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Sun, March 24

Council names Swenson city manager

The Kingman City Council opted to hire from within Tuesday by promoting Financial Services Director Roger Swenson to city manager.

Swenson, on the job since December 1995, will replace Lou Sorensen, who has held the job since 1978 and is retiring Aug.

10.

Swenson is scheduled to start Aug.

1.

Swenson drew a unanimous vote from the seven council members, who also interviewed city managers Dennis Dalbeck of Williams and Gary Eide of Kearny on Tuesday, Mayor Les Byram said.

The council announced the selection Tuesday afternoon.

"We felt that Roger would provide continuity with the city operations and a great grasp of the city's finances," Byram said.

"We had three excellent candidates, and we are certainly pleased with the job that the (selection) committee did."

A committee of council members will meet with Swenson to negotiate a salary, Byram said.

He said Sorensen earns about $105,000 a year, and Swenson makes more than $70,000 a year as financial services director.

Swenson, 52, said becoming a city manager was not necessarily a goal, but he decided to apply for the job after Sorensen announced months ago that he would retire.

"It is so new that I am not sure what I am looking forward to" on the job, he said.

"I need to spend some time listening to people both on staff and in the community."

Swenson, who cited more than 25 years of experience in "virtually all levels of government" in his resume, downplayed his financial background.

"My finance background is more budgeting and setting political and policy priorities," Swenson said.

"I have never taken an accounting class."

His resume stated that since being hired for his current job he has developed a mission statement and set values through employee participation.

He wrote that he has moved the city to a "pay as you go" perspective and has expanded his duties beyond traditional financial services to include information systems, a citywide salary study and special projects.

As city manager, he will preside over a city with about 280 employees and an annual budget of around $44 million, Sorensen said.

He will manage and supervise all departments, agencies and offices of the city, according to a job description.

The selection process was extremely important, Councilman Dave French said

"It was probably the most important decision that I'll ever make as a councilman, or that anyone of us will make," French said.

"It has taken a lot of time, and it was a decision that was not taken lightly, and that there should not be any doubt in anyone's mind in Kingman that Roger is the best candidate.

"We have a 23-year history with Lou (Sorensen) with continuity, and I believe Roger's hiring will promote continuity," French said.

"We have a very financially responsible city and a lot of appropriate momentum going."

Before coming to Kingman, Swenson worked for 10 years as support services director and budget officer for the United Sewerage Agency of Washington County, Ore.

His previous jobs included serving as a senior budget analyst with the Department of Land Use and Transportation in Washington County from 1984 to 1995; budget analyst for the city of Portland, Ore., from 1979 to 1983; and research analyst from 1977 to 1979 in the Oregon Legislature.

He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1971 and a master's degree in sociology from Indiana University in 1974.

Swenson lives in Kingman with wife Linda, who oversees the Head Start program in Mohave County.

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