Even before his Aug. 1 start date as interim city manager for the City of Oakdale, Greg Wellman was at city hall getting acquainted with the council members and the executive staff to get caught up on the issues.
When his start date finally came around, he hit the ground running, getting updated on city planning, economic development, public safety, and personnel issues.
“There’s no shortage of work, that’s for sure,” said Wellman, who retired as city manager from the City of Atwater after an eight-year stint.
Wellman, 64, who graduated as valedictorian from Brigham Young University, also served 35 years in Merced County, including five years as a county administrator.
Wellman said one of his first priorities is to examine the economic development in the city and its future for the next five to 10 years.
Looking at sources of revenue, the status of current and possible future state cutbacks, and accentuating some of the strengths of the city are some of the main focuses for Wellman.
“First and foremost is to develop a reasonable plan for the budget to work,” Wellman said.
He relayed that he had been out at the new wastewater treatment plant and discussed the possibility of solar power for the facility and other city sites.
“You have to ask if it’s economically viable,” Wellman explained. “Do you rule it out or do you study it accordingly?”
Even though Wellman was hired as a part-time manager at no more than 20 hours per week, he’s taken the time to still meet with those outside the city including the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce officials and the Stanislaus County Council of Governments, a partnership of local city governments that provides information on regional planning efforts.
“The council is being very mindful of my time,” said Wellman. “Some things have been done ‘off the clock’ because I still see they need to be done.”
In the two weeks time he has been here, Wellman said he’s had weekly briefings with the mayor and individual council members.
Wellman said he did not know how long the city manager position could function in a part-time status but that the council wanted to take a hard look at long-range issues such as organization before making a decision on that issue.
Oakdale’s reputation and the opportunity to help out drew Wellman to contact the city and put his name in for consideration for the position.
“Oakdale is not foreign to me at all being a former county administrator of a neighboring county,” Wellman said.
In explaining how he sees the next few weeks, Wellman said, “There are lots of people to still get to know and lots of projects to get caught up on.”