BY ANDY TAYLOR
CANEY — Mayor Dale McBride confirmed Friday that he has delegated Rick Pell, police chief, and J.R. Secondine, public works director, to handle some administrative duties dealing with city projects due to the absence of a city administrator.
McBride said the idea to bring Pell and Secondine into positions of administrative authority was entirely his idea. He said he made those decisions based on the limited funds in city coffers and using existing manpower within the City of Caney.
“It all comes down to money,” said McBride. “If we had the money to hire a city administrator, we would do so immediately. But, we don’t. So, from my perspective, I’m making use of existing personnel. This is an interim situation. It’s not permanent.”
Among those projects that will be coordinated by Pell and Secondine is the placement of a centralized computer system within Caney City Hall. Pell, who has coordinated other computer networks within City Hall, will work with Secondine as well as Carole Coker, city clerk, to assure that all city management records, work orders, billing systems, are centralized through that new computer system, McBride said.
“Rick knows the computer systems,” said McBride. “I told Rick and J.R. and that want our computer system for the street and water departments to be brought into the 21st century.”
Because of McBride’s decision to place more administrative duties on the shoulders of Pell and Secondine, much of the day-to-day management of the Caney Police Department will be handled through Ron Wade, assistant chief, while Mark VanDyne, public works foreman, will be handling more public works department management responsibilities.
Pell and Secondine will retain their existing titles, he said.
McBride said this personnel decision was allowable because he regarded them as “lateral moves” which did not require approval of the Caney City Council. The council will still be delegated with the task of hiring a city administrator, which, the mayor said, could begin after the April 2 general election.
“I’d like for the council to consider sending out surveys to prospective city administrator candidates,” he said. “Until such time a city administrator is hired, we have to move ahead with several projects. That’s why I made the decision to bring Pell and Secondine to the table. This was strictly a management decision to use what existing manpower I have with the limited financial resources we have. But, because we do not presently have a city administrator doesn’t mean that the ongoing projects of the City of Caney have to stop. We have to keep our town moving ahead.”
McBride has been handling the duties of a city administrator ever since last year’s resignation of then-city administrator Don Whitman. The council has not proceeded with the hiring of a new city administrator due to budgetary concerns.