By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
The News & Journal announced in its January 4, 2018 edition that Shinnston City Manager Amy Wilson would be leaving her position with the City on January 22nd to become the Executive Director of the Harrison County Economic Development Corporation. Since that time, Mayor Sam DeMarco has announced his plans NOT to run for City Council again in the June 5th City Election when four Ward Council seats will be on the ballot. Mayor DeMarco will remain as Mayor of Shinnston until his current term expires on July 1, 2018.
“I have served the community for 20 years, and I just feel that now is the time to let someone new step into that post. I will continue to work full-time at the FBI and leaving my service as mayor will allow me a little more time to take care of some home projects that have been on hold and spend a little more time with my family,” he stated. “Also I do plan to continue to officiate at sporting events, where right now there is a shortage of officials. I just feel the time has come, but I will always continue to be involved in my community.”
Losing both of those who hold key positions in the City within a short period of time may present a hardship for a while … as happens when drastic changes come about. However, City Manager Amy Wilson says that with the new position she will be assuming next week, it was part of the agreement that they would be understanding about her dividing her time between the two jobs until the newly named City Manager would feel comfortable working alone.
Mayor DeMarco added, “Amy will still help the City on an ‘as needed’ basis during the day and/or at night until a selection is made. She has been very gracious in offering to do this and the Economic Development Corporation as well was aware from the beginning that this might be necessary. Fortunately, there has been a strong cooperative understanding between both entities, and we are very appreciative of that.”
The application period for those wanting to be considered for the City Manager’s position closed on Monday. Mrs. Wilson reports that 15 had inquired about possibly applying, but the City only received seven applications prior to the deadline.
“I am in the process of preparing packets of information on each of the candidates for that job as we speak, and they will be given to Council to review. Four of the applicants were very local; the majority of the applicants were within Harrison County; and only one was out of state but has the intention to move to Harrison County. All seemed to be very qualified, but that decision will lie in Council’s hands,” Mrs. Wilson stated.
Mayor DeMarco added, “Council members will review all of this information privately before we meet on Monday at 7 p.m. to discuss the applications … then interviews will need to be scheduled … and then our choices will be narrowed down, eventually resulting in a decision.”
However, Mayor DeMarco admitted that because of the time issue being prohibitive, no choice will be made before Wilson’s departure. Because she is willing to work ‘as needed’ and has volunteered to participate in the new City Manager’s training AND because of the cooperation promised by the Economic Development Corporation, DeMarco said there would likely be no need to name an Interim City Manager.
Mrs. Wilson continued, “This is my home now and I deeply care about this community. I want to see it continue to grow and that is why I am willing to do this without asking for a contract. We have many things in progress at this time and there are deadlines that must be met. I don’t want these projects to lie on a desk unattended and fall through the cracks. Additionally, when a new person steps in, it would be impossible to explain everything to him or her in just a week or two. So I am more than happy to help out until the new hire feels fully confident. I will do everything I can to make the transition a smooth one, and fortunately the Economic Development Corporation also realizes the importance of this and is graciously allowing me to split my time as needed.”
Regarding the June City Council election, the filing period for candidates opened on January 8, 2018 and will end on January 27, 2018. As of late Tuesday afternoon, The News & Journal was informed that as is typical, interested parties seem to be waiting until the last minute to file their candidacy for the four Ward seats on City Council that will be available. Although several applications have been picked up at the City’s administrative office, only one filing has been made and that was in Ward 4.
Readers will be kept informed as to the names that will appear on the June City ballot after the filing period has ended.