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Wetmore to be city manager Sept. 1
Council unanimous in hiring vote
Randy Wetmore
Randy Wetmore

Randy Wetmore is expected to move from Iowa to be Statesboro’s city manager beginning Sept. 1, after a unanimous City Council vote Tuesday evening.

From 2010 until now, Wetmore has been city manager of Marshalltown, Iowa, which had 27,620 people compared to Statesboro’s 30,721 in the 2015 U.S. Census estimates. Originally from Kansas, he has more than 35 years of experience working in city governments in five different states and holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas.

“I think he’ll serve the city of Statesboro very, very well,” Mayor Jan Moore said. “I think this is a good choice and we’ll be better for it.”

Wetmore was one of four previously announced finalists for Statesboro’s city manager position, from 57 applicants in the most recent round of a search started almost a year ago.

“It’s always nice to have a qualified pool of candidates to choose from, and Mr. Wetmore stood out head and shoulders above the others,” Moore said. “He came down here with his wife and spent several days and took the time to really learn the community and to acclimate himself and just make sure it was somewhere he wanted to serve.”

 

Took in the town

In fact, the couple visited Statesboro in June and took in a Thursday night home game of the Tormenta FC minor-league pro soccer team, a Friday performance at the Averitt Center for the Arts’ Black Box Theater and the Main Street Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

“We just thoroughly enjoyed it,” Wetmore said on the phone Tuesday from Marshalltown. “We think it’s going to be a great place for us to come and live and actually become, hopefully, very active with the city.”

Their two children are grown, so just Wetmore and his wife, Andrea, will be making the move to Statesboro. They like to be called “Randy and Andy.” He is in his early 60s.

All of the finalists were invited to meet city staff members, but not all did. At least one declined to be considered further and did not do a finalist interview, Moore said. But during his visit, Wetmore met department heads at City Hall.

“He has a lot of excitement for Statesboro, and I think as importantly as anything he’s going to fit in very well with the staff,” Moore said.

Wetmore said he only visited with the department directors briefly, but sensed “that they had a real desire to make the city strong.”

“A lot of them have long tenures, are committed to making Statesboro better, and that’s something that I always look at,” he said. “They all were professional. I think it’s going to be a really strong team, and working with the City Council and working with others, I think we can make sure Statesboro continues to move forward.”

 

Contract terms

Besides a starting salary of $140,000 a year, Wetmore’s contract guarantees him severance pay equal to six months’ salary if his employment is terminated through no fault of his own. He will get raises in the same percentages as other employees. The city will pay an amount equal to 4 percent of his salary into a deferred compensation account. He gets four weeks of available vacation up-front, but after Jan. 1, 2017, will accrue vacation time at the same rate as other employees.

The city will reimburse him for up to $7,500 for moving expenses, but Moore said Wetmore is expected to get quotes and take the lowest.

 

Past accomplishments

Wetmore led Marshalltown’s drive for All America City recognition in 2011 and 2014, when the Iowa city was selected as a finalist. He was part of the team that prepared the application in 2012, when Marshalltown was selected as an All America City.

Also while manager in Marshalltown, he initiated a five-year street construction and maintenance program that will make improvements to about 63 percent of the city’s streets, he wrote in his resume.

He has recently led an effort to build a new police headquarters. After Marshalltown voters rejected a bond issue for this project last year, Wetmore continued to work on it through revised planning that includes a fire station and the police station in one building, so that a proposal will be back in front of voters in August.

From 2008 to 2010, Wetmore was an assistant city manager in Des Moines, which with more than 200,000 residents is Iowa’s largest city, as well as its capital. He served as liaison to three departments of its city government.

Before that, in reverse order from 2008 back to 1979, Wetmore was deputy city administrator and assistant city administrator in Franklin, Tenn., city manager in Roseburg Ore., Ottawa, Kan., Concordia, Kan., and Sterling, Kan., and administrative assistant to the manager in Yanktown, S.D. He served longest, about 14 years, in Roseburg, Ore.

 

Council approves

Four Statesboro council members attended Tuesday’s brief called meeting, while the fifth, John Riggs, participated by speaker phone. After a five-minute closed session, the meeting was reopened, and Moore asked for a vote on Wetmore’s contract. Councilman Phil Boyum made the motion, seconded by Councilman Travis Chance.

“It’s been a bit of a long road getting here, but I think ultimately we ended up with the best possible candidate for the city of Statesboro,” Boyum said. “I think he’s going to work well with the county, the Board of Education, Georgia Southern University, as well as all of the staff.”

 

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

 

 

 

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