In a unanimous vote Monday, Palestine City Council members approved hiring an assistant city manager – a position that has been unfilled for more than two years. The new assistant city manager also will take over the duties of former Finance Director Jim Mahoney.
Edena Atmore, who came to the city via recruiting firm Strategic Government Resources, was originally considered to work in the finance and billing departments.
When city officials learned of Atmore's experience in city government – more than a decade in city management and finance – they decided to tap her for both jobs.
“She's extremely intelligent, has a lot of experience, and is very friendly,” Senior Accountant Andrew Sibai told the Herald-Press Monday. “I look forward to working with her.”
Palestine's last assistant city manager was Michael Hornes. When Hornes became interim city manager in September 2017, he decided not to fill the assistant city manager's position.
Atmore, 60, who was assistant city manager for the city of Hutto, a city of roughly 30,000 near Austin, will earn $55 per hour on a part-time basis until April.
“I told the city that I am finishing up another job,” Atmore told the Herald-Press. “I worked some temporary assignments for SGR, and I don't want to leave anything unfinished.”
Her contract will be reassessed when she begins full-time employment. If the pay remains at $55 per hour, however, her salary would be more than $120,000 a year for her joint assistant city manager / chief financial officer job.
Mahoney earned $44.39 per hour – more than $92,000 per year – as finance director.
One of her first priorities, Atmore said, will be to improve communication and transparency in city government.
“One of my goals wherever I go is to win the 'Transparency in Government' award from the state,” she said. “If they haven't won it yet, they will once I'm done.”
Having worked in big cities like Dallas, Austin, and New York, Atmore said she is ready for the small-town feel of Palestine.
“It reminds me of where I grew up in Florida,” she said. “I'm looking forward to it.”