Newell swears in administrators

PARKERSBURG – Three administrators were sworn in Wednesday and three more are awaiting next week’s approval by Parkersburg City Council.

Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell led a small swearing-in ceremony for Finance Director Angie Smith, City Engineer Justin Smith and Public Works Director Rick Lemley, each of whom took the oath of office.

Four administrative positions are on the agenda for approval by council on Tuesday: City Attorney Joe Santer, Personnel Director Pam Salvage, City Development Director Ann Conageski and City Municipal Judge William Crichton.

Lemley, who has been working for the city since 1975, is the only administrator new to a position. Lemley was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Jerry Edman, who retired in December.

Newell said the city’s administrators must be reappointed at the beginning of a new term. Newell was elected to a third term as mayor in November.

“Even though I am remaining, my old term expired Dec. 31,” along with appointed positions, he said. The administrators “have to be approved at the beginning of each new administration.”

Newell said he does not expect any additional administrative changes in the near future, but added departments continue to be evaluated for efficiency and areas where positions can be consolidated.

The city already has identified six supervisor positions in the Public Works department that will be eliminated through attrition. Newell said officials also are looking at combining the city court clerk and parking supervisor into one position.

“Throughout the year you’ll see additional situations like that,” he said. “As far as promotions or new hires, it won’t involve that at all. It’ll be through lateral moves. We will continue to look at places where we can combine duties through attrition.”

Newell said officials also are being careful to make sure any such moves do not directly impact services.

“We are not going to be looking at reducing police or firemen or even those guys who are out in the field working on the streets,” he said. “It’s more the internal support staff we will be looking at.”

Newell also said some positions are required through the city’s charter and would not be considered for consolidation or elimination.

“We can’t fool around with those,” he said.