New faces at city hall

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by A.C. Hall

Over the past several months the leadership of White Settlement has undergone several significant changes.  New Mayor Ronald A. White and new City Manager Jim Ryan are both familiar to most who follow city business, but there have also been two major promotions within City Hall.  City Marshal Jeff James has been promoted to Assistant City Manager and former Building Official Kyle Reeves has been promoted to Economic Development Director.  

City Manager Jim Ryan spoke about these promotions with The Grizzly Detail Newspaper in a recent conversation.

“Being the business minded person that I am, I fully believe in hiring and training replacements long before the actual job comes open whenever possible,” Ryan said.  “Both Kyle and Jeff have been taking training classes and seminars for the past year.”

Of those two promotions, this week we’ll be focusing on new Assistant City Manager Jeff James.  Ryan shared several thoughts about James and why he was chosen for his new position.

Asst. City Manager Jeff James
Asst. City Manager Jeff James

“Jeff James has exhibited his solid ability in management situations and is a natural manager.  Before he decided to become a police officer, he was in sales and management positions with Zerox Corp. and IBM.  He has two BS Degrees; one in Business and the second in Criminal Justice,” Ryan said.

Ryan also offered his feelings on what the future holds for James as a leader of White Settlement.

“I fully believe he will eventually be one of the best City Managers the City will ever have.  He only needs some ‘time in grade’ to become successful,” Ryan said.

One career is tough enough, but currently Jeff James is pulling double duty as City Marshal and as Assistant City Manager.  Despite his busy schedule, James took the time to speak with The Grizzly Detail Newspaper about his new role as one of the city leaders.

The Grizzly:  What was your reaction when you learned that Jim Ryan was making you his Assistant City Manager?

Jeff James:  When Jim Ryan offered me the position, I was excited and grateful, not only for the position itself , but also for the confidence and support that Jim has shown me.  This position is the fulfillment of a personal goal.  I feel blessed to be a part of the management team for the city of White Settlement.

The Grizzly:  You’re currently doing two jobs, that of Assistant City Manager and your previous position of City Marshal.  What are some of the challenges that come along with doing both at once?  Is that going to be a permanent situation or are you looking to transition out of the City Marshal position eventually?

Jeff James:  The biggest challenge that I face is making sure that all the needs of the city and its citizens are addressed in a timely manner.  My goal is to personally address any and all issues that come my way. To that end , I am doing my very best.  The reality of doing multiple jobs is that it is difficult but certainly not impossible.  There have been some long days and late nights, but luckily the City has a competent and capable staff.  We work together with a true team approach to getting things done, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this team.  As far as transitioning from my duties as the City Marshal, that is certainly being discussed for the near future.

The Grizzly:  Now that you’re one of the leaders of our City government, share with us your thoughts and feelings on the direction of the city. What are some of our strengths? What are some things we need to work on to make a better future for White Settlement?

Jeff James:  In my opinion, the City is headed in a very positive direction and has been for several years.  White Settlement has many strengths but I think the two most important factors for our city’s success is the citizens of our community and their continued involvement and our location.  We are fortunate to have citizens that are informed and active in our success.  Our location is ideal for new business growth in the next few years.  We have the potential for change, but real meaningful change, unfortunately, always takes longer than we all hope.

Next week we’ll attempt to ask some of these same questions of new EDC Director Kyle Reeves and present them to you in part two of this feature.