JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown City Council has approved the appointment of attorney Todd Thomas as city clerk.
Thomas is filling the position that is being vacated by long-time clerk James “Jim” Olson, who announced earlier this month he would be accepting a position in the private sector.
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, who got emotional during the meeting while thanking Olson for his years of service, said although Olson is retiring from his position, he’ll still be helping out the city in a voluntary capacity.
“Jim is staying here in the city and will continue to be a member of the city planning commission and board of assessment review,” Teresi said. “We’re more than friends and colleagues. We’re family and we’re going to remain family. Jim may be moving a couple blocks up the street as part of a certified public accounting firm, but he’ll remain a part of this community and a part of city government, he just won’t be reporting to work on the first floor of city hall every day.”
Olson’s tenure with city government began in 1981 when he was hired as Executive Assistant to former Mayor Steven Carlson. He was then appointed by Carlson to serve as City Clerk in 1985 and then as City Clerk/Treasurer in 1992, where he served until January 1994 when he left city government to start his own Records and Information Management firm, before returning in 2000.
As part of the Thomas appointment, the council also approved a change in the title from Director of Financial Services/City Clerk to Director of Administrative Services/City Clerk, to more accurately reflect the breadth and scope of the position. The council also approved an adjustment to the pay scale for the position. Mayor Teresi said that adjustment will result in an annual savings to the city budget of nearly $30,000.
“The position has changed and we felt that the new title better reflects the scope and the breadth of the position. It’s more than just a financial position – it is that, but it’s much more than that,” Teresi said. “We also took the opportunity to restructure the salary schedule on it and there’s going to be a net savings to the taxpayers of the city.”
Thomas has been a city resident and a practicing attorney throughout Chautauqua County since 2004. He was only just recently appointed to the city zoning board and also brought in as corporation council to assist the city with addressing zombie properties, with that role being paid for by a grant from the state attorney general’s office. He’s also serving as corporation council for the village of Fredonia.
Because the changes to the title must be made in the city charter via a local law, the city council took emergency action on the matter. Typically a local law must wait 30 days after being introduced before it can be acted on. A public hearing on the title change will take place on Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. in the mayor’s conference room of city hall.