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Watertown City Council opts not to renew city manager's contract

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo
The Watertown City Council announces its decision not to renew the contract of its city manager.

Every one of Watertown's city councilors voted not to renew Sharon Addison's contract as city manager. All were elected after she was appointed to her position in 2012.

"We have different very different priorities than that of previous councils and it was a good opportunity to make that decision now," said Councilor Cody Horbacz.

The council has been critical of how Addison has handled the contract dispute with the local firefighter union, a legal fight that has dragged on for years. And some councilors have been pushing for Watertown to reevaluate its form of city government to potentially have city residents vote on a consolidation of the city manager's responsibilities into a full-time mayor position. 

The only vote against not renewing Addison's contract was Mayor Joe Butler, who was on the council when she was appointed. He says it will be difficult to fill her job when there is so much on the city manager's plate.

"We have a budget to pass we have contracts to continue to negotiate, we have a Downtown Revitalization Initiative that needs to be fulfilled, we have a poverty reduction initiative that needs to be implemented," Butler said. "So there's a lot of moving pieces."

Addison has agreed to remain on the job through the remainder of her contract which expires June 30. She declined to comment but released a statement Tuesday.

Serving as your City Manager has been a very rewarding challenge for me! I have worked diligently to accomplish the goals as directed by the former Council from the time I was hired through December 2017, and now with the new Council as of January 2018. I am very proud of our achievements!
I extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the Citizens of Watertown – your charisma, warm embrace, and the relationships I have cultivated allow me to call Watertown my home! I am indebted to the entire City Staff, Department Heads and employees, who have taught me a tremendous amount about municipal operations. Thank you for our friendships and your dedication every day in making the City a great place to live, work and play! And, thank you Mayor Joseph Butler, Jr. for being a great mentor and supporter. Thank you for having confidence in the qualities you saw in me when you were a Council Member and allowing me the opportunity to make a difference as Watertown’s City Manager. My decisions have always been made in the best interest of our City. God Bless Watertown!

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.