Dateline Dixon: Nord stays quiet at first meetings

DIXON – Dixon residents and their government are getting adjusted to a new era, one with a city administrator.

David Nord's first day on the job was Nov. 13, a little more than a month ago. He's now been at three City Council meetings as a city employee and, for the most part, been quiet.

During Monday night's meeting, during a discussion about freezing the sewer rates, a resident asked why Nord wasn't giving his input since the taxpayers are paying him.

Commissioner David Blackburn responded that, "We don't pay him to make policy."

This is true.

As Dixon's first city administrator, Nord will be in charge of day-to-day operations in the city and play a crucial role in budgeting, but commissioners still will have the final authority over their departments.

Both Nord and Mayor Jim Burke, as well as other commissioners, have said the most important thing for him in the first few weeks on the job is to get familiar with the city and its issues.

In a November interview with Sauk Valley Media, Nord described what type of city administrator he was going to be, and it could very well be one that isn't all that vocal during City Council meetings.

His goal is get all the information the City Council needs, and answer any questions it may have, before the meeting, he said, so the mayor and commissioners are prepared to discuss items if they choose.

Nord believes it's that communication that's important to running a professional city government and a smooth City Council meeting.

He wants to have the answers ready if questions are asked, he said.

Not too long ago I came across Nord walking downtown with a clipboard. He was taking an inventory of vacant buildings and store fronts, he said, as part of one of his first projects – getting those buildings listed on a state database that's viewed by businesses and developers.

And soon, Nord will be taking on more of his permanent role in the city and during the City Council meetings. He told Sauk Valley Media in November that he expected to be at a point where he could do that between 30 to 60 days after taking over.

Today is Day 26.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini covers government and happenings in Dixon. He can be reached at mmencarini@saukvalley.com or at 815-284-2224, ext. 229. Follow him on twitter: @MattMencarini.

SVM reporter at Books on First today

Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini will have "office hours" from 1 to 2 p.m. today at Books on First, 202 W. First St.

Feel free to stop by and let him know what's on your mind. Is there a story in Dixon you think should be reported? Stop by to share or just to say hi.