Officials look for input from community in town manager search

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News

Black Mountain residents and employees of the town met with elected officials on July 12 to provide input on what qualities they would like to see in a new town manager.

The town held a pair of informal meetings in the board room in town hall to provide the community an opportunity to have their voices heard. 

The first meeting, which took place at 8:30 a.m., was attended by the town's department heads and a single resident. Around seven people showed up for the 5 p.m. session. 

Black Mountain resident Marilyn Sobanski talks about what qualities she would like to see in a new town manager on July 12 as alderman Larry Harris looks on.

Marilyn Sobanski, director of Rainbow Recycling in Black Mountain, would like to see a manager who views the town as "a community and not a commodity."

"The manager's position is such a huge job," she said. "He or she oversees all aspects of the town's operations."

Sobanski, who has attended aldermen meetings regularly for 13 years, she said, believes the ability to communicate clearly with the public is an important attribute for the next manager. 

Following up on the concerns of citizens is something the next town manager will need to do as well, according to Elaine Loutzenheiser. 

"When people bring problems to (the board) we don't hear the outcome of that and if those things were addressed satisfactorily," she said. "We never hear what happened in those situations."

Aldermen Larry Harris, Ryan Stone and Maggie Tuttle attended the meetings, as well as mayor Don Collins. Town clerk Angela Reece was also in attendance. 

Stone said the job, which was vacated when former town manager Matt Settlemyer resigned in May, is a desirable one. 

"We've already received over 30 resumes from people interested in the position so far," Stone said. "I'm confident we'll find a good fit."

Although there's no timeline for filling the vacancy, Tuttle said it would be nice to have a new manager in place by the fall. 

"This is the biggest decision this board will make," Stone said. "We're invested in doing the right thing for this community."