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Council makes city manager hiring official

The hiring of Thomas Barry as city manager became official with the confirmation vote of the Minot City Council on Friday.

Barry, current public works director in Meridian, Idaho, tentatively will start his job in Minot Dec. 12. The council set the base salary at $150,000 and provided benefits that include $10,000 in moving costs, full health insurance, a $425 car allowance and dues to professional and service clubs. His contract is similar to that of his predecessor Lee Staab, with the exception of an extra $5,000 a year in salary.

“It’s quite generous, but I think to get good talent, it’s worth it,” council member Stephan Podrygula said. He noted the full health insurance differs from what other city staff receive, but added he hopes the city can extend that benefit to other staff in time.

Podrygula also commended the search committee and mayor for the thoroughness of the process.

“The process of coming up with this decision was a sound one and a good one,” he said. “If we can have a good process, we can be much more comfortable with the outcome.”

The search committee, consisting of citizens, city staff and council members, spent two months seeking a replacement for Staab, who resigned as manager in August after two years with the city. The city contracted with Prothman Company, a recruitment firm, which had presented three candidates for interviews.

Barry has been the director of public works for Meridian, a city of about 93,000 residents, since 2008. There, he received numerous awards and accolades for his leadership and accomplishments.

Barry previously worked in other cities of Minot’s size or larger. He was engineering and operations manager for Redmond, Wash., population 58,000, from 2001 to 2008. He was public works programs administrator for Bellevue, Wash., population 110,000, from 1999 to 2001. He also was department manager/assistant professor at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga., from 1998 to 1999.

His education has been in hydro-geology, engineering and administration. He holds master’s degrees in public administration and business administration from City University in Bellevue, a master’s degree in science from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., and a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.