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Oakmont Residents Concerned Over 'Inconsistency' in Manager Position

At Monday's Oakmont Council meeting, resident Paula Calabrese asked questions regarding the borough manager position.

Some Oakmont residents think the turnaround in borough managers over recent years might make the community look bad.

Oakmont resident , a former councilwoman, spoke to council Monday night about the lack of consistency in the borough manager position since long-time borough manager Adeline Brown retired in 2003 after 56 years.

"This inconsistency tarnishes Oakmont’s reputation," she said. "I’m concerned about the process in place [to find a new borough manager]."

In April, Bruce Jamison, Oakmont’s fourth borough manager in eight years, .

After Brown retired, Gerry Depo was hired in 2004—he resigned six months later. Brown continued to work for the borough as an acting borough manager until Roger Dunlap Jr. was hired in 2005. Dunlap resigned in 2007, and the borough went nine months without a manager. Daniel Mator served as interim manager from 2008 until 2009, when Jamison was hired.

Calabrese followed her concerns with several questions about how council was going to handle hiring a new borough manager—one that stays with the borough for more than a few years.

Among other questions, Calabrese asked about council’s expectations of the person in this position; if council had a job description for this position and where was it located; how residents could get involved with the process; and how council will ensure that Oakmont will have a borough manager that stays longer than the others.

Council President Tim Milberger said council is working on it.

"We need to ask ourselves how we can look at this process differently," he said.

Currently, Assistant Borough Secretary Lisa Jensen is the acting borough manager, and council has not made any decisions on the future of the position.

Editor Heidi Dezayas contributed to this report.

Do you share Calabrese's concerns about the borough manager position in Oakmont? Tell us in the comments!

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Cindy Salvas May 20, 2012 at 02:31 PM
If Mr. Shop is our solicitor where his expertise is in labor law and relations, why is he not advising council on proper hiring and employment practices? It is scary that our borough has an employee relations issue and Mr. Shoop was just appointed by our governor to sit on the state labor relations board.
Paula A. Calabrese May 20, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I certainly agree with Tom. My concerns have nothing to do with the acting borough manager. I am wholly concerned with process and communications. I accidently learned that Borough Manager, Bruce Jamison, suddenly resigned on April 23. That reminded me of similar past events: Daniel Mator, after a brief tenure, also resigned. Roger Dunlap, after his brief tenure, also resigned. Gerald Depo also resigned after a short stay. The phrase “incompetence and disorganization” appears to be the common thread of discontent reported by Council. Only Adeline Brown appears to have been deemed sufficiently competent and organized to hold the position of Borough Manager for 37 years AND to be called back out of retirement to serve in an interim position. 1 such resignation might be considered an INCIDENT 2 such resignations might be considered a COINCIDENCE 4 such resignations indicate a PATTERN That kind of PATTERN tarnishes Oakmont’s reputation, its ability to attract highly qualified candidates for employment and does not serve the community’s best interests. The process used in the past seems to have failed.
Paula A. Calabrese May 20, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Consequently, I’m curious about the process going forward: 1. How will the new, permanent Borough Manager be recruited, vetted, interviewed and hired? 2. When will Council begin the process and what is the timeline for filling the position? 3. Does Council have a job description that defines the education, experiences and skills required of the applicants? Where can such a job description be found so that the community can become familiar with it? 4. What are Council's expectations of the Borough Manager? What are the specific roles and responsibilities of the position? 5. Where will the position be advertised? 6. Will all council members be a part of the process or is there a human resources subcommittee that will be prepared to facilitate the process? 7. How can interested community members become involved in the vetting process? 8. How will Council ensure that past failures will be remedied and the future hire will bring stability to the position?
Paula A. Calabrese May 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Thanks for your comments, Brian. Interested and involved citizens like yourself are what makes Oakmont a great community!
Paula A. Calabrese May 20, 2012 at 11:37 PM
I agree, Tom. Regarding fiscal responsibility, I wonder how much tax payer money has been spent to provide severance packages for the departed managers. While human resources issues such as this are confidential in nature, there should be some fiscal oversight to protect taxpayers and apprise them of how their tax money is spent.

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