By Naomi Hatch
Taylor Finance Director Gus Lundberg was selected by the town council March 5 as the new town manager. Lundberg has been employed by the town as finance director since 2007.
“This is a very tough choice,” said Taylor Councilman Shawn Palmer upon returning from a lengthy executive session to discuss and consider employment of an interim town manager and a permanent town manager.
“I think I can see the way the ball’s going to bounce,” said Palmer when Mayor Fay Hatch asked for comments regarding hiring a town manager.
“We’ve discussed every single angle,” said Palmer, noting there were multiple applicants.
“I would like to make a motion, but would like you to entertain other thoughts,” Palmer said to the other council members.
“As a town council member we get thrown into situations that we’re looking into a way to keep the town represented,” said Councilman Alan Ramage, noting there were 4,110 citizens in Taylor. He noted that the mayor was given authority in a 6-0 vote to negotiate with a person whose name was kept quiet out of respect for him. “It seemed like it was a good idea at the time. Things keep changing and I think we’ve talked about all the options,” said Ramage.
Palmer asked the council to consider Dave Smith, citing “his competence, his experience and the amount ($50,000) he’s willing to contract with the town,” and moved to negotiate with Smith to serve as permanent town manager.
Councilman Gary Solomon seconded the motion, which failed with a 5-2 vote with Palmer and Solomon in favor of it, and Major Hatch, Vice Mayor Jane Lee, and Councilmen Ramage, Jared Hatch and Mark Reed, who attended telephonically, opposing it.
“I support whomever we decide. I made it clear in the back room why my decision was that, but I can see who we’re going to hire,” said Palmer. “I just want to let that person know that I will support them in this decision.”
Ramage then moved to hire Gus Lundberg as the permanent town manager with the negotiated $78,000 salary for two years, noting they will negotiate with Lundberg on some of the benefits. The motion was seconded by Reed and passed in a 6-1 vote. Palmer voted against the measure, but stated, “To clarify, I support him, but I have my own philosophy.”
Mayor Hatch noted that they have a stack of town manager work and are ready for him to go to tackle it.
In other business, the council held the second reading of Ordinance O-2013-01 regarding the hiring and firing of town officers.
The council held the first reading of Ordinance O-2013-02, Kennels.
By Naomi Hatch