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Jeannette prepares to hire city manager

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By Richard Gazarik
Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 11:12 p.m.
 

Jeannette Council is expected to hire a professional city manager when it meets on Wednesday.

Members met with Bruce Jamison, 56, of Greensburg after a council meeting on Monday to discuss his employment and salary.

Mayor Richard Jacobelli declined to discuss the hiring, saying the candidate and council have not agreed on a contract. If Jamison accepts the post, he will be the first professional manager with experience in municipal government, finance and accounting of the past three city clerks.

Council created the post of city manager, but the Third Class City Code requires the post of city clerk. Council is expected to merge the two positions.

Jamison's hiring would be on the recommendation of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, which has recommended that the city hire a professional to oversee the day-to-day management of the city and its departments rather than leaving that responsibility in the hands of council.

Jamison, a graduate of St. Vincent College, was the financial officer for the City of Greensburg. He has served as manager in Oakmont, White Oak, Wilkins, Braddock and Rankin.

Braddock and Rankin are boroughs in Allegheny County that have had financial problems similar to Jeannette's. The two communities were declared financially distressed under Act 47 when Jamison worked there, and Jeannette is in a pre-Act 47 program that officials hope will help the city avoid the same designation.

Jeannette has ended the past several years with budget deficits caused largely by the city's inability to meet its annual contributions to the police pension fund. It has been unable to control overtime in the department, which has put added stress on the budget. The city has made partial payments to the pension fund but has racked up interest on the balance, adding to financial problems.

The last three city clerks were hired without any professional experience as managers. Two of them sued the city and won settlements.

Stella Rebich was fired. Ron Dinsmore resigned. Mike Minyon Jr. was a former councilman when he was hired to replace Dinsmore. Minyon was fired in June when he failed to report to work after an incident in city hall between him and Councilman Gabriel Homan.

Minyon said he suffered from heart problems because of the dispute and left the building. After he used up his vacation and sick time, council ordered Minyon to return to work if he was physically able, but he failed to comply with the order.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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