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ST. MARYS — The city’s top elected officials gave members of a local civic group a recap of his first month in office and his goals for the city of St. Marys on Tuesday night.
St. Marys Mayor Pat McGowan addressed St. Marys Kiwanis during a visit to the group’s weekly meeting. McGowan, who took office Jan. 1, said he has seen a flurry of activity in his 31 days on the job.
“I’m the kind of person who likes to get involved,” McGowan said. “I like to try to get a feel of the job.”
Shortly after taking office, McGowan met with department heads to have them conduct a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. McGowan said that approach is key in helping to develop a game plan for the city.
“There’s nothing too crazy to throw out there,” McGowan said.
McGowan also appointed Craig Moeller to serve as interim safety-service director until the position can be filled on a permanent basis. McGowan praised Moeller, who serves as the head of the engineering department, for stepping up to the challenge.
“As our interim safety-service director, he’s very good,” McGowan said. “I don’t think you could ever speak a bad word about that gentleman.”
Looking for ways to trim the budget also dominated much of McGowan’s first month in office. He said he encouraged department heads to review expenditure requests to see if there were any places to trim.
“The city’s healthy but let’s keep it that way,” McGowan said. “I want to make sure when they spend any money they are sticking to their five-year plans.”
McGowan also touched upon meetings he attended with representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the various lake restoration groups. McGowan said he hopes to repair the city’s relationships with those groups as the battle wages on to heal Grand Lake St. Marys.
“We are rebuilding those relationships,” McGowan said.
“As the result of going to one of those meetings last week, they told us about the grant for the canal trail.”
Interviews continue to find a permanent safety-service director. However, McGowan cautioned Kiwanians and noted he would not rush to a decision just to fill the position.
“The one thing we are not going to do is settle for second best on a safety-service director,” McGowan said. “It’s key to the city. The safety-service director manages the city.”
The search also continues for a development manager. Communication, sales and marketing skills topped McGowan’s wish list.
“To me, I think it’s the second most important position in the city,” McGowan said. “With the safety-service director being first. If we get a good community development manager in here, all he has to do is write one grant and that person has paid for himself. We want to go after jobs that pay a living wage — that’s how you build your tax base.”
McGowan also touted his goals for the city.
“This city needs to attract businesses that provide a living wage,” McGowan said.
“It’s great to have the restaurants here, we appreciate it, we appreciate some of the other service companies that are here, but we need to attract really good jobs. With that, I will let the world know that St. Marys is open for business. We are serious about it, we are going to go after it and we are not going to wait for it to come to us and we are going to be aggressive.”
Cold calling, developing relationships with employers and being aggressive are hallmarks McGowan said residents should expect from his administration.
“We’re heavily involved in JobsOhio,” McGowan said. “We’re going to develop advertising literature that lets people know that we are open for business.”
McGowan also revealed the possibility of a digital sign for the city.
“Digital signs are another piece of medium,” McGowan said.
“If we have 1 percent pay back that brought in 150 jobs, every dime we spent on that sign would be worth it. We are going to redo the city’s website.”