Strand selected as city manager

Strand selected as city managerCITY OF RIDGECREST – After months of planning and deliberation, on Monday, Oct. 9, the Ridgecrest City Council met to interview four candidates for the position of our new city manager. Ron Strand, interim city manager, was unanimously chosen by all councilmembers and the mayor.

Councilman Wallace Martin and Mayor Peggy Breeden headed up the overall hiring committee. Martin spearheaded outside recruiting efforts stating, “To begin with, there may be some concerns dealing with internal promotions; however, serious reflection is needed before hasty judgement since there will be many considerations in this major decision. Some have been very vocal regarding the need for bringing in outside talent. But we could not simply discredit excellent local talent applications due to local longevity. The issue here is not longevity, it’s long-term integrity.”

Another major consideration is the fact that public sentiment has been strong regarding the importance of having our city manager reside in town. According to Recruiter Bill Mathis, “While it cannot be legally required, it is definitely a positive factor for consideration.”

Concerning Ron Strand, council members praised his outstanding 30-year service and said that he has done an outstanding job as chief of police. He has a solid reputation. Members agreed that he has proven to have an innovative mindset and has made our Police Department a model example in the county.

Council is employing Mathis “to help us develop a five-year strategic business plan with specific goals and objectives for our city manager, including specific ongoing tasking and expected results. A detailed annual performance assessment is in development, and Mathis has stated that he will personally be in attendance at the one-year review to ensure smooth implementation.”

This is the first time the city will have such protections in place. Mathis said this is an excellent way to help keep the city on track and is part of his regular contract services for CEO positions. The city manager position is part of a five-year contract.

One area of significant ongoing city concern is reducing barriers and overcoming obstacles making our town more business- and developer-friendly. Martin said that this lack has been identified as an ongoing problem that he strongly wishes to remedy.

“With continuing overregulation via the state, our city planners must do everything in their power to accommodate developers in any way possible,” said a spokesperson. “In short, developers are getting things done faster in many surrounding communities. Strand has shown promise in this area as well by bringing several parks and recreation projects to full completion and he is currently streamlining the building application process to attract more housing developers.”

According to several council members, the city is moving in exciting new directions. Fresh new ideas are being conceived and adopted, and good things are happening. In final vote discussions, each council member expressed a strong re-affirmation of the belief that Strand could and would achieve aggressive city goals and that that his excellent, steadfast work in the interim position would continue if he got the job.

Strand’s appointment was unanimous. Stay tuned for more good things to come!

Story First Published: 2017-10-13