Exeter announces Visalia Public Works director Adam Ennis as new city manager starting on June 27
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
EXETER – After six months of searching, and a series of exhaustive interviews, the Exeter City Council has decided to offer Visalia Public Works director Adam Ennis, the position of city manager.
Since the beginning of January when former Exeter city manager Randy Groom relocated to Visalia, former Visalia finance director Eric Frost had been serving as city manager on an interim basis. According to Ennis, he’ll be sworn in during the City’s June 26 meeting and begin to settle into the city manager’s chair the next day.
Jumping into the job before the end of the month shouldn’t be too much of a shock for Ennis, after all he is familiar with the town.
A native of Exeter, Ennis was born in the Exeter hospital and graduated Exeter High School in the class of 1983. His dad is from Exeter and his mother was an early transplant to the city, and graduated from Exeter High School as well. Ennis says being from the town made the position all the more attractive.
“I’ve got a back ground in Exeter so from that point it was just a good fit all around.”
Aside from being a good fit, Ennis felt it was just good timing. Ennis’ background in public works plays particularly well with the challenges the City of Exeter is currently facing. Over the next few years Exeter’s public works department is anticipated to be under siege between fixing aging water infrastructure and maintaining the City’s streets. Ennis has spent the last six years as public works director for Visalia, but has spent a combined 14 years with Visalia starting in the community development department as an engineer. Before he began his public service career he had cut his teeth in the private sector as an engineer with Forester, Webber & Associates for six years.
“Over the next few years [Exeter] needs some help with their public works department. So that was a good fit and it just made sense.” Ennis said.
Evidently, Frost feels as if Ennis’ entrance into the City is timely for the same reason.
“The city council has identified a number of water, road and sewer projects that need the City’s attention. Who better to lead the City forward than a civil engineer like Adam Ennis,” Frost said.
In addition to Ennis’ background in public works council member Jeremy Petty says bringing Ennis into the fold of the City’s administration rounds out the recent rebuild of administrators. In the last year alone Randy Groom, former city clerk Sandi Guillen, former finance director Sheri Emerson, former police chief Cliff Bush and former community development director Felix Ortiz all retired or departed for other reasons.
“Adam being a civil engineer and leveraging his experience with City of Visalia will be an asset to our community,” Petty said. “In the last year we have hired a new personnel officer, finance director, police chief and now city administrator. I truly believe our team is going to take Exeter to the next level of efficiency.”
Groom, who is no stranger to Exeter’s city manager job, spoke with Ennis at length about the position. In all, while Groom will be losing his public works director in Visalia, he believes the move is good Ennis as a whole.