets, water, sewer and parks) and eight full-time and one part-time employees. Also keeping him busy is serving as chief for the Grangeville Volunteer Fire Department, of which he has been a member since 1994.
“I want to be there to help people figure out their problems and to determine solutions on what needs to be done,” Mager said on his focus for the position. Filling his vacated role as public works maintenance supervisor is Eric Jones.
Mager has the future of the city in mind for several upcoming projects. One is implementing the cross-control program, a system of devices and monitoring to prevent backflow contamination.
“We want to have the public informed on what it is and why we’re doing this,” he said. “It’s to protect the system at all times, so when they turn the faucet on, they have a clean glass of water.”
City water and sewer systems are under engineering analysis – a water model completed and sewer model under way. Mager said these are important to help improve deficiencies of water pressure and fire flows, and to meet the needs of planned subdivision expansions as well as town’s core.
He will continue department progress on streets improvement, with the understanding some underground utility projects may delay work in some areas. This avoids waste in spending tax dollars to repair a street, according to Mager, that will be torn up shortly afterward to install a water or sewer line.
For the areas of water, sewer and streets, “we want to fix these issues and set them up so the next generation will be able to handle whatever growth the town needs,” Mager said. “Because we’re thinking of the town’s future at all times.”
Kennedy has served as city clerk since 2002. The direction toward a city administration position moves Kennedy from a department head to overseeing department heads – police, city hall, public works, library, Snowhaven Ski Hill and the city pool. She will serve as the frontline supervisor for city employees, working closely with the mayor who oversees all personnel.
“The main reason behind this is to have one main point of contact for the city,” Kennedy said, “that helps maintain continuity for all departments, all divisions, and provide that things are running smoothly.” She continued, the position is also accessible during normal business hours, so she can provide information and direction to citizens when they come into or call city hall.
As administration, she will provide a source of institutional knowledge to not only assist the mayor and council but also help during transitions in these positions.
As part of this transition, city staffer Janell Arnzen has taken on the role of city treasurer, previously held by Kennedy. This distribution will improve the city’s checks and balances in providing financial oversight to a second person, according to Kennedy.
“I’m looking forward to this,” Kennedy said, “providing support, helping citizens and maintaining good services.”