By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
EAST PALESTINE -- City Manager Patricia Quigley planned to drive out of town this morning, headed for a new job as city manager of Woodstock, Ga.
She said she would leave with no regrets about her tenure here.
"I am excited about going to a different city and facing different challenges," she said. "We did a lot of work here in 21/2 years."
With Quigley's departure, Police Chief Gary Clark begins a six-month term as interim manager today.
Clark said Sgt. John Martin will be in charge of the department for about two weeks while applicants for interim chief go through a screening process, including background checks, a polygraph test and a physical. He said he will promote someone internally based on the test results.
Timing for that announcement depends on how long it takes for the interested officers to be tested, he said. Ten officers are qualified to serve as interim chief; three applied.
Accomplishments: Quigley said that during her time as manager, several major sewer-system renovations have been completed, including improvements to the treatment plant and the replacement of many aging sewer lines throughout the city.
In Woodstock, Quigley said she will again be tackling some sewer-system problems, but of a different kind.
Woodstock is a community of about 13,000 mostly two-income families about 30 miles north of Atlanta. The city is experiencing rapid growth both in commercial and residential development, she said.
It will have to improve systems to accommodate the growth, including eight major residential subdivisions with 200 to 300 homes each.
Quigley said she enjoyed her time in East Palestine, calling it a good city with good people.
"The city has a lot going for it, especially a good core of people who are committed to promoting it," she said.
City's future: Quigley said she hoped to see the outcome of the city's attempt to challenge federal census figures, and to direct city officials through a major annexation project.
Although city officials successfully challenged the 2000 census figures this spring so that Ohio still recognizes East Palestine as a city, whether the figures can be challenged at the federal level is yet to be determined.
City officials and many volunteers did their own census count earlier this spring after the federal Census 2000 showed the city population had dropped below 5,000 since the 1990 census.
With fewer than 100 uncounted people to find, city officials chose to do their own census and eclipsed the 5,000 mark.
Regarding annexation north of the city, Quigley said she is disappointed she could not be involved in that project.
"I came here and was all excited to find the plans drawn up, everything ready to go," she said. "Then I asked how we were going to fund it. We have to have the infrastructure there. That's a question that hasn't been answered yet, so there's still no annexation."
Advice: Quigley urged city officials and residents to continue to promote the city. Growth will come in time, she said.
"We hate comparisons to Columbiana, but we do it all the time," she said. "It took awhile for the growth there, but it's there now.
"I always said I wanted to put a billboard right outside Pittsburgh airport inviting people to visit East Palestine. That's still not a bad idea. Sometimes I think the people here don't give themselves enough credit for what they have here: a great park system, good schools. It is a good place to be."