First Day For Jackson City Manager

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

Jackson --- Today is the first day on the job for Jackson's new city manager. He knows the tough task ahead of him -- helping to manage a city that is millions of dollars in debt and dealing with a mayor and a city council that don't work well together.

It's no secret that Jackson city mayor, Karen Dunigan and members of city council don't see eye to eye.

"We have a very good council, we just don't work very well together," said Dunigan. "I have very strong opinions, I'm very vocal and know sometimes the leadership doesn't appreciate that but I do know that the citizens expect that."

She's hoping the city's new manager, Larry Shaffer will be a liaison and voice of reason.

"I think almost all of our issues or challenges are related in one facet or another to what's been going on in the economy," said Shaffer. "So, we have an obligation to do our very best for our citizens to provide answers and solutions to their problems."

But the mayor still wants the state to come in and review the city's finances. She doesn't want an emergency financial manager, just someone to work with Shaffer to find a solution.

"Yes, we have a balanced budget, however, that's all we have. We have not addressed our debt. And we have over 80 million dollars in obligated debt," said Mayor Dunigan.

Shaffer says he'd rather work on any financial issues in house. But he says he's looking forward working closely with the mayor and council to fix the problems of the city.

"When we look at our jersey, it all says city of jackson so we're all on the same team. Now, we may have different approaches, we may make different recommendations as to how to approach it but none the less, at the end of the day, we're all here to serve the citizens of this great community," said Shaffer.

He admits that June first was just day one of a long road ahead, but a road he says he's happy to be on.

Shaffer just spent seven years in Amherst, Massachusetts as the town's manager.

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