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Jolynn Becker becomes citys permanent manager

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - After eight years with the city of Banks, Jolynn Becker will officially be the city manager when the council approves a new contract.When there’s a problem, Jolynn Becker likes to step in and take care of it.

As the oldest sibling of five, Becker still tries to help her family figure out necessary game plans, and during her 20 years working for U.S. Bank, she transitioned smoothly through consolidations and mergers, not to mention the increased role of computers.

Years later, working as the city recorder for the city of Banks, Becker took the reins as interim city manager when the previous holder of the position, Kyle Awesome, left abruptly after only a few months of service.

Now, it looks as if Becker will leave her interim status behind — and the city will save the $25,000 allotted in its budget for a potential city manager search.

Early this year, when her position was new and the curveballs kept coming, Becker was still trying to catch her breath. “I’m still trying to get my hands around it all. We’re still trying to figure out where we’re at,” she said in January. “I want to make sure if I consider taking on the city manager position that it’s good for the city and good for me, and that I’m what council is looking for.”

Apparently, the council believes in Becker’s competency to handle almost any situation after weathering the last nine months — which included the aftermath of a not-so-awesome predecessor, the death of Banks city attorney Jim Lucas and the resignation of the city planner, mayor and a councilor.

“You just never know when something is going to happen,” said Becker.

Council members gave Becker a positive review last week and decided she’ll hold the position officially after they approve a new contract and salary (she assumed Awesome’s $65,000 salary, and council approved a 3.05 percent raise last week).

“After nine months of doing it, I think my previous and current experience is what council is looking for,” Becker said last week. “When you’re thrown into it with 24 hours’ notice, you just don’t know. But as the months pass, you stop and think, ‘This is something I could do. I’m doing it well.’”

Mayor Pete Edison, who took over when previous mayor John Kinsky resigned earlier this year, said he thinks promoting Becker is a wise choice.

“We had a lot of issues when she came on — we were in a little bit of a crisis,” Edison said. “She stepped into the role and performed at a very high level.”

Edison listed Becker’s top strengths as her ability to deftly manage the city budget and its employees, being project oriented and willing to learn something she doesn’t already know.

“These past months have reconfirmed that these tasks are mostly things I’ve done or have the experience to do,” said Becker, who also worked under the city’s first manager, Jim Hough. “I saw that I was moving forward with things and I wasn’t stalling projects. I built confidence and said ‘Hey, I’m ready for that next step.’”

But even though Becker likes to make things happen, she emphasizes that she’s not a solo worker. When it comes to both her job at the city and her role in her family, she values a team effort.

“We all pitched in to figure it out,” she said of the tumultuous recent months.

Eight years ago when Becker started working for Banks as the city recorder, she didn’t have any government work experience, but thought it sounded like a good fit for her. The skills she acquired working in groups and managing employees at U.S. Bank transferred over nicely, she said.

Becker likes Banks because it’s small, even though “it’s different than it was in 1977,” the year she graduated from Banks High School.

Now, she’s excited to move forward on a few long-term city projects, including Main Street revitalization, increased economic development and the completion of water-system studies and updates.

At the end of the council meeting last week, Becker thanked councilors for their confidence in her.

“As an individual, you rely on others and the support of others to help you achieve things in your life, whether it’s in a personal or work environment,” she said.

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