Pendleton hires new town manager

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PENDLETON — When Pendleton town manager Tim McClintick resigned in January, town council president Chet Babb said the vacancy would not stand open for long.

“It’s not going to take months; I won’t allow it to take months,” he said then.

No one was factoring in a lengthy delay caused by a global pandemic, of course, and on Monday the council did its best to make up for lost time.

In a special meeting lasting just a few minutes, the council voted 5-0 to hire Scott Reske — former Marine helicopter pilot, former Indiana state representative, civil engineer and almost lifelong Pendleton resident — as McClintick’s permanent replacement.

As of press time, he was expected to be on the job starting Wednesday.

“Just a matter of record — we, the council, met two weeks ago in executive session, started the interviews, and we ended up just interviewing three people that night and one the following Monday,” Babb said at the start of the meeting. “Four people out of the total people that applied for the job.

“At that point, we got down to one person, and that person’s here tonight, so I’m going to entertain a motion to vote on hiring a new town manager.”

The council went on to vote unanimously for Reske, and the meeting was adjourned without discussion.

“I’m very happy with our selection,” Babb said on Tuesday. “It’s a 5-0 vote. Everybody’s in favor. We had some good people apply, very good people. So, we picked the best one out of the crop, and it happened to be Scott Reske.

“He is a veteran, a retired colonel — I’m big on veterans. He’s managed people, he’s done budgets, he was a state legislator — he still knows people and he’s got connections. He’s very well qualified, very qualified. He’s an engineer, knows stormwater and sewers. It’s a plus for us.”

Councilwoman Jessica Smith said on Monday that Reske stood out from the pool of candidates in several ways, including his familiarity with the town, his technical background and his personality.

“I liked that Scott was local, and I felt that he would be able to step into the role without needing a lot of handholding, and would be someone who could take the reigns right away, and not need a lot of education as to where the town is and where we’re going,” Smith said.

“One of the things that impressed me, his engineering background, I think that’ll be crucial to some of the projects the town has going on now and in the future. I also think his background in politics as a state representative is helpful. He knows how to speak with constituents, he’s very careful and charismatic and personable when you speak with him, which I think is important for somebody in this role. For me, interviewing the candidates, I was really looking for someone that could be an ambassador for the town. And I think we’re getting that with Scott.

The town manager is responsible for administering the duties of the town council and supervising the town’s planning department, public works and utility office.

The town received 41 applicants for the job, which will pay Reske a $90,000 annual salary.

Reske, 60, a married father of four, has lived in Pendleton since 1964, with the exception of five years when he was at college and 10 years of military service.

He graduated from Pendleton Heights High School, and according to his resume he served active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from from 1983 to 1992, was owner/vice president of Indianapolis-based engineering firm Beam, Longest and Neff from 1992 to 2010, and was in the Indiana House of Representatives from late 2001 to 2012.

He has owned SER Consulting from 2010 to present, served as executive director of government affairs and safety at the Indiana Department of Education from 2013 to 2017, and for the past year has taught advanced manufacturing, logistics, operations and safety at the District 26 Career Center in Anderson.

“I helped cities and towns all over Indiana with their infrastructure and their economic development,” Reske said by phone Monday night after the council vote. “I always thought all that experience that I picked up in all those Indiana town halls, you know, I always wondered if I’d ever use it in my own town.

“So that I finally end up doing it is a surprise to me, because I didn’t think the opportunity would ever come about, but it did.”

Reske said the engineer in him sees spot flooding as one of the first issues to deal with in town.

He also shared some ideas about how he will approach the job in its totality.

“You’ve got two sides, you know, making sure the trains are running on time, making sure people are getting water and electricity, and making sure the streets are in good condition, eliminate the flooding issues. And then on the other side is, you know, growing smart because Pendleton is going to continue to grow, and you’ve just got to grow smart. I’ve seen a lot of towns … over the years, as an engineering consultant for them, I’ve seen a lot of towns do some things with their roads and streets that hurt their downtown, and they lost the feel. We need to deal with the congestion but at the same time deal with it in a way that keeps the feel of Pendleton, keeps the downtown alive and growing and vibrant, and the park.”

“So we’re just starting with a new slate. We’re going to look at everything from top to bottom, look for efficiencies, try to get rid of waste, listen to what people want, see if we can improve some of the services, start to tackle some of these flooding problems.”

He said overarching the everything is good customer service, both in dealing with the public and with employees.

“I think, being a military officer has taught me to stay focused on the real issue and to get the mission done. But I think as a state rep, also, I’ve learned that you have to listen to people, because it is amazing the ideas people actually bring, that you have to try and understand everyone’s perspective, because everybody’s perspective is right; and how do you come up with a solution that addresses everybody’s perspective, and I always believe there’s always an answer out there — it may take you a while to find it.”

Rachel Christenson, who has served as interim town manager since McClintick’s resignation, will now serve as the town’s planning director, according to Smith. Christenson had been assistant planning director, reporting to McClintick, who was planning director in addition to town manager.