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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Assistant sought for city manager

Friday, September 27, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Wanted: Some help for Martinsville City Manager Leon Towarnicki.

The city is advertising for an assistant city manager. Towarnicki said Wednesday that to his knowledge, no applications have been received yet.

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 22.

The assistant manager is one of two new high-ranking jobs included in the current fiscal year’s budget.

Towarnicki, who formerly was the city’s public works director, said he needs some help because in addition to overseeing all day-to-day operations of the city now, he has continued spearheading public works projects.

The hiring of a new public works director is expected to be announced soon.

However, Towarnicki said he needs someone to share his daily management responsibilities.

In having to oversee everything, he said, “it doesn’t leave much time to do the bigger things” that city managers typically handle, such as trying to find grants for projects, determining projects that the city should pursue in the future and reviewing city policies to make sure they remain effective.

According to the job description, the assistant manager will help with the city’s overall management and administration, take part in planning efforts and help evaluate the city’s programs and general operations.

The new hire will oversee several city departments and may be delegated “significant projects” that require “a high level of expertise, coordination, analysis and political sensitivity,” the description states.

Also, the description shows, the assistant manager will respond to concerns voiced by city employees, Martinsville City Council and the public.

“Ideally,” Towarnicki said, the person hired should have “the abilities to step into the role of city manager if something happens to the manager” resulting in him not being able to carry out his duties, or if the manager quits.

Martinsville City Council, not the city manager, would name an interim city manager if such a situation occurred, he said.

He emphasized that he has no plans to leave Martinsville.

Qualifications for the assistant manager include a college degree in public administration or a related field, plus at least 10 years of experience in government administration, including experience in supervision, directing programs and dealing with budgets, the description shows.

Applicants with other combinations of education and experience may be considered for the job if it is determined that they have abilities and skills needed to do it, the description indicates.

Overall, it shows, the assistant manager must have thorough understanding of how city governments are organized and operate, city financial structures and laws pertaining to city operations, plus the ability to analyze complex problems and come up with sound solutions for dealing with them.

The assistant’s starting salary will be between $78,517 and $88,331, depending on his or her qualifications and experience. In comparison, Towarnicki is earning $115,000 a year.

Martinsville has not had a full-time assistant city manager in about a decade. The position was eliminated due to budget cuts after a past assistant left.

Since then, a department head has doubled as assistant city manager. Along with being the public works director, Towarnicki was the assistant manager under former city manager Clarence Monday. The council appointed him as interim city manager after Monday left for a job in Amherst County.

A budget analyst/assistant finance director is the other major new position being funded. The job initially will pay between $66,635 and $83,293 a year.

Sept. 20 was the deadline to apply. Towarnicki said he understands the city received about 20 resumes, which now are being reviewed.

Duties of the budget analyst, according to its job description, will include monitoring city spending, coordinating preparation of annual budgets and developing financial reports and budget recommendations and policies.

The job requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting or public administration, the description shows.

Linda Conover was the budget analyst before she was promoted to finance director about two years ago, and the job went unfilled.

An independent auditor found that the finance department is understaffed for a city of Martinsville’s size. The auditor concluded that the department’s ability to efficiently do its work could suffer if other employees leave, hence the need for another employee.

As hiring processes for those positions move forward, the city is looking for a new human resources director. The previous director, Donna O’Dell, retired.

The director manages employee recruitment and selection processes and handles matters pertaining to salaries, benefits and workers compensation, according to the job description. Additional duties include ensuring the city complies with employment laws and advising city management on how to handle employment and workforce matters.

Applications for human resources director will be accepted until Sept. 30. The position will pay between $66,635 and $83,293 annually.

Towarnicki said he hopes all three positions can be filled by the end of the year.


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