Sitting Down with Lewiston's New City Manager
LEWISTON, ID —
Lewiston's new city manager has been hard at work since January 1st, with many large projects underway.
Only two weeks into his positon, Alan Nygaard says he's felt drawn to this community for months. "Before we put my hat in the ring for the positon, let's just go down and visit. It was the people, how friendly they were and how warm they welcomed us into the community," he says of the visit he made to Lewiston before applying.
Nygaard has experience working in city administration and spent the last 18 years in capital planning at the University of Washington. But it's his ability to break down complex financial issues that he says will be a benefit to Lewiston's citizens.
Nygaards says, "I think that's a key piece - transparency and communication. Being able to meet with the community so they understand the implications of those projects on the community and can ask questions."
Two of those big projects he's inherited - infrastructure updates on aging storm and wastewater systems, and construction of Lewiston's new high school.
But he's starting small, getting to know his staff face to face.
"I want to be more of a coach role," he says of his position.
He's changed "directors" meetings to "leadership" meetings, wanting every department to feel like they have a hand in the future. He's also working closely with the new city council.
"Lots of oppotunity yet for me to understand what their vision for the community is and help them kind of come together and march forward."
Speaking of vision, Nygaard believes it's far too soon for him to have grand plans for the city. "I've gotta learn the history, I've gotta help them formulate the future," he explains.
Nygaard is replacing Lewiston's former city manager, Jim Bennett, who retired in December.