City taps new manager

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

John R. Sutherland, Jr., of Flagstaff, Ariz., was selected as the new city manager on Thursday by the Tucumcari City Commission.

Sutherland, 58, is slated to start work May 1.

Sutherland’s salary and contract details were not disclosed.

Mayor Mary Mayfield said the specifics of Sutherland’s contract would be available following a review by the city’s legal counsel. The city manager position became open when Richard Primrose left to become the manager for Quay County earlier this year. Clara Rey is currently serving as interim city manager.

Sutherland said, “I like the community. I think there’s a terrific amount of potential here. And, naturally, I’ve enjoyed all the people I’ve met. … Just excellent people … always fun, always interesting. I’ve not met anyone I’ve not enjoyed talking with. There’s a real strong sense of community, genuineness and well being. We just need to put the pieces together that are finally going to make things happen. I think a lot of really good groundwork has been done.”

What challenges does he foresee?

“I’d like to see the central city brought back to life,” Sutherland said, “so that the population doesn’t stagnate or drift downward.”

“The ingredients are all here,” Sutherland said, referring to the MainStreet project and plans for the train station to be the downtown centerpiece.

“ I’d like to see the city gather the strength it used to have.”

Where does Sutherland stand on the city’s and county’s proposal for a race track and casino?
“I’m a professional manager who works for the city, that’s a decision that the city leadership will have to make,” he said.

Sutherland, who said he was presently between jobs, most recently worked at the Village of Kykotsmovi, a Native American government, in Arizona about 100 miles northeast of Flagstaff. There, he was manager of the Department of Administrative and Technical Services.

Prior to that, he was vice president of administration and finance at Dine College, Tsaile, Ariz., general manager of Sonjon Enterprises, Inc. of Davenport, Iowa, and controller at Enviromark, also of Davenport.

Sutherland’s resume indicates he received a degree in accounting from Marycrest University, Davenport, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Iowa and is a certified landfill waste screener.

Workshops for the city budget were scheduled for April 24 and 25, but may be pushed back to May so that Sutherland can attend.