Paducah Announces City Manager Finalists
By West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH, KY - The City of Paducah has selected four finalists for the City Manager position. Paducah mayor Brandi Harless announced the names at a called meeting of the Board of Commissioners for a budget workshop.

For the last several months, the city has been working with Strategic Government Resources of Keller, Texas, to conduct a nationwide search for the recruitment and selection of the next city manager. 
The candidates, in alphabetical order, are as follows:
James (Jim) Arndt has more than 14 years of local government experience and spent an additional six years as a police officer and three years serving in the United States Army. He currently serves the City of Effingham, Illinois, where he has worked as their City Administrator for the past eight years. He has also been the Administrator for the City of St. Clair, Missouri and the Village of Union City, Ohio. Arndt holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies, both from Eastern Illinois University, and is an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Credentialed Manager. 
James (Jim) Halasz has been the County Administrator for Halifax County, Virginia for the past six years, and before that he spent twelve years serving as the Deputy City Manager for the City of Staunton, Virginia. In total he has more than 28 years of local government experience in addition to four years of experience working for Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. Halasz holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Michigan State University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Siena Heights College.
Cole O’Donnell has more than 20 years of local government experience.  He most recently served the City of Dixon, Illinois as City Manager.  Before that, he was the City Administrator for the City of East Moline, Illinois for five years and the City Administrator for the City of Algona, Iowa for almost 12 years. O’Donnell is a graduate of Iowa State University and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He also is an ICMA Credentialed Manager.
James (Mark) Rooney also has an accomplished background with more than 22 years of local government experience and a distinguished career in the United States Army. He most recently served as Village Manager for the Villages of Carpentersville and Wheeling, Illinois, and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring from duty in 2014.  Rooney holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and History from the University of Nebraska, is a Graduate of Command & General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and is also an ICMA Credentialed Manager.
Mayor Harless said, “I am extremely pleased with how the search is progressing and the experience of the candidates who have applied for the City Manager position. The recruitment has generated an exceptional number of quality candidates, and the City Commission looks forward to learning more about our four finalists during the on-site interview process.”

On May 21 and 22, the four finalists will be in Paducah. The public is invited to a meet & greet reception on May 21, (the time and location have yet to be determined). In addition to the reception, the candidates will  participate in face-to-face interviews with the board, tour the city, and meetwith department directors. Also, SGR will continue the vetting process on the candidates including a psychometric assessment, media search, and a rigorous background investigation.
Applications were accepted for the position through April 13, which resulted in an applicant pool of 32 candidates from 17 states with 19 of the candidates having city manager or assistant/deputy city manager experience.  On April 17th, the Paducah Board of Commissioners met with SGR Senior Vice President Doug Thomas to review the candidate pool and select semifinalists to continue in the search process. That process narrowed the candidate pool to ten semifinalists. Those candidates completed a comprehensive questionnaire, online video interviews, an applicant Predictive Index Assessment, and additional application materials.

Commissioners narrowed the field to four candidates on May 9th.
In January, the Board selected SGR of Keller, Texas to conduct and assist in the nationwide search for the recruitment and selection of Paducah’s next City Manager. Parks & Recreation Director Mark Thompson has been serving as Interim City Manager since January 13th. 

In other business, the commissioners acted on a notice of intent for storm water discharges from City of Paducah.

The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a municipal order to submit a Notice of Intent to the Kentucky Division of Water to be authorized for storm water discharges from our Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (SMS4). The Kentucky Division of Water has reissued Paducah’s permit to operate the SMS4. The current permit is for May 1, 2018, through April 30, 2023. Within thirty days of the May 1st effective date, Paducah must submit this Notice of Intent. The City has held its permit since 2003. An SMS4 permit requires a variety of information including a sewer system map showing all major storm sewer outfalls, the names and locations of streams, and the delineation of the watershed drainage areas. The permit also requires the City to provide an annual report of its best management practices including public education, public involvement, pollution prevention, detection and elimination of illicit discharges, control of the runoff from construction sites, and construction management practices. For more information on this subject visit
The Paducah Board of Commissioners and Department Directors also participated in a Budget Workshop. Fiscal year 2019 begins July 1 with the Board to approve the budget in June.  At this meeting, Interim City Manager Mark Thompson kicked off the budget workshop by explaining the development of the Fiscal Year 2019 budget began in January. Departments have been meeting with the Finance Department and the City Manager to prepare their budget drafts and to look at ways to stretch already tight appropriations. Thompson says, “We have to think about systemic changes so that we can still make progress in the city.”
After a presentation about the General Fund, each Department then provided an overview of staffing, operations, past successes, and proposed departmental changes and budgetary needs. At this meeting the following departments gave presentations:  Finance, General Government, Information Technology, Human Resources, Planning, Parks & Recreation, Police, Fire, and Engineering & Public Works. 
Thompson also explained that even though they are working on the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget, they are thinking ahead to the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget. He explained that four committees will be created soon, each led by two members of the Board of Commissioners, to develop plans regarding the following topics:  City-owned facilities, vehicles, support of outside agencies, and revenue opportunities. Each committee will be challenged to either find efficiencies or new strategies regarding these topics. The plan is to have recommendations from these committees by January as the City enters the Fiscal Year 2020 budget process.
The budget discussions will continue at a workshop to be held May 23rd.

Published 10:27 PM, Monday May. 14, 2018
Updated 11:16 AM, Wednesday May. 16, 2018

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