Watertown’s new city manager looking at ‘long horizon’ for work ahead

WWNY Watertown’s new city manager looking at ‘long horizon’ for work ahead

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Ken Mix is locked in as Watertown’s next city manager. But, he’s no stranger to the job or city hall.

When Watertown needed someone to fill in as city manager, Ken Mix got the call.

He took the reigns after Rick Finn resigned in January.

“I was working basically half-time, trying to spread the time I could until about July, expecting that that’s when they would be able to fill the position,” said Mix.

But the COVID-19 pandemic changed that. Mix says when the state shut down, he switched to full-time.

The city started its search for a permanent city manager over the summer and, again, Mix got the call.

“I think there’s a need for some stability in the city manger’s position at this point and I’ve gone this far and we’ve made it through,” he said.

Mix has worked in city hall before with a 30 year career in the planning department. For a majority of that time, he was the department’s head before retiring in 2016.

“He’s very level-headed, even-keel. Just works hard and gets the job done and we’re excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with him,” said Planning and Community Development Director Michael Lumbis.

Mix says there is work to do. The city has to put together next year’s budget after taking a financial hit from the pandemic.

Contract negotiations with the city’s fire union are underway and neither side seems to be budging on the issue of minimum manning.

And Watertown’s lucrative hydro-electric contract ends in 10 years.

Mix says with job in hand, he has more time to tackle challenges like these.

“I’ve got a long horizon to look at for planning things,” he said.

Mix’s contract starts in January. He says it can be up to 2 years and will pay $130,000 a year.

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