Archive for Thursday, February 2, 2006

Guilfoyle hiring should give city confident voice

February 2, 2006

It appears the De Soto City Council was fortunate to hire what must be called an overqualified candidate when Patrick Guilfoyle agreed to become the next city administrator.

De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson acknowledged the only reason De Soto was able to afford an administrator of his caliber was his eligibility of a New Jersey pension. That coupled with his desire to return to his Kansas roots proved fortuitous for De Soto.

When the search started for a new city administrator, Anderson and members of the council said they were looking for an experienced manager to carry on with the momentum created under former City Administrator Greg Johnson, whose reform of the city's finances and budget process won universal praise from council members.

Those council members must be pleased that the first thing the longtime mayor of Plainsboro, N.J., where Guilfoyle served as township administrator for 16 years, noted were his improvements to that city's budgeting and accounting practices.

Council members frankly stated they were seeking more than budgetary competence. The elected leaders wanted someone with the authority of experience and confidence to express it to the developers, county and state officials with which he will regularly deal. That goal appears fulfilled.

Guilfoyle is currently the township administrator of Piscataway, N.J., a city of 52,000 that is home to Rutgers University -- the state university of New Jersey. Other than a three-year stay at the mountain resort town of Winter Park, Colo., De Soto will be by far the smallest town in which he has served in his career of more than 30 years.

Lest that arouse fears that Guilfoyle will be aloof, he impressed those in City Hall with his accessibility and was certainly generous and open when contacted by this newspaper.

While looking for experience, the council didn't want someone looking for semi-retirement. Guilfoyle doesn't give the impression he wants that either, speaking enthusiastically of the chance De Soto offers to use his experience to help steer growth and shepherd capital improvement projects.

In that respect, De Soto shouldn't bore him. He will come onboard as the city starts its effort to market the new municipal pool, begins construction of a new waste water plant and makes a decision on which direction to go with its water utility. Those last two issues should launch unprecedented growth in De Soto as the decade closes.

The council has hired a point man who has seen and accomplished much and to whom the patronizing "we-know-what's-best-for-you" advice so freely given the city in the past few years will ring hallow.

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