Latrobe names Gray interim city manager
Michael Gray, Latrobe’s public works director, will serve as interim city manager while council members search for a permanent hire.
On Monday, council named Gray to the interim position. He will not receive extra compensation.
Gray, 40, of Unity, welcomed the challenge of simultaneously handling two roles for the city, indicating he will split time between offices at the city’s refuse transfer station and the municipal building.
“It’s going to be a lot. It’s a challenge,” he said, but added, “We’ll get it done. We’re excited. My heart and soul is in the city. It’s going to be a good opportunity.”
Former manager Wayne Jones abruptly resigned March 11. Since then, city department heads had handled day-to-day operations.
“Mike has a real good understanding of the city and the operations of the city and is well-respected and works well together with everybody,” said Mayor Rosie Wolford, who voted with council to approve Gray as interim manager. ” I know he’ll do an outstanding job. You have very competent department heads, so I see him as the decision-maker, the go-to guy if they have a problem or a question.”
Jones’ break with the city was preceded by a heated argument with Wolford at a Jan. 28 council session. Wolford accused Jones of displaying a lack of communication, while Jones, who had served as manager since August 2014, expressed concern about being micro-managed.
Wolford said the city hopes to place an advertisement for city manager candidates within about two weeks, but she noted it may take three months or more — including an application period and interview process — before the position can be filled.
“We’ve pretty much decided that the next city manager will live within a 10-mile radius of the city,” she said. “You need to be engaged with the community, you need to be a part of it.”
Gray said he’d like to extend his interim manager responsibilities into a permanent assignment.
“I would definitely be interested in the position,” he said.
Gray worked as a public works mechanic at Ligonier Borough before joining the Latrobe street department in 2015. He was promoted to public works director the following year.
In a public works matter, council agreed Monday to buy a new Western Star roll-off truck from Freightliner of Altoona at a cost of $169,612. The new truck likely won’t be ready until next fall. It will replace a 19-year-old Mack truck used for bulk refuse collection — delivering 30-cubic-yard waste containers to customers and transporting large container boxes to a local landfill.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .