Tracy Jamieson recently let the mayor and city council know of her plans early in hopes they could find a successor while she is still on staff to help ease that individual's transition. Based on her personal experience coming in as the new manager eight years ago, being able to have someone there showing the ropes is invaluable.
Jamieson said she was named deputy manager while she was still serving as the community development coordinator under long-time city manager Bill Gabrys who involved her in the process. So when she took over in 2015, she was ready.
City council at that time elected to stay in-house with Jamieson and it appears they might do the same now.
Though he wasn’t ready to announce who they are considering for the job, Mayor Doug Baker said they are talking with a current employee very familiar with the city operations.
“We’ve had some lead time to decide how we wanted to proceed,” Baker said. “It’s a personnel manner, so we (the mayor and council) discussed it in executive session. We decided we wanted to stay in-house.” He said they expect to be able to announce Jamieson’s successor at the August 7 council meeting.
He added that he is confident the candidate will do a good job. “I tell the other council members, 'if the manager is not doing a good job, it is our fault.' I think we’ll make the transition and not miss a beat, though it will be a different flavor, it always is,” he said.
Baker said that Jamieson, who has worked for the city since 1989 when she was hired as the community development coordinator, has been great for the city. “I think she has done an excellent job, I haven’t really heard anyone say otherwise. She is honest, smart and very dedicated. She has worked very hard for us.”
He pointed out how Franklin is often celebrated for its downtown character. “It looks pretty good down there,” Baker said. “I do credit a lot of that to (Jamieson) over the years, even her work before (becoming city manager).”
Under her tenure, they only raised taxes twice, a 1 mil increase in 2016 and a .2 mil increase in 2022.
What is a city manager?
There are a few things Jamieson is hoping to square away before she leaves, and some she knows her successor will have to see to the end.
Among the things on her to-do list is finding a solution for the Franklin Events and Marketing position after the death of its long-time guru Ronnie Beith this past year.
Things like the Liberty Street Betterment Project, which relies on the PennDOT, will be concluded after she leaves, as well as the necessary upgrades to city hall including the installation of a new HVAC system. Many other projects she feels are in a good place with the right people in the city working on them. The neighborhood sidewalk project is in motion and she hopes that more residents will take advantage of the program once they see the work being completed.
“The people who work here really know what they are doing. I feel good these projects are in good hands.”
“The basketball and tennis courts at Riverfront Park and the Miller-Sibley pool need to be upgraded,” she said. She also sees that a regional effort to organize fire and police will be important. She noted that Franklin taxpayers fund 24/7 police and fire who respond to outside areas when needed. “It’s not fair they (Franklin taxpayers) pay for the services and others don’t,” she said adding, cooperation between everyone would be an overall cost savings and a solution for the growing difficulty to fill positions. “It’s a matter of (efficiency) and fairness.”
Jamieson said these future projects will be important to her even though she is retiring. “I’m still a taxpayer (of this city) too,” she said. “I’ll always be available to answer questions. It’s important to me that things go smoothly.”
She doesn’t have any direct plans for her retirement other than spending more time with her grandchildren and enjoy things she didn’t have time for before.
“I’m thankful for my co-workers over the years. The hardest part has been losing the ones we lost. They are like family,” she said
She does admit it wasn’t an easy decision for her to accept the city manager position back in 2015.
“I really loved my job (as the Community Development Coordinator),” she said, adding her successors, Sheila Boughner and Amanda Power, and the quality of their work made looking back on that decision easier.
“I’m glad I did.”