Shock and awe

Shock and awe by David Lias Reports that Jim Patrick is leaving his job may be a bit premature.

At least they were just before the Plain Talk's press time Thursday.

Patrick, who has served as Vermillion's city manager for the past two years, was selected last Friday among a field of four finalists to be the new city manager of Kalispell, MT.

According to a news report in the Kalispell Daily Inter Lake, that city's mayor, Pam Kennedy, said Patrick was offered the job on Friday, Sept. 10, following a series of 90-minute interviews with four finalists.

Before leaving for Montana to be interviewed, Patrick informed the Vermillion City Council he was seeking the job.

This Monday, he informed the council that he had been offered the job, but hadn't yet formally accepted it.

Patrick told the Plain Talk Thursday morning that he and Kalispell officials are still working out some details in his contract.

"We're still doing the contract stuff (with Kalispell)," Patrick said. "Nothing has been completely resolved yet. It's more contractual language at this point, and making sure things are clear between the two parties. Hopefully we'll have things resolved one way or the other within in the next day or so.

"It's a shock and also an honor to be selected, and I sure didn't expect this one, but I need to take it seriously and consider what they are offering us," he said.

Money isn't motivating Patrick's move. He said he wouldn't ask Vermillion for a raise, knowing how tight the city budget currently is.

"It's more of a quality of life issue," he said. "I need to think about my family � what's best for my family."

According to The Daily Inter Lake, Kalispell officials have offered Patrick a contract that tentatively calls for an $85,000 base salary, a $400 monthly car allowance, a 13.7 percent annual pension contribution, and the same health insurance, holiday and sick pay that other Kalispell employees receive.

He also will be reimbursed for his moving expenses.

Kalispell, Patrick said, offers a great quality of life.

"Everything I've seen about the schools and community and council � they're interested in me because of growth issues there," he said.

Kalispell's growth currently is far overwhelming Vermillion's 2.4 percent population increase between 1990 and 2000.

Kalispell grew by 19.4 percent or 2,306 people during that same time frame.

He said that he will probably let the Vermillion City Council know his final decision later Thursday, Sept. 16.

"I have a lot of mixed emotions, I really do. I've thoroughly enjoyed working here. It's a hard decision to make," he said.

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