This time next month the city of Washington will have a new mayor and four new city councilmen. While many of those taking on new offices may have a feel for what is going on in the city, they may not know the full extent of the number of projects underway, in the pipeline and on the drawing board in the next few years. To try and ease the transition between those officials on the way out and those on the way in Washington Mayor Joe Wellman has called a meeting for Thursday evening to help get officials up to speed.
“We’re going to bring in some of our consultants and some of our local people to talk to some of the new council people and the mayor-elect,” said Mayor Joe Wellman. “Just bring them up to speed on some of the projects that are going on in the city. We’ll also talk about some of the legal things. Our attorney will talk about the open-door law.”
Mayor Wellman says he decided to offer the meeting Dec. 5 at the Council Chambers with many of the city’s consultants so that the recently elected officials can get a much more in-depth review on the city’s projects and plans. “I decided to host that because what I’ve seen many times is when you have a change in administration in a community, it’s like red-light on one and green on the other and no transition or working together,” he said. “I’ve been talking with mayor-elect Rhoads on this very subject and I think it will be a good transition. You know we also have four new councilmen. It would be good for them to know what is going on before they take office Jan. 1.”
Mayor-elect Dave Rhoads has spent most of his career on the fire department including the last eight years as chief. He has attended plenty of council meetings and does have a feel for what the city is doing. The same could be said for Randy Emmons who is retiring as the head of the city’s electric department to become a city councilman. For new councilmen Ken Showalter and Tom Gress the learning curve may be even steeper.
“Several of them have been involved in some of the meetings,” said Wellman. ”We’ve had the hearings on the Business 50 project and several of them as candidates were there. It’s not like they are going to be hit right between the eyes and not know about anything that is going on. This is really going to be a matter of here’s where we are at. The engineering firms will talk about where they are in the process.”
“This is a really good thing,” said Rhoads. “This should help get everyone up to snuff. It will be the consultants talking about the projects and the bond people getting us up to date.”
Even though he has been a regular at the council meetings Rhoads says that the projects involve a lot more than what he has been exposed to. “As fire chief I knew about a lot, but not about everything,” said Rhoads. “This meeting was everything I was hoping for in terms of the transition. I’ve got a ton of stuff to learn. It might take me a year or two to get caught up. I think we might be in for all kinds of adventures.”
Of course, those adventures might be even larger without this transition meeting and the work the mayor and mayor-elect have already done together getting ready of the changing of administrations.
“I figured Mayor Wellman would have a meeting like this to help with the change,” said Rhoads. “He’s leaving the right way.”