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Adams begins officially as Bessemer city manager

 

January 5, 2023



By P.J. GLISSON

[email protected]

Bessemer — Jennifer Adams served her first day as Bessemer city manager on Tuesday.

Technically, her new role started on Jan. 2, but that day was a city holiday in relation to New Year’s Day having fallen on Sunday.

Adams had been serving as interim city manager since Charly Loper served her last day leading the city on Nov. 10.

In addition, Adams continues as the city’s clerk/treasurer, although that position has been posted. She began that dual role in the fall of 2020.

“It’s chaos,” said Adams in a Tuesday phone call, while laughing about her multiple hats.

She added that she is not sure when the City Council will address applications for the clerk/treasurer slot. “I would think they’ll probably give it a few weeks, but I’m not sure,” she said.

Postings for that job state that applications will remain open until the job is filled.

Adams said she applied for the role as city manager because she wants to “help the city move forward.”

She added, “I’ve been a Bessemer resident my entire life. I was born and raised here.”

She believes that her treasurer position has provided her with knowledge of the city’s financial situation while her clerk position has allowed her to work closely with the public.

“That helps me now in the city manager’s position,” she said.

As for her goals in her first year of leading the city, Adams said she wants to work toward establishing a trailhead on the Iron Belle Trail that crosses behind the Bessemer City Hall.

She also wants to wrap up the water and sewer work relating to a 3-year project associated with a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant. Improvements for the city water tank also are expected soon.

Adams said that Loper, who had resigned in September, will be available to advise as needed on those projects that began during the latter’s employment.

The City Council voted on Dec. 6 to hire Adams as the city manager and then negotiated the terms of her contract in a closed session on Dec. 12. After another closed session on Dec. 27, the council approved the contract after minor revisions were made.

The 4-year contract began on Jan. 1 and will end on Dec. 31, 2026.

According to the contract terms, Adams will earn $70,000 in her first year, gradually rising to $74,285 in her fourth year. She also will receive three weeks of annual vacation that will rise to four years by the end of her contract.

Other benefits will include a pension plan, a health care plan that includes dental and vision coverage, a health care savings plan, life insurance, business travel reimbursement, and a cellular phone stipend. She also will be eligible for paid time off in relation to personal needs, illness and funeral leave.

If Adams should resign before her contract ends, she will receive an additional $10,000 if she helps to hire and train her replacement during a 30-day transition period.

The new city manager was not expecting any formal swearing in, but she said that she would sign any related paperwork in relation to her new position on Tuesday.

 
 

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