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July 25, 2013

Administrative hires to be made soon in New Albany

City seeking parks superintendent, engineer and controller

NEW ALBANY — New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan plans to fill three administrative positions over the next two weeks. But the third hire is a source of sorrow.

Gahan said Thursday he expects to hire a New Albany Parks superintendent and a city engineer within the next 14 days.

Those positions have been open for some time, as the city is seeking its first parks superintendent since launching its own recreational department in January.

The third hire will be a replacement for Controller Mary Ann Prestigiacomo, who died earlier this month after suffering a heart attack at the age of 47.

“The staff is still recovering from the loss of Mary Ann,” Gahan said. “She was an outstanding employee, and she was also a very kind person. She worked very well with everyone at City Hall.”

As the New Albany City Council will begin working on a 2014 budget next month, the controller’s office will be called upon to provide financial numbers and forecasts.

The city is also likely to soon purchase new software equipment, and Council President Pat McLaughlin said that will require a controller who can manage the new system.

“We’re going to have to have somebody who can jump-start that,” he said Thursday.

Shane Gibson, an attorney with the city’s legal department, and the deputy controller, have been managing financial numbers and the payment of bills since Prestigiacomo’s death.

The city has received applications for controller, and Gahan anticipated Thursday making a hire in 10 to 14 days.

Gahan announced in May he would be seeking to hire a city engineer, as the city has been without one since 2010.

Several council members have called for the position to be filled, and Gahan said he wants to hire someone with project management and engineering experience.

The city engineer will assist the sewer and stormwater utilities as well as help oversee the implementation of large infrastructure and quality-of-life projects, Gahan said.

There’s definitely a need for a city engineer, the problem has been finding a qualified candidate willing to accept the offered salary, McLaughlin said.

The pay for the city engineer is expected to be about $70,000, but McLaughlin said highly qualified candidates can often receive more pay in the private sector.

He said an ideal candidate may be a retired engineer, or a young professional who’s just starting their career.

Kathy Wilkerson has served as the interim Parks Director for almost seven months, and though she has been asked to take the permanent job, she’s maintained her desire to return to recreation manager so she can focus on programming.

Gahan said the city has received applications from several qualified people for parks superintendent, and that a hire should also be made for that position within two weeks.

McLaughlin said the superintendent should be able to lead the new parks department because the city operates autonomously from Floyd County for the first time in almost two decades.

“We’d really like to see some things start happening with the parks, and not just the huge projects,” he said.

The city will start construction on an outdoor aquatic center and multiuse recreational facility within a year, as well as renovating Binford Park.

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