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Martin begins job as Statham administrator

POSTED: July 22, 2014 10:00 a.m.
Special photo/For the Barrow County News

New Statham City Administrator Steve Martin, left, shakes hands with his former assistant, new Statham Chief of Police Allan Johnston.

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Former Statham Chief of Police Steve Martin officially took on his new role as city administrator on Friday.

Former Assistant Chief of Police Allan Johnston was sworn in as the new chief of police Wednesday morning in preparation for Martin’s switch. The two appointments were made by Statham Mayor Robert Bridges at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The position of city administrator is a brand new one which Bridges said he’s been thinking about for several years and which was created "to help prepare for the future."

"We need a person to make sure we push for the right things, (like) grants and businesses," Bridges said. "I think we’re headed in the right direction, but it’s going to take more help—more than a volunteer job, because my job is limited."

Bridges said that once the city council made the decision to acquire a city administrator, the council members’ choice of Martin for the role was made apparent by each council member—except one, who Bridges said was on vacation—personally meeting with Bridges to recommend that he appoint Martin.

The salary for the position is $60,000, plus about $15,000 for travel and training expenses, Bridges said. As chief of police, Martin had been making around $55,000, so Bridges said the city saved some money by moving Martin to the administrator position and Johnston up to the position of chief, rather than bringing someone new into the city.

Martin’s transition from chief of police to city administrator will be a bit involved, he said.

"I’ll need to get an honest, current state of our finances (and) of the operations, so I can advise the council on where we’re at and where we need to make improvements," Martin said. "Basically, I need to figure out where we’re at so I can figure out where we need to go."

This process will entail a lot of analysis, Martin said, including looking at the city’s tax rolls, water billing, intergovernmental agreements and the like. The city just completed its budget for fiscal year 2015, which began July 1, so Martin said he will also be looking at how to improve that process for next year.

Bridges and Martin both said Martin will be looking into what grants the city would be eligible for in many categories, a few of which Martin listed were quality of life improvements, parks and recreation, infrastructure improvements and community outreach.

The biggest challenge Martin anticipates is simply setting up expectations for the position—both for himself and for what residents can expect of him as city administrator—because the job is new and "there’s no roadmap."

Martin has already begun working on a few things, he said, one of which is collaborating with the Department of Labor to begin a work force education initiative.

This new initiative would focus on the GED program that Statham already offers to equip workers with minimum education in things like reading, writing, math and science, and add to that a training program for more specific things geared toward job eligibility.

At the completion of the education and training, Martin said there would be a job fair held in order to connect the workers with hiring managers.

"I’m looking forward to the economic development side of operations, finding ways to partner with business owners and just in general improve the perception of the community so that it’s more attractive but doesn’t lose the small-town, ‘home’ feel," Martin said.

Martin has also gotten a City of Statham Facebook page up and running, due to his previous experience with the Statham Police Department’s Facebook page, which "has gotten great support."

The city’s Facebook page, which will be updated with city announcements and activities, can be found at facebook.com/cityofstatham.

 

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