Peekskill names new city manager

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:50 am    Post subject: Peekskill names new city manager Reply with quote

By Anna Lillian Moser

PEEKSKILL – The Peekskill Common Council has hired a new city manager.

Following Monday’s work session, Mayor Mary Foster announced that Rick Finn had accepted the position and would start work as soon as Aug. 1, after his contract is finalized. The contract must be reviewed and voted on by the common council.

“He is anxious to get going,” Foster said. “He’s very excited to be joining us.”

Foster said that Finn, who will replace Acting City Manager Brian Havranek, will be in the city later this week to meet with the corporation counsel and the Mayor to work on the contract. Although the city has not decided on how much it will spend on Finn’s relocation costs, the contract could be voted on at Monday’s meeting.

“He’s agreed to the terms we offered him,” Foster said.
However, Councilwoman Cathy Pisani said that she would not feel comfortable voting on Finn’s contract without adequate time to review the document.
“I really don’t want to get it on Monday morning,” Pisani said.
Finn, who was chosen from nearly 50 candidates, has held various government administrative positions since the 1970s. He served as city manager in Sandusky, Ohio and Takoma Park, Md.

“He is a very seasoned city administrator,” Foster said, noting that Finn has overseen a number of economic development and downtown improvement projects. He has also been responsible for compiling what Foster called “reasonable budgets.”
“He’s been in a lot of different cities with different problems,” Foster said.
Foster also said that Finn is customer service-oriented and dedicated to setting goals with his staff. More importantly, he does not become frustrated easily and shies away from party politics.

“His personal style is what I’d call relaxed,” Foster said.
Finn’s past is not without controversy. In 1993, Finn resigned as the city administrator for Sun Prairie, Wis. According to a 1993 article from The Capital Times, “The City Council frequently heard from citizens who accused Finn of being abrasive and power hungry.”
Finn then moved on to Sandusky, Ohio where he ended up resigning in 1998, “under heavy criticism for his leadership style,” according to the Sandusky Register.
In a 2008 article by the Newark Post in Delaware (a community where Finn interviewed) Finn is quoted as saying, “I learned a lot in Sandusky. It was a terrible experience when I went through it, bit it made me a better city manager.”

He then served as city manager in Takoma Park, Md. until 2004 when he resigned to pursue a doctorate, but according to the Newark Post, “his decision also came amid accusation regarding his handling of a community center construction project.”
When asked about the series of resignations and the controversies surrounding Finn, Foster said that the job of a city manager always comes with controversies. She added that Finn was straight up and honest about his past with the common council and staff.
“When you’re not criticized, you’re not getting noticed,” Foster said. “If you move a community forward you will always have critics.”
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