Strange: Bad times make good leaders

Mayor Strange takes a tour of all the city's departments.
Mayor Strange takes a tour of all the city's departments.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A new mayor is occupying the corner office at City Hall. Tuesday morning Todd Strange wasted no time getting started on the task of running the capital city.

Strange stepped into his new office, greeted a new staff and found a stack of papers that need his attention.

He's keeping it all in context, though. "The traffic doesn't know I am mayor yet..." Strange said," but city employees do. The new mayor spent most of his first day outside the office learning the in's and out's of each department and the people who manage them.

The tour was a top priority because in the next few weeks, he will put each department under the microscope to make big decisions about the 2010 budget and to rebuild the city's reserve fund.

"You can't operate our city without reserves," he explained. "If we had not had $28 million of reserves over the last two years, we would not be able to deliver the servies we do today."

As for the city's employees, Strange says jobs aren't on the chopping block for now, but some slight changes could come soon. Strange couldn't say for certain if furloughs would be needed because data is still being collected.

"Good times make bad managers because you don't ask the tough questions, bad times make good managers and that's what we are striving to do," he said.

Mayor Strange plans to bring together a team of accountants to break down each facet of the city's budget and then start from scratch. That way he can outline what funding each epartment must have to eliminate unnecessary expenses.