Smith officially becomes City Manager

Scott Smith, former 13-year director of the city’s parks and recreation department, is officially holds the title of city manager.

Mayor Dan Cougill said the step was similar to one recently taken at Eastern, giving once Interim President Lou Hencken the official title of university president.

Since Aug. 9, Smith had been serving at as the interim city manager; however, he officially took office on Sept. 18.

In August, Smith entered into an agreement with the Charleston City Council that set a time frame for the interim position after the previous manager, Bill Riebe, left.

Once the time frame was set, the council asked him if he was interested in serving on a full-time basis permanently.

“We didn’t try to go through a national search,” Mayor Dan Cougill said.

Smith will hold his position as manager until the end of the current term in April 2005.

As manager, Smith has numerous daily duties.

“I am responsible for the day to day operations of the city of Charleston,” he said. “No two days are the same.”

Smith said his daily tasks include working with all the department heads and financing along with separate city departments including police and fire, parks and recreation, public works and information services.

In addition, he said he works very close with Cougill, the City Attorney Brian Bower and the council members.

Because Smith works with so many departments, he has numerous projects throughout the year.

He said currently his biggest project is working on the construction of a new water treatment facility.

The new plant, which is located at McKinley Avenue on the southeast side of the city, is scheduled to begin reconstruction in spring 2005.

Construction crews and the contractor have already moved onsite and tore down an old utility building, so he said construction has already started in a way.

A Charleston native, Smith graduated from Eastern with a degree in recreation administration in 1988 and received a masters in 1993.

After graduation he accepted managerial positions in the Chicagoland area with the Rolling Meadows and Hanover Park park districts.

Before taking office as manager, Smith worked as the city parks and recreation director since 1990.

He said his job as manager is very different from that of the parks and recreation director.

“Instead of the one division of city recreation and parks and facilities maintenance, I manage all the departments,” he said.

Recently, Smith moved slightly outside, approximately 200 yards from, the allowed area for city officials to live, Cougill said.

Because of this technicality, the city council moved Tuesday night to amend an ordinance to its code. The ordinance allowed for a city manager to live within 1.5 miles of the territorial jurisdiction of Coles County.

City Editor Jessica Youngs can be reached at [email protected]