McNeal wants new clerk, inspector

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

At the request of city council, mayor-elect Joe McNeal submitted his proposed list of department heads Monday night, recommending only two changes from the existing staff.

McNeal is asking council to approve a new city clerk and a new building inspector.

Nina Patterson, currently the chief deputy of the clerk of the courts for Elmore county, was recommended to replace Betty Manning as the city clerk.

Dan Amoruso, a local building contractor (he owns K&D Builders), was recommended to replace Leon Spidell as the building inspector.

Council members have already indicated concerns about the appointment of Amoruso, due to a 20-year-old misdemeanor conviction for drug paraphrenalia, and some liquor law violations (subsequently dropped) while he worked as a bartender at the old Oregon Trail Bar at that time.

"My concern is that Mr. Amoruso, in the past 20 years, has built an outstanding business and has a fine reputation in the building community," McNeal said, citing several key references from local builders and contractors. "What's the use of rehabilitation if it's held against you for your whole life. I support him 100 percent."

McNeal also recommended that Fire Chief Phil Gridley, Police Chief Tom Berry, City Treasurer Leanna Taylor, Parks and Recreation Director Stan Franks, City Engineer Carl huffaker, and City Attorney Jay Friedly all be retained.

Council had requested the mayor-elect's nominees early in order to give themselves time to conduct their own interviews of the candidates. Council must approve McNeal's recommendations. If not, McNeal has 10 days to submit a new list. The vote on the new city hall team will not be made until at least the Jan. 12 city council meeting, when McNeal will be sworn into office.

In a letter to the council listing the nominees, he said his two new choices of Patterson and Amorufo came highly recommended by his transition team.

"I would like to have my nominees interviewed as soon as possible," he wrote. "Let me know when you would like to set up interviews with the new nominees. Theywould also be available to meet with you personally.

"Your speedy approval of our department heads will ensure a smooth transition for us all, so we can ge on with running the people's business of the city.

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