After a two-month interview process, the Jim Thorpe Borough Council announced the hiring of a new borough manager at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday. The new manager is Wesley Johnson, who currently lives outside of Altoona.
The interview process was conducted by three members of the council, W. Todd Mason, Gregory Strubinger and John McGuire, who were randomly chosen by council President Justin Yaich.
The borough initially received more than 50 applications. They conducted six initial interviews, all with candidates who had over 20 years experience in municipal government.
Johnson was chosen for his broad range of experience in municipal government, including administration, code enforcement, borough management and finance. He has worked in both large and small government, with planning committees and negotiating teams.
In his own words he has "worked all over," primarily in Western Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Johnson is set to begin working on Aug. 2, making a few trips from Altoona in the meantime to get better acquainted with the workings of the borough.
The position has a salary of $54,000 a year plus benefits.
Before casting her yes vote, Councilwoman Joanne Klitsch noted that she was "very happy with the council's choice."
As he accepted the position Johnson remarked that he was excited to work here because "Jim Thorpe is a lovely town and has huge potential."
After the meeting, Johnson explained that the role of borough manager is to function as a "band leader, controlling the total administration of the borough and municipality."
He cites his main goals as creating administrative efficiencies and using his database expertise to find extra funds in the budget.
This will be the first time Jim Thorpe has had a borough manager since 1991.
Johnson noted that although the borough has done well without one, he thinks it is a good decision because the "municipality is so complex that it will require day to day hands on attention" to make it operate at maximum efficiency.