Edinburgh extends interim town manager contract, search continues

The Edinburgh Town Council is bought time in their search for a new town manager this week.

Interim Town Manager Wade Watson’s contract was set to expire Wednesday, but town council members unanimously approved an extension through Dec. 31 as they narrow down a candidate pool to replace him.

Town council members plan to interview the final two candidates next week before making a hiring decision. The council doesn’t have a specific deadline for announcing a new hire, but council members plan to do so sometime this year before the contract extension expires, said Ryan Piercefield, council president.

“Wade will move to a part-time capacity if we hire a new town manager before then. He will stay on to ensure there’s no lapse in productivity and make sure there’s a seamless transition,” he said. “Our backup plan is to have Wade stay on (as town manager) if we don’t have a full-time candidate he can help transition.”

For the remainder of his time as town manager, Watson will make about $1,782 a week, which would be an annual salary of$92,650.

The town manager plans, organizes, directs and coordinates with town council members regarding town operations. They are also in charge of developing administrative policies, ensuring public services are provided to residents and building relationships with community members and business leaders, according to the town website.

The new town manager will make between $50,000 and $92,650 a year, according to a job listing on salary.com.

Watson initially planned to retire in 2021. Instead, he’s led the town since July 2022, when he replaced Dan Cartwright, who took a job as Bargersville’s town manager. Along with leading the town of 5,000 people, Watson has served as planning director, developing Edinburgh’s short and long-term goals.

Town officials have been looking for both a permanent town manager and a planning director since last year, but haven’t been able to fill either position. With no luck finding a planning director, town officials have shifted to search for a zoning director, who would have fewer responsibilities.

The zoning director would be in charge of determining compliance of properties with zoning codes, mediating correction of zoning violations, providing the public with zoning provisions and procedures, and reviewing plans for residential, commercial and industrial construction projects, among other responsibilities. The zoning director will be paid between $18 and $24 an hour, depending on experience.

The town council has reviewed resumes from previous town manager applicants but rejected them. Town officials partnered with Indianapolis-based consulting firm The Veridus Group to screen candidates for the town manager job, Watson said in March.