BA city manager getting to know people, issues
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Saturday, November 10, 2012
11/10/12 at 7:16 AM
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BROKEN ARROW - The binders and paperwork piled onto a table in City Manager Thom Moton's office represent a sliver of the work still to come.
Meetings with city staff members and reporters have consumed his first days on the job, and he'll pass the coming weeks with an intensive look at each city department and individual meetings with city councilors and community leaders.
"It's been just meeting after meeting, people coming in and out of my office," said Moton, who began his new job Tuesday. "But I'm accustomed to a very high-volume, high-pace environment."
The former acting city manager of Greenville, N.C., was introduced at a news conference Friday by Broken Arrow officials who promised a fresh start and bright future in the wake of a shakeup in the city's leadership this year.
Moton is the first permanent city manager since the City Council fired David Wooden in April over a proposed Indian casino. The controversy also forced City Councilor Mike Lester to surrender his title as mayor.
"I feel that we've gotten past that, and we have a lot of positive news with even more positive news to come," Mayor Craig Thurmond said. "We're trying to take Broken Arrow to the next level."
Moton, who will be paid $153,000 a year under a two-year contract, was recruited along with 55 other candidates by management consulting firm Affion Public.
City leaders selected him after learning of his expertise in downtown and economic development and his record of building consensus among community stakeholders, Thurmond said.
"We've got a leader with a skill set that we haven't had in the past," he said. "With a city of 100,000, we need that kind of leadership."
Moton said he has planned his first 30 days with an eye for building relationships with city personnel and community stakeholders.
That includes spending a day at each city department and speaking in depth with each city councilor, as well as with representatives of the school districts and community groups.
"I think a key element of stability is not so much a period of time as it is harmony and working together," he said. "Not necessarily agreeing all the time, but moving forward."
He added that he wants the city to be "a place where residents, visitors and employees feel that they're being treated fairly, that there's integrity in the City Manager's Office."
Although the city's goals in the coming years are unlikely to change, Thurmond said the difference in the quality of its leadership will be apparent.
Better communication with the public and more interaction with the media will be one result, he added.
Moton pledged to continue pursuing a proposed downtown streetscape makeover as well as retail development under construction at Tiger Hill on the corner of Kenosha Street (71st Street) and Lynn Lane Road (177th East Avenue).
He said the city will also continue focusing on public safety, pointing to plans to open a bond-funded fire station in southern Broken Arrow.
"I think the goals have been well set," he said, adding that he believes in the direction city councilors have chosen for the city.
One point he plans to emphasize in the coming weeks: "I'm a Broken Arrow guy now," he said.
He was the interim city manager of Greenville - a city of about 86,000 residents - for five months after its previous city manager retired in March.
His previous positions include assistant city manager of Greenville, University City, Mo., and Corsicana, Texas.
"It's important when you're meeting with people that you're embracing what's here, not contrasting with another city," he said. "That's what I want to do as quickly as possible - shed the perception that 'He's from over there.' "
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486
With other city and school officials behind him, new Broken Arrow City Manager Thom Moton speaks at a news conference outside City Hall on Friday. ZACK STOYCOFF / Tulsa World