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Now that a new city manager has taken the helm, Interim City Manager Bill Edgar is ready for new things. But “greener pastures” is not necessarily where Edgar says he’s headed.
“Plans for me aren’t really set,” Edgar said in an interview last week. “I have plenty to do, so retirement isn’t exactly in my future.”
Edgar took over as interim city manager after the previous interim city manager, Gus Vina, resigned in April.
When the City Council appointed Edgar to the position, he was joined by Betty Masuoka as assistant interim city manager. Together, Edgar and Masuoka took on the responsibilities of preparing a difficult city budget and navigating some tough union contracts.
Edgar’s role was temporary – just long enough for the city to recruit a permanent city manager – an assignment that turned out to last six months.
The newly hired city manager, John Shirey, officially took over on Sept. 1. He will pick up where Edgar and Masuoka left off and move forward with many projects that they started.
“I told (Shirey) I’d be available for specific projects if he wanted me (to help),” Edgar said. “But he hasn’t really had a chance to talk with me about any of them.”
Once Shirey came on board, Masuoka was able to leave on a long-awaited three-week visit to Europe.
Edgar, however, said he hasn’t yet had “a down time.”
“I have a lot to catch up on,” Edgar said.
In addition to acting as interim city manager for the past six months, Edgar has maintained his responsibilities as executive director of the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency, and running the tax preparation business he’s owned since 1999.
The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency (SBFCA) was formed in 2007 by the counties of Butte and Sutter and the cities of Biggs, Gridley, Live Oak and Yuba City. The agency has the authority to finance and construct regional levee improvements.
Now that there is less pressure from his duties at City Hall, Edgar will spend more time working on projects with SBFCA.
The SBFCA passed an assessment last year, Edgar said, that allows for the rebuilding of the west bank of Feather River – a project that has been anticipated since 1997 and is now in the design stage.
“It’s at about 60 percent (completed with the design stage) now,” Edgar said. “We anticipate construction beginning in spring, 2013, and construction should take two or three seasons.”
Edgar said the transition away from interim city manager has gone well, particularly since he has had to juggle outside responsibilities at the same time.
“Since I’ve had to do (everything) at the same time,” Edgar said, “now it’s just a little pressure off. It was very busy for me during the time I was interim city manager. That’s why it was necessary for (Masuoka) and I to do the job together.”
Edgar said that, during his time in City Hall, he enjoyed working with the mayor and City Council “most of all.”
“When I first went in (to the position), people told me it would be hard to get council members to work together,” Edgar said. “I didn’t find it that way at all, though.”
During his tenure, Edgar said he and his staff worked hard to accomplish some important things – such as putting together a “very difficult” budget at a very difficult time.
“We were able to finally get some concessions from one of the major unions,” Edgar said, “and to bring on a qualified city manager – those were big things.”
Edgar said he and Masuoka also set the stage for what’s coming down the road: restructuring the budget and making the organization more efficient.
There will be a lot of challenges for Shirey in the coming year, Edgar said, most notably the next budget and upcoming labor negotiations. But “there are always a lot of challenges,” Edgar said.
“The arena is coming up, and economic development is always an issue,” Edgar said. “And, a lot of restructuring has to happen.”
It won’t happen overnight, and Shirey won’t be doing it alone, Edgar said.
“The employees, the department managers and staff are committed to really working hard,” Edgar said.
During the last two weeks of Edgar’s transition out of the interim position, Edgar said he and Masuoka and their staff made sure that what they were setting in place was in line with Shirey’s own goals for the city.
“As focus areas (for changes in city organization) are brought up to council, not everything will be implemented,” Edgar said. “Still, there will be a lot to discuss, and (Shirey) will take the lead in that.”
As Edgar moves away from the responsibilities of interim city manager, he said he is looking forward to giving more focus to other interests.
“I think my family is happy to get me back doing tax returns,” Edgar said. “It’s good (for me) to be there for the family business.”
Melissa Corker is a Staff Reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.