The Blackwell City Council held a meeting on January 10 to determine who would be the next city manager. The Council voted to hire Janet Smith as the new Blackwell city manager. She’ll be filling the job left vacant in November 2018 after then-city manager Thomas Outhier unexpectedly retire. Smith has currently been working one week following her start on Tuesday, January 15.
Smith first became acquainted with the Kay County area while she was working as the city manager’s assistant in Ponca City from March 2015 to August 2015. While serving as the assistant, Smith negotiated agreements between the city of Ponca City and the Ponca City Fraternal Order of Police. Smith also coordinated agreements between local ambulance providers that would help create more efficient service.
Smith said that she enjoyed working in the Kay County area, which led to the connections that she has. And it was with those connections that Smith heard about the city manager job open at the time in Blackwell. As manager, Smith said she will work on Blackwell’s comprehensive plan, a list of objectives and projects the city government hopes to tackle. She said the plan needs attention.
In the plan, Smith wants to include the right zoning requirements for new industries. Smith also wants to improve Blackwell’s connectivity with having better sidewalks that can provide a safer area for people to walk and ride bikes. Smith also wants to look over the budget and know the funding sources and restraints. Her first project will be to evaluate the efficiency of individual city departments.
Shortly after being hired, Smith attended A town hall meeting at the Blackwell Event Center to discuss a proposed remodeling plan at the Blackwell Regional Hospital. At the meeting, Smith said that she would want to meet members of the community, and invited them to stop by her office at City Hall.