Howell County News/Lou Wehmer

Petition Meeting on Hiring a City Manager Held in Mountain View

Just over twenty-five citizens met at the Mountain View Community Center Thursday evening, October 19, for a Town Hall Meeting. The event was opened and moderated by Lucinda Burton, who stated, "All of the Mountain View Aldermen were invited but refused to come." The meeting opened just after 6 p.m. A uniformed city police officer was there and joined by another officer during the meeting, which opened for public comments at 6:06 p.m.
Mayor John Krasuski was there and advised the group that he was, “Trying to stay neutral, but I want to do what the citizens want.” He stated he puts in about thirty hours a week as Mayor and believes the city will need a manager, but did not feel it needs one now. He also stated that at present, he, Eddie Owens, and the department heads are running the city efficiently. 
The first question to the Mayor was, “Can the city afford a manager?” Mayor Krasuski responded the city was in sound financial condition with a good buffer for emergencies. A following question from the audience asked, “What is the job description for a city manager? He responded that the request for applications did not include one. In response, an audience member stated they had worked for the city for a part-time twelve-dollar-an-hour job and were provided with a job description. "If I got a job description, we sure as heck need one for city manager."
A discussion of the actual cost of a city manager was followed by an additional discussion of the city's financial condition. “Are we spending more than we are taking in?” was answered by the Mayor, “We have a good budget.” The meeting continued for just over an hour, and the conversation was relaxed and polite. Mayor Krasuski told the group that in the future he would be holding a town hall meeting like this one hour before the regular council meetings, inviting public comment.
A question was asked, "Where would the salary for an administrator come from?" The Mayor replied, “City general funds and possibly grant proceeds.” During the meeting, he advised the group that he believed Mountain View would have fiber-delivered internet in city homes by spring. A concern for empty buildings downtown was expressed. The Mayor stated that this is a national phenomenon, but that he is for economic development, which would be part of the job of a city manager. The Mayor felt the city needed to work on infrastructure to attract new business. He said he was taking the suggestions from the attendees of the meeting to the City Council. He and most of those in attendance arrived at a consensus if a city manager is hired, they need to be “a good one.” They want the hiring process open and fair.
An accusation of favoritism on the part of the City Council in the hiring process was made, and a question of why this petition meeting was not advertised was also raised.
The Mayor advised that, to date, four applications for City Manager have been received. A total of 77 signed petitions had been gathered at the meeting’s conclusion. The petition asks three questions: “1. Should Mountain View hire a City Manager, 2. Hire a part-time Financial Officer, or 3. Hire an Administrative Assistant to the Mayor and Operations Manager for Paperwork & HR, along with a part-time Financial Officer for approximately the same cost as a City Manager? All three questions have a yes or no option.
Interviews for the four applicants will be held October 24 in closed session after press time. The next regular meeting of the Mountain View City Council will be on November 14, at 6:00 p.m. 
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