Bishop’s wait for a new City Manager to replace Keith Caldwell appears to be coming to a close with the announcement that the decision is on next Monday’s City Council agenda after being pulled at the request of City Attorney Ryan Jones at the last minute, without explanation, the week before.
Caldwell was appointed Interim City Administrator/Community Services Director on Aug. 22, 2011, following the unexplained “voluntary resignation” and departure of City Administrator Jim Southworth earlier that month after only ten months on the job.
Awarded the position of City Administrator under a five-year contract at a salary of $135,000 per year in January 2012, in a surprising turn of events, Caldwell informed the City Council that he would leaving his job at the end of September 2014 to return to Georgia with his wife and become a full-time caregiver for his parents.
According to at least one anonymous source, there is some disagreement between councilmembers on which of the two final candidates being considered
are best suited for the position.
The two candidates purportedly include a well-liked local resident currently working for the County of Inyo and someone from out of town.
From a pool of 32 applicants, 12 local and 20 from outside of the area, the two remaining candidates have undergone a selection process which included national FBI background checks.
The appointment of an experienced City Administrator is crucial to the City of Bishop as it confronts serious budget deficit challenges. The City and County have previously considered an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax and Transaction and Use Tax from .05 percent to 1 percent in order to increase revenue for public service.
However, the TUT was undermined largely due to a request by the County for a delay to look at the idea to address its own serious budget issues. That delay and the County’s eventual rejection of the idea made it all but impossible for the City to put the measure before the public for approval on the November 4 General Election ballot.
Another cost-saving proposal involved the City of Bishop looking at contracting with the County Sheriff for law enforcement services, but at Inyo County’s last Board of Supervisors Meeting, when Sheriff Bill Lutze was asked about the status of the discussions, he responded that the discussion have essentially gone nowhere since the original meetings held months ago.
According to Caldwell, the City Council is looking for someone with a strong background in “education and management experience in a municipal setting, strong leadership and excellent public relations and conflict resolution skills with an open communication style” coupled with the ability to resolve issues early with community involvement.
Editor’s addendum: Sources identified the two final candidates as Jim Tatum, former Tri-County Fairgrounds CEO and current Deputy Public Works Director of Inyo County, and Col. David W. Buckingham of Arlington, Va.
The appointment is expected to be made at Monday’s Bishop City Council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at 377 West Line Street. Approval of an employment agreement for a new administrator is the last item on the agenda.
According to www.armytimes.com, Buckingham’s last position was as a Garrison Commander in Vicenza, Italy
His linkedin profile states he is currently transitioning from the U.S. Army to city management.