OAKDALE — Editor's note: We invited the mayors of Stanislaus County's smaller cities to share their thoughts on what 2013 will bring for their communities. This is part of that series. Previous essays are available at www.modbee.com/opinion.
The City Council announced on Dec. 20 the appointment of Bryan Whitemyer as permanent city manager of Oakdale.
The citizens of Oakdale had been concerned about a permanent city manager. The concern was legitimate. Upon the sitting of the new City Council in 2010, it was evident to the Council that the city was in deep financial trouble.
The downturn of the economy was not to blame; it just exacerbated the weak structure and functioning of the city. Fundamental ways of doing things had to be changed.
Throwing crew members (such as police and firefighters) off the sinking ship was not the way to go. Middle and upper management had to be restructured and replaced. A team of extremely experienced people were brought in to stop the imminent bankruptcy of the city and to help transition the city into a more efficient and stable organization.
By the summer of 2012, stability was coming back to the city and an earnest search for a new city manager began. It was also clear that the new council being seated in the fall of 2012 should have a say on the selection, since they are the ones that would have to work with the new manager. The transition team has successfully docked the sinking, tired old ship and is helping the city and new manager onto a stable and strong locomotive to continue the city's journey into the future.
Bryan officially starts Feb. 4. His first order of business is to fill major senior positions in the city and complete the re-organization started by the transition team. There is much to do and Bryan is up to the task.
Oakdale received a grant for an amphitheater and skate park along South Yosemite Avenue near ConAgra. A second grant is for a river trail that gives our citizens access to the river near Burchell Hills.
Our new business and tourism board is actively planning several annual events: a car show with a cruise and drive-in movie, and a climbing festival.
Other Oakdale groups are planning a chili cook-off at the end of May; a museum Roaring 20s event in March; a rodeo in April; a cowboy Christmas and cowgirl lunch; a chocolate festival; and Christmas Festival of Trees. A "I Love Oakdale Cleanup" is scheduled for April and September.
Oakdale also welcomes our new culinary arts institute and looks forward to partnering with it for these and many other local events.
Oakdale citizens continue to stay involved with a number of volunteer groups, service organizations, school activities, hospital functions and other social organizations. We love Oakdale!
Paul was elected mayor of Oakdale in 2010. She served on the Oakdale council from 1980-1988 and then on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors from 1989 to 2004.