The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 16, 2013

Councilman among transit director applicants

City to begin interviews in coming weeks, hope to secure director by mid-February or March

OTTUMWA — A selection committee will begin poring over applications for the Ottumwa Transit director’s position tonight, and one city councilman has thrown his hat in the ring.

City Attorney Joni Keith said she has received around 30 applications and they’ve come from the west coast, east coast, Ohio, Illinois, Arkansas and more.

“Some have some transit background, some have very little, but they might have more management experience,” she said.

Tonight, the selection committee will choose those they want to move forward to the interview process.

Councilman Jeremy Weller — who is also the current jail administrator — said he needs a change of scenery.

“10-15 Transit and Ottumwa Transit ... [I want to] get the services they provide back up to the expectations of what citizens want and need,” he said. “I would enjoy that challenge of doing that and utilizing my management skills I’ve learned over the years.

“It was a decision I made, not only me, but my family, my wife. We talked about the opportunity and we both thought it would be better for me, a good fit.”

Weller said his seven years supervising the jail qualify him for the management position.

As a councilman, Weller has analyzed Transit’s budget as well as the far larger city budget.

“I think there’s a need for someone who has some budget experience and I certainly have a knowledge of their budget and have worked on budgets as a city councilman,” he said.

And as far as reporting to the state and federal governments, Weller said he’s had that experience already at the jail.

“Really, what I would have to do on the transit side of it is not that much different,” Weller said. “If I was selected, I’m not going into this blind.”

Ottumwa Transit has seen two interim directors, Mark Hagist and currently Dave Silverio, and one director, Diane Gawronski, since former director Pam Ward was fired nearly two years ago.

“I think the situation after Pam left ... maybe the stress and intense scrutiny the department was under wore its course on some people,” Weller said. “I think we’re in a better position, obviously, than we were just a year ago financially.”

As a councilman, Weller said he would have to step down if he were hired.

“That’s why this was a hard decision because I do enjoy being on the council,” he said. “My intention was never to leave early.”

If he were to get the position, Weller said he wouldn’t be surprised if some in the public say it was rigged since he is part of city government.

“But to minimize that, I’ve only had one discussion with [Keith] and that was when I turned in my resume, I asked a couple of questions about the position and the hiring process,” Weller said.

Keith said she wants the interviews to take place next week and the following week so they can have a decision by the first week of February. She hopes the chosen director would then start by mid-February or the beginning of March.

“I want someone who has management skills, who has budgetary skills and I would like to have someone that has some transit experience and background, but it’s not the only criteria,” she said. “I want someone who is able to be a liaison with the City Council and the public and who is able to work with the 10-15 board of directors and the [Ottumwa Transit Advisory board].”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • OHS events called off Thursday OTTUMWA – What was supposed to be a busy night for Ottumwa athletics on Thursday turned into a very light and very wet night around the City of Bridges. Five Ottumwa Community School District athletic events, including the school’s elementary track m

    April 24, 2014

  • A downtown garden OTTUMWA — Not everyone who lives in the downtown business district has the space to grow their own garden. But a local nonprofit group decided they had some extra room. They recently moved into a new building on Main Street. "We wanted to do somethin

    April 24, 2014

  • OTT 0425 Job Fair photo -T -M Face to face OTTUMWA — People were at tables, leaning against poles, even using the small stage as a desk at the IowaWorks Southern Iowa Job Fair. They were filling out employment applications. The job fair is a better way to do that than sitting at a computer, s

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hoping for riche$ — Part 4

    OTTUMWA — $6.6 million was spent in Wapello County in lottery ticket sales in 2013. Since 2003, the amount of money spent on lottery tickets by local residents has grown by more than $2 million. If statistics are correct, the number of lottery ticket

    April 24, 2014 3 Stories

  • 0425 OTT Five Things logo -L -T -M Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's no excuse for staying indoors this weekend. From a night on the town to plays to a day learning about healthy living, you'll find a reason to be out and about in southeast Iowa. 1. Ladies Night Out will give you an opportunity to vi

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0425 OTT Fairfest 14 color photo -L -T -M 'Bigger and better' for FAIRfest '14 FAIRFIELD — With the theme of "bigger and better," Fairfield's annual free music and more festival has released the lineup for this year's FAIRfest '14. More than 6,000 people attended last year's three-day weekend of fabulous free music, and organiz

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0425 OTT Food bank donation color photo -L -T -M Food Bank of Southern Iowa receives $1,100 'Stump the Chumps' donation OTTUMWA — The Food Bank of Southern Iowa was the big winner in KIIC Radio’s sixth annual “Stump the Chumps” NCAA basketball championship contest in March and early April. Thunder Country 96.7-FM in Albia along with contest sponsor Community 1st Credi

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0425 OTT eagle stock photo Mahaska Co. man accused of killing bald eagle NEW SHARON — A Mahaska County man faces federal charges after allegedly beating a bald eagle to death and decapitating it. Jason John Thomas was arrested in New Sharon after being indicted by a federal grand jury. He is accused of killing the eagle i

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pedersen: Spec. Ed. students should count ELDON — If you're going to publish graduation rates, stop excluding some children who are doing well. "In some ways, I think it's a little upsetting to the parents of a child who has a physical handicap or is otherwise [in special education], that th

    April 23, 2014

  • 0424 OTT Pennsylvania construction color photo -M -T Penn Ave. construction begins Thursday

    OTTUMWA — Motorists are advised that Pennsylvania Avenue will be closing for Stage 1 of the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project on Thursday. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from just downhill from the intersection with Jefferso

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition