By Pat Caldwell
NYSSA — When Jim Maret walked into Nyssa City Hall last week to start his first day as city manager, he realized that life had changed.
“Now I have to put some big shoes on here and just go,” he said.
Maret, who was the Nyssa ordinance officer, stepped into the top city job April 3. He will manage 21 employees and a city with a budget of about $12 million.
Maret replaces Roberta Vanderwall, now the Lakeview city manager.
He said his first day on the job went by fast.
“That first day was full of stuff. A lot of phone calls. I talked to the staff, visited with them to find out what some of their wants, goals, needs and concerns were,” he said.
The new job requires transition, he said.
“For me, the most difficult part is going from working basically out of a patrol car outside to mostly inside in an office. I am not used to being inside all the time,” he said.
Maret is no stranger to management. He worked for Les Schwab for more than 25 years, including management roles at the Nyssa store and the Emmett tire facility.
He said he’s back in a job managing people.
“This is actually more of my forte to what I was doing before (at Les Schwab),” he said.
Maret, who grew up in Hermiston and has lived in Nyssa since 2005, said he is also fortunate to take over the city manager for another reason. Both Nyssa Police Chief Ray Rau and Vale City Manager Lynn Findley filled in while the city council sought a full-time person and their work helped.
“I made sure Ray stayed on as assistant city manager and Lynn has helped me a ton,” Maret said.
His job presents many responsibilities, he said.
“I make sure that the projects within the city are on the timeline they are supposed to be on,” he said.
Maret also must make sure the daily functions of the city – such as garbage collection or ordinance enforcement – are completed. He must also ensure he communicates effectively with the city council and residents he said.
“You have to be available to the public,” he said.
Finally, he works as a cheerleader for Nyssa.
“You are also promoting the city outside of its own citizens to try to get more citizens,” he said.
Maret said using taxpayer money wisely is a goal of his.
“We have to make sure the taxpayers get everything they can out of that dollar they are spending. It is a big responsibility and I take it seriously,” he said.
Maret also was involved in the police department’s reserve officer program and sold real estate, jobs that get shelved for now.
Maret has been involved with Nyssa Chamber of Commerce and the city planning commission He believes residents need to support local merchants.
“If you live in a small town, you need to shop in a small town. Maybe the costs are a little more, though I think our stores are pretty competitive, but you need to support your community,” he said.