SUNNYSIDE — A balanced 2020 city budget and strategies in place to build in a health financial continuity plan has taken up a large portion of first year City Manager Martin Casey work.
“The budget was the one thing the council was most concerned after years of negative audit reports,” Casey said.
Casey said his first year’s priorities were clearly outlined by the council: to stabilize the city finances, create deliberate development of housing and economic strategies, focus on public safety services and plan for current and future infrastructure.
Thursday, the council will meet in executive session at the community center to review Casey’s progress in addressing those goals during the past year. Martin Casey is facing his first full evaluation by city council.
Budgetary items coupled with navigating five union contract negotiations, while getting to know his new community has been the major focus his work.
“Just about everything has been a first this past year, Casey admitted, except perhaps contract negotiations, experience he gained while working as a former Thurston County administrator.
“I’m enjoying the challenges on this job and I have been impressed with the staff and its willingness to step up to meet goals.
“I was also impressed with the council’s determination not to make cuts on the backs of its employees,” he added.
“I believe we have met many of the goals,” he noted, adding that there are still areas that are works in progress.
“We have a good framework moving forward,” he commented.
Creating closer lines of communication with both his staff and the city council has been another area where Casey feels he has made strides.
“I began writing weekly briefs to council in March. The emails were designed to update council on items between the council regular meeting,” he noted, and seem to have been well received by the council.
Those short messages have now morphed into a monthly letter to the community posted on the city’s website.
The website city manager bulletins are designed to keep them in the know about things going on within the community,” Casey explained.
“I believe we have had good progress in each area and are several we are still working on,” he added.