City Beat: Search Firm Looking For Next Decatur Deputy City Manager


Editor Paul Osborne

     A search firm for the City of Decatur is looking for a deputy city manager. GovHR USA out of Northbrook, Illinois, has been running classified display ads in the Decatur Herald & Review indicating “The City of Decatur is seeking an experienced, innovative and committed professional to serve as Deputy City Manager, act as chief of staff, and assist the City Manager in advancing the goals of the Mayor and Council. “For more information and to apply, go to”                

     The application deadline is June 24, 2019. The position of deputy city manager was created by former City Manager Tim Gleason and Billy Tyus was the first to fill that job. He was then named interim city manager when Gleason accepted the city manager’s position in another city. Previous to that, the city manager was served by multiple assistant city managers who were over various departments of city government.

     When I served as mayor, we had four assistant city managers, including Tyus, who filled in on a rotating basis when the city manager was ill or on vacation. We (mayor and council) selected Assistant City Manager John Smith as interim city manager who served in that position until Ryan McGrady, the predecessor to Tim Gleason, was chosen as city manager by the council.

     Tim Gleason eliminated the assistant city manager positions and named Tyus deputy city manager in a cost saving move, Since Tyus left and there is a relatively new city manager in Scot Wrighton, choosing a new deputy city manager is a little more complicated than when Tyus was promoted to the position.

     So, when the search firm makes its recommendations, will the city council approve the selection? It’s a question I asked myself since this situation has not happened in previous appointments. The city council hires the city manager, but the city manager does the hiring and promoting of his staff. I did ask Wrighton about the search and if he would make the selection of the winner of the job and not the council.

     His reply was: “The position answers to the city manager, and the successful candidate will be selected by the city manager, without a vote of the City Council. “You are correct, the city has had multiple assistants/deputy managers in the past. However, we will only be recruiting one assistant manager.”

     • LAST WEEK, I wrote my “Viewpoint’ column about taking a fall on a sidewalk curb at the corner of Prairie and Merchant streets — and how that happened another time several years ago at another corner during the Decatur Celebration.

     Pam Hahn responded to the column with an email: “I loved reading about your spills on the downtown sidewalks. Some years ago I also fell stepping halfway on the wheelchair ramp and sidewalk. “The year before I had rotator cuff surgery. Needless to say, it really scared me! “Quite a few vendors rushed to my aid and said they had seen several people do it. It helped to know that I wasn’t the only one..thanks for sharing.”

     One interesting part of Pam’s email was that the vendors who helped her after her fall said “they had seen several people” fall at that location. I wonder how many people (besides Pam and myself) have fallen by stepping on both the handicap ramp and part of the curb at the same time?

     When we’re walking on downtown sidewalks, curbs and wheelchair ramps, we need to pay special attention. I know I’m paying more attention to where I walk as a result of my two falls. I don’t plan on scheduling another fall “performance”

     • NOW, thanks to our governor and General Assembly, despite the best efforts of law enforcement leaders, and so many others, Decatur will become a city, like the rest of Illinois, where smoking pot is legal. As if we weren’t having enough of a problem filling a thousand good jobs in our city that are remaining unfilled because applicants can’t pass the drug test, now those same people (and more) can legally consume the drug.

     Don’t look for any of our companies to change their policies as a result of the legislation — they will still not hire people with drugs in their system — which doesn’t help attract new jobs to our city.

     While facilities are being built to deal with addiction and other issues that prevent a productive life for many of our citizens, the greed of our state government only feeds the addiction, not the cure. With high taxation, no protection for the unborn at any stage of pregnancy, legal pot usage, doubling the gas tax, a high minimum wage that most mom and pop stores can’t afford, and…the list goes on — this state has become about as attractive as a wart on the end of your nose!

     Our state government should be working with our cities to bring jobs to Illinois. Instead, they continue to approve legislation that makes our state more unattractive than about anywhere else and, unfortunately, Decatur is located in Illinois.

1 Comment

  1. Connie Ogden on June 8, 2019 at 7:30 am

    The sidewalks, curbs, and wheelchair ramps downtown are a challenge. Not only for walkers, but also for vehicles. I am also very cautious as I negotiate the beautiful new streetscape in downtown Decatur, and the angled parking.

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