Three weeks into the job, new Rincon city manager Donald Toms has settled in and rolled up his sleeves.
“Things are going wonderful,” he declared.
Toms said he “jumped right in” on his first day on the job, which was Aug.15.
He comes from Bowdon in Carroll County near Carrollton. It’s smaller than Rincon, with a population of 1,959 versus Rincon’s estimated 6,922. And it lacks the growth that is going on here. According to Toms, the population has remained stagnant in Bowdon for a decade.
Nonetheless, both cities have about the same number of employees and the same work processes.
Toms knows what it’s like to work for growing cities. He’s also worked for Newport News, Va., which has a population of 178,281.
Toms sees positives and negatives to working for both small towns and larger cities. Yet he points out that in small communities the residents know who their city officials are.
“That’s a good thing, a very good thing,” he noted.
Asked what made him decide to pursue his line of work, he couldn’t quite pinpoint a specific reason.
“I’ve always been interested in local government,” he said.
One of his first projects on this job has been completing the updated personnel handbook. He presented a sample copy to the council at the last meeting. He hopes to have it completed by November. Once it is finished, Toms would like to look at other policies and determine if any changes are needed.
He said he looks beyond the status quo to find more effective ways of accomplishing tasks.
“How can we do it better,” he said of how he thinks.
Yet he doesn’t believe in change simply for the sake of changing.
“As things come up, you review it and if there’s a better way of doing it we’re certainly looking at it, but we’re not gonna change just to change,” he said.
However, Toms would like to make the city more responsive to the residents.
“One of the goals is to make the city more customer-friendly,” he said.
This may involve making the city’s Web site more user-friendly or establishing electronic bill pay for residents to pay their bills.
“We’re looking at all possibilities at this time,” he said.
And he’s receptive to what residents want.
In the meantime, he and wife Patricia and 6-year-old son Ariston continue to build their new lives.
“It’s been easy to assimilate into this area,” Toms said. “I’m enjoying it.”