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Watertown hires new city manager

Payne Horning
Former Bay City, Michigan, City Manager Rick Finn will take over as Watertown's city manager July 30.

The Watertown City Council has hired Rick Finn as its next city manager. The New York native has served as a city manager for five other municipalities, most recently in Bay City, Michigan. 

The SUNY Brockport graduate has ties to Watertown. His son was stationed at the Fort Drum Military Base three years ago.

"We came to know Watertown and when I became aware that it was looking for a city manager, I decided that I would apply for it because it is the type of community that I like as far as the friendliness of the people," Finn said. "Also, it is a community that is very similary to a lot of the communities I have worked for in the past - confronted with a lot of the same issues and challenges."

Among those issues are declining tax revenues and blight as a result of deteriorating and abandoned housing. Finn says Watertown also has several opportunities before it that he is well suited to help with, including the state's investment of $10 million to revitalize the city's downtown region. He considers it one of his areas of expertise, having worked with three other communities on redeveloping their downtowns. 

That stood out to Councilor Cody Horbacz. 

"In Bay City, along their waterfront in the three years that he was there, property values doubled from $50 million to $100 million," Horbacz said. 

Finn was one of 18 candidates to apply for the job. He will start on July 30, taking over for interim City Manager Brad Minnick. He stepped into the job after former City Manager Sharon Addison left to take a job at Fort Drum. The council had opted in January not to renew her contract.

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.