The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 9, 2013

Johnstown extends city manager’s contract

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — Kristen Denne is done with what she called “boot camp.”

Since early 2010, she has served as Johns­town’s city manager. Shortly before her arrival, a fractured City Council laid off 14 workers and raised taxes 10 mills.

She and elected officials, department heads and staff workers have spent the ensuing time attempting to improve a difficult financial condition, although the city remains in Pennsylvania’s Financial Recovery Act 47 program for distressed municipalities.

City Council clearly approves of the way she has performed her duties.

On Wednesday, the board extended Denne’s contract for two years with an option for a third.

“The first three years, we were really in boot camp here,” Denne said. “We were trying to get the train back on the tracks.

“Now, we’re in a position where the department heads are online, the administration’s online, council’s online. We can really start getting into some real progress now. We’ve identified problems, started the process of trying to fix structural problems we’ve had for many years, so now we can really get to the nitty-gritty of realizing some of the issues and making a true impact on Johnstown.”

All five council members present – Frank Janakovic, Rose Howarth, Pete Vizza, Marie Mock and Mayor Thomas Trigona – voted in favor of approving the deal that will provide Denne a 3 percent raise on her current $80,000 salary. Council members Ann Wilson and William Gentile Jr. were absent.

“I think Kristen’s doing a good job,” Vizza said.

Denne is the city’s eighth administrator since residents voted to change the form of government in 1993.

The Pitt-Johnstown graduate originally was hired to replace Curt Davis, who resigned in September 2009, leaving Bruce Haselrig as acting city manager for a few months.

Denne previously served as a borough manager in Ambridge, Beaver County.

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