At the July 24 meeting, Salem City Council voted 3-1 with Councilman Randy Foley dissenting to hire Berkley Group to begin the process of looking for a new Salem City Manager. On July 7 City Manager Jay Taliaferro announced he will retire Nov. 1 after working for the city in a number of positions for 32 years.
Councilman Bill Jones was absent from Monday night’s meeting.
Taliaferro has been city manager since December 2019 and before that was assistant city manager for 19 years. He started his career with the city as a staff engineer in 1991, and then was city engineer. He comes from a tradition of service to the city, as his late father, Jim Taliaferro, was the mayor of Salem from 1974 to 1996.
Jay Taliaferro has been commended for how he piloted the city through the COVID-19 pandemic that started six months after he became city manager.
At the July 24 Council meeting before the vote, Councilman Foley raised questions about the process of recruiting a new city manager.
“I have a lot of questions. I am frustrated I have not been asked a single question by the other members of Council. I am the only one who has done it (been through the process of hiring a city manager, when Taliaferro was hired). I want to know if there is going to be any public input. We haven’t discussed any salary range.”
Mayor Renee Turk explained “Berkley Group would be doing interviews with every member of Council to know what members want. There has been no discussion so far.”
Vice Mayor Jim Wallace told Foley, “I think a lot of your concerns will be addressed.”
Foley responded, “I want the process to be transparent.”
In other matters at the July 24 meeting, Salem City Council:
- Met in a closed session for more than an hour Monday night with two representatives of an undisclosed business or industry. No action was taken when Council returned to open session, and the two men declined to give their names when a Salem Times-Register reporter asked;
- Held a public hearing and approved on first reading a rezoning request by Brittany Haddox and property owner Julliard Enterprises to rezone 1201-1203 Texas Street from Highway Business District with conditions to HBD without conditions. Haddox said she wants to open a law office specializing in labor disputes in half of the building and offer the other side for another business use;
- Received the abstract of votes cast in the June 20 Democratic Party Primary;
- Reappointed Vicki Daulton to the Salem Planning Commission and NPDES Citizens’ Committee for a term ending July 26, 2027.
The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.