By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
EAST PALESTINE -- Although she believes city officials have made great progress the past two years, departing City Manager Patricia Quigley believes council needs to examine its use of the charter form of government.
Quigley resigned Thursday, effective Sept. 13. She said she has accepted a position as city manager of Woodstock, Ga., a community of about 13,000 residents.
She plans to use a week of vacation next week to find housing in her new community.
Quigley is the city's third manager in six years, and fifth in the past nine years. She began her duties in April 1999.
"I thought they wanted someone with a strong personality to take charge and manage the city," Quigley said this morning. "The council-manager form of government works well for some communities, and not so well for others."
In her resignation letter, Quigley said she believes there is a large discrepancy between what the city charter defines as the role and responsibility of the manager and what council views as administrative responsibility.
The discrepancy makes for a confusing work atmosphere for anyone in the city manager's position, she said.
Responsibility: "It's a simple premise," Quigley said in her resignation letter. "Does council want someone to make daily decisions, or are they more comfortable making those decisions themselves and directing the workforce, controlling the budget, handling personnel issues, deciding on projects, etc.
"I believe some members of council would be more comfortable having hands-on authority and ability, versus having a manager make decisions."
Quigley also stated she is resigning due to letters to her from council stating that she had been deceptive and dishonest in dealing with the sewage treatment plant supervisor, who did not show up for a special meeting, and then resigned. She did not elaborate except to deny that she had been dishonest.
On a positive note, Quigley said she has enjoyed working in East Palestine and living in the community. She said city officials have made great progress, completing a number of large projects, including several major sewer renovation projects to bring the city into compliance with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.
Projects that were in the beginning stages when she arrived have been completed, she said, noting construction of a new maintenance garage, transforming the former Captain Taggart Elementary building into city hall and a community center, downtown improvements and numerous grants approved for housing, infrastructure studies and the park.
"The city is now truly poised for growth," she said. "Now council members just need to figure out where they're going."