Watertown will welcome a new city manager on July 16. Sharon Addison is a Schenectady native who spent 27 years working for the National Security Agency before putting her name in the hat for the city manager position in Watertown.
Sharon Addison has connections to the north country, including family who live here, and she has spent summers in the 1000 Islands region.
City Mayor Jeff Graham says those connections were important as the Watertown City Council considered candidates for the job.
"Your best people are the ones who want to come here, because sometimes the weather is a challenge to some people, or the rural nature of it, so if you've got somebody who wants to come here, has a demonstrated affinity for the area, loves upstate New York, and plus has that range of skills, I think that really stood out to the council," Graham said.
Addison's path to the city manager position is untraditional– it will be her first stint in city government.
"It's a little different than what she's done now, but when you come right down to it in life, good management is good management and she seems to have those skills," Graham said. "I think she'll do a great job with our workforce."
Addison will earn $120,000 a year. Previous city manager Mary Corriveau, who made almost $103,000, was ousted earlier this year when the city council decided in a 3-2 vote in January not to renew her contract. Her employment with the city ended in April.
The council members who wanted Corriveau out didn't say much publicly about their reasons, but a flap over financial mismanagement at the city Parks and Recreation Department had raised questions about oversight and accountability at City Hall.
"When all of this broke out in January, it was like an open wound at the city council and city hall," Graham said. "I mean there were differences of opinion, and obviously, you had an individual who was leaving under duress, and it was a tough situation. And there didn't seem to be any real thought having been given to, you know, what do we do next."
Mayor Graham voted against the measure to oust Corriveau, but says he's optimistic about Addison taking the helm as city manager.
"I think this particular candidate will do a great job concentrating on leading and managing the workforce, and, you know, developing their skills and imposing a sense of accountability as well," Graham said.