JAMESTOWN – Mayor Sam Teresi is announcing the retirement of long time Director of Financial Services/City Clerk, James “Jim” Olson.
According to a media release sent out from the mayor’s office on Tuesday, Olson is taking a position with a local certified public accounting and tax firm. His retirement is effective Thursday, August 31.
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.
He also served as Interim Business Administrator for Jamestown Public Schools during 1996 and Finance Director for the City of Warren, PA from 1996 until he returned to Jamestown city government service on January 1, 2000, when Teresi became mayor and appointed Olson to the position of Director of Financial Services.
Olson again left Jamestown government in 2005 to take a position as Finance Director for the city of Venice, FLA. However, after spending just five weeks at the position, he abruptly left and returned to Jamestown, explaining to Venice city officials that he was unable to sell his home in Jamestown and couldn’t afford living in Venice. While serving for the brief period of time in Venice, he never officially resigned as Director of Financial Services for Jamestown, but instead was granted an unpaid leave of absence.
In conjunction with a city government reorganization and downsizing effort, Olson assumed responsibility for the City Clerk’s Office in 2008, serving in the role of Director of Financial Services/City Clerk since.
According to the mayor’s media release, Olson has been involved with a variety of public professional organizations, including serving as President of the New York Association of Local Government Records Officers and Chairman of the Regional Advisory Services Committee of the New York State Local Government Records Advisory Council.
Teresi offered the following statement in regard to Olson’s departure:
“Jim Olson has been and continues to be a close, trusted advisor and valued friend/ ‘family member’. He is the quintessential example of what public service can and should be all about. No Doubt his very large shoes will be extremely difficult to fill. I wish nothing but the best to my friend and colleague, Jim, during his ‘retirement.'”
Teresi stated that he recently briefed the members of the City Council on Olson’s retirement plan. That briefing did not take place during the public portion of the city council’s meeting, but instead during a closed door, executive session. Under state open meeting law in regards to personnel, the city council can enter an executive session if it involves “the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation.”
According to the media release, the mayor has already begun the process of evaluating approaches and potential candidates for a new city clerk, which would have to be approved by the city council.
It appears Olson again began looking to leave city government last year, when applied for a village manager’s position in North Palm Beach, FLA in December.