I am delighted with the arrival of Atwater’s new city manager, Art de Werk. Many of our city employees share the same sentiment. They are eager to shed the demoralizing malaise that has gripped city hall for years. Poor leadership and neglect from previous city managers, along with Mayor Jim Price’s effort to undermine de Werk’s appointment has decimated city worker morale.
The economic recovery is everywhere – everywhere except Atwater, which remains in a state of perpetual financial crisis. During America’s Great Recession, de Werk took the helm as city manager of Ceres and quickly demonstrated success. He became lead negotiator in contracts for five unions and three contract cycles. He identified which city funds could legally offset debt. Then, he brought in community involvement by establishing trust with groups that had been suspicious of city leadership.
No doubt, Atwater is sick in many areas. Thankfully, de Werk is just what the doctor ordered!
Fred Warchol, Atwater