Members of the Salem City Council have narrowed their list of city manager candidates to two individuals: Interim Salem City Manager Jay Taliaferro and former Freeport, Illinois, City Manager Lowell Crow.
Each candidate brings a unique skillset and experience to the table. Crow, a Navy Veteran, served as a City Administrator in Monmouth, Illinois, before becoming the City of Freeport’s first City Manager. During his 30-year career in the Navy, he held many titles: Commanding Officer for the Naval Weapons Station, USS Wasp Commanding Officer, Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff at US Transportation Command in O’Fallon, Illinois and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans in the Pacific of Okinawa, Japan.
Taliaferro, a graduate of Salem High and Virginia Tech, began his employment with the City of Salem in 1991 as a staff engineer. In 1998, he was named City Engineer. Two years later, he was appointed Assistant City Manager, a role that he served under both Kevin Boggess and Forest Jones.
In January, after almost 11 years as City Manager, councilmembers Bill Jones, John Saunders and James Martin voted to ask Boggess for his resignation over the objections of Vice Mayor Jane Johnson and Mayor Randy Foley.
Said Taliaferro when he was named Interim City Manager in late January: “I am honored and humbled that Council has placed this type of confidence in me. We have some incredible employees in Salem who are dedicated to maintaining the city’s high level of customer service, and I look forward to working closely with each of them.”
Boggess’ 11 months of severance pay totaled $143,476. His last day on the job was February 15.
Recruiting firm GovHR was hired by the Council for approximately $22,500 to conduct a national search for qualified candidates to serve as Salem’s next City Manager.
“Through the thorough nationwide search, we were encouraged that there were 43 applicants for the position. Council then reduced the pool of applicants and interviewed six individuals over a weekend in November and reduced that group to three finalists: Lowell Crow, Jon Lanford and Jay Taliaferro,” Mayor Foley said.
He continued, “since publicly identifying the three finalists, Mr. Lanford has unexpectedly withdrawn his name from consideration. Mr. Crow and Mr. Taliaferro bring a plethora of skills, experience and ideas to the table and I’m optimistic that a good fit will be found.”
Being city manager comes with a lot of responsibilities. In addition to implementing council direction and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the city, the individual is also responsible for serving as the chief advisor to councilmembers, preparation for council meeting agendas and scheduling items for council discussion and action, among other duties.
A meet-and-greet with both gentlemen is scheduled for December 9 at the City Hall Council Chambers from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Salem area residents are encouraged to attend.