Buchanan city manager contract approved

Published 3:34 am Thursday, October 28, 2010

BUCHANAN — What happened to Bill Marx on his first day as interim city manager of Buchanan would scare off a lot of people.

But for Marx, it only encouraged him to pursue the job on a permanent basis.

And after the city commissioners approved his contract on Monday, he officially has taken on that role, while continuing with his duties as the city police chief.

In August, Marx got his initiation into the job with a major water main break that led to a boil order for the city.

“It was kind of trial by water,” Marx said the day after the incident.

Marx and city employees were working until 3 a.m. the next day to get the water main fixed.

“Working with that event and the other challenges since then showed me I can do this job,” he said.

Marx requested only a 5 percent pay increase and $50,000 in life insurance, about half of what previous city managers had. He also did not request health insurance from the city and cut the manager’s car allowance in half.

All in all, Marx’s contract is a bargain for the city, saving about $93,000.

For both jobs, he will make $66,407.

Marx will also receive compensatory time, which the board would only approve as long as the payroll department is responsible for tracking it.

The reason he asked for such a modest pay increase is he understands the city’s budget is extremely tight.

Balancing his work at the police station and at city hall hasn’t been too much of a challenge, Marx said, although he did admit he works more than 60 hours a week.

“The only way I can accomplish this is because we have good people working here and at the police department,” he said. “I can trust that they can do their job well day in and day out.”

Marx’s plan is to retain both jobs until the end of the current budget cycle next June, and then re-evaluate the situation. He may hire a new police chief at that time.

The way Marx has handled the many challenges since he took over in interim, including the water main break and the controversy surrounding former public works employees, has earned him the respect of the city.

“He’s very calm, great at listening and great at making decisions and being levelheaded about it,” Mayor Carla Cole said.

Monroe Lemay, the director of the Buchanan Chamber of Commerce and city commissioner candidate, said Marx is a “perfect fit.”

“He has integrity, is honest and he’s proven what he can do in this town,” she said.

Marx said his current priorities as manager are seeing the watershed improvement project completed and maintaining and improving the city’s services despite declining revenue.

Marx takes over for for Meg Mullendore, who resigned at the end of July as city manager.