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A Publication of WTVP

Peoria has a council/manager form of government. Ten council members and the mayor serve as a "board of directors" of the corporate entity known as the City of Peoria. The mayor chairs the board, and the city manager runs the city on a day-to-day basis. The city is operated under the jurisdiction of various state and federal statutes, as well as the Code of the City of Peoria. Peoria is a home rule city, meaning we have more power to make our own decisions than municipalities without home rule.

A professional staff, headed by the city manager, runs the day-to-day operations of the city. The city manager is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the City Council. Our recently appointed city manager is Charles "Randy" Oliver.

The city manager is responsible for leading a team of top professionals to head the city's various departments. This group serves as the management team that runs the many aspects of Peoria government. Among the key departments are Police, Fire, Public Works, Economic Development, Inspections, Planning and Growth Management, Legal, and Finance.

Oliver started his duties with the City of Peoria December 8, 2003. He brings with him a broad background in government administration. In his most recent positions, he served as the city manager of Greenville, S.C., for three years; county administrator for Augusta-Richmond County, Ga., for four years; and assistant county manager/assistant for special projects for Polk County, Fla., for five years.

An excellent education has formed a strong foundation for Oliver's success. He received a Bachelor of Science in Building Construction from Clemson University, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Master of Business Administration from Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md. He's maintained professional affiliations with the American Institute of Public Accountants, National Society of Professional Engineers, and American Arbitration Association.

Randy has been very busy since his arrival, learning the city and getting to know the city council and members of the city staff. Because of a number of early retirements and the downsizing of a number of departments, we've lost a great deal of institutional memory. He'll have the challenge over the next 12 to 18 months of filling vacancies and obtaining the necessary expertise to allow the city to do an outstanding job of providing city services.

On April 3, the city council held a retreat with Oliver to discuss his operating plans for the remainder of 2004. The council made a number of additional suggestions, including going to business meetings every other week and moving towards a zero tolerance for ordinance enforcement. Changing to two business meetings per month will allow the council to use other meetings for the development of policies.

We plan to have another goal-setting session with Oliver to include the suggestions made by the council and to review departmental plans and objectives. These will be brought to the council for approval in May. It's against these plans and objectives that he and the staff will be judged when a review is conducted in early 2005.

We'll soon publish a planning and budget schedule for 2005. We believe it's important for the council to review our strategic plan to see if there are any changes we wish to make. The work plans for the city manager and city staff, as well as the budget for 2005, need to be based on these plans.

We're very pleased to have Randy Oliver as our city manager and hope our citizens will take the time to meet him and share their ideas with him. IBI

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