Oct 312014

By Sam Conner

The Winslow City Council spent most of Tuesday evening’s meeting in an evaluation of City Manager Stephen Pauken, who began the evaluation process by speaking at length about his first 10 months in Winslow.

He said that he had had an open meeting evaluation before and was pleased with the results of that process, noting that this was his fifth city manager position and that he has found Winslow to be a hospitable place.

Pauken said that we have to improve the attractiveness of the city if we are to improve economic development, attract businesses and see other improvements. This is being worked upon and will continue to be a priority. The Renaissance Project is a positive and will continue to be. He said that he realigned with a group at Northern Arizona University and Flagstaff instead of a White Mountain group, as it was a better fit for Winslow.

He thanked the community for extending the one percent sales tax 20 years, as it is a good thing for the improvement of the city. He said that he was proud of the improvements at the airport, but noted that more is needed. He also said that use of the dredge at Clear Creek is going well.

Pauken noted that the fire department is understaffed, undertrained and underfunded. Getting a new fire truck was good, but the city probably needs to spend more money to upgrade the department.

He gave the council a five-page document he was speaking from, and said that what he liked most about this place is that people communicate and work together.

The councilmen all had positive things to say about Pauken, and said that having him here has been a good benefit for the city.

After they had spoken, Pauken suggested that they may need to change the time of his evaluation, and also suggested that the rules be followed on the call to the public so that it does not become a debating forum or allow attacks on personnel.

Little Colorado Medical Center CEO Jack Dempsey and Finance Director Regina Reffner spoke about the hospital.

Dempsey said that while last year was difficult, LCMC has a budget for next year with a positive bottom line. He also noted that the hospital has good, helpful associations and relations with the Indian Health Services facility and the city.

In other business Oct. 28, the council:

* Approved a proclamation setting aside November as Native American Heritage Month. Denise Estudillo of Winslow High School and seven students spoke and introduced themselves.

* Heard reports from Pauken, Finance Director Teresa Foy with the monthly financial report and Judge Alison Kolomitz with her final quarterly court report.

* Approved the consent calendar, including the check register, minutes of the council’s Oct. 14 meeting, and an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Winslow Unified School District for joint use of facilities.

Prior to the regular meeting, the council met briefly as the Winslow Public Housing Authority to consider five resolutions. The first resolution adopted approved the authority’s request for waiver of the payment in lieu of taxes. This exempted the city from taxes on $320,000 per year. The next authorized the authority to write off outstanding checks in the amount of $3,600. The third updated and reapproved the authority’s 2014 annual plan. The next two resolutions amended the authority’s administrative plan.