O’Rourke gets to work | New city manager makes first rounds | TahoeDailyTribune.com

O’Rourke gets to work | New city manager makes first rounds

Adam Jensen
Adam Jensen / Tahoe Daily TribuneNew City Manager Tony O'Rourke sits in his office at Lake Tahoe Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Just days after touching ground, Tony O’Rourke, South Lake Tahoe’s new city manager, introduced himself to members of the Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe on Wednesday.

O’Rourke began work as the city manager on Monday.

He discussed his background and gave attendees to the Soroptimist luncheon at Harvey’s Resort and Casino an idea of how he intends to manage his new job responsibilities.

Born in Austria to American parents, O’Rourke spent his early years moving between in England, Italy, Washington D.C. and Thailand before landing in the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where he spent his teenage years.

O’Rourke graduated from Cornell University and was involved in city government in Dallas, Tex., Corals Springs, Fla. and Tallahassee, Fla. prior to becoming the Executive Director Beaver Creek Resort Company in Colorado, a non-profit corporation combining municipal services with a homeowners and resort association. He spent 14 years in Beaver Creek before accepting the South Lake Tahoe position.

O’Rourke has two college-aged daughters and a 16-year-old son with Suzy O’Rourke, his wife of 25 years. The new city manager expects his wife and son to move to the South Shore from Colorado later this month.

Since arriving, O’Rourke said he’s been impressed by the hiking and biking in the area.

He’s also begun meeting with department heads and other city staff to find out more about the city and what people would like to accomplish.

O’Rourke said his management style is “very strategic” and said he will encourage the city council to select five of priorities on which to focus. The strategic focus will encourage progress and keep the city council from focusing solely on the issues of the week, O’Rourke said.

With council support, the city manager said he would like to reestablish commercial air service to Lake Tahoe Airport as one of his first priorities.

But, the ability to make changes to the city will rest on the council, O’Rourke said.

“Unless there’s a political will by the political leadership nothing is going to get done,” O’Rourke said.

He said council members deserve respect from the public because they serve long hours in a thankless position with little compensation.

O’Rourke said cities should be judged just like the private sector when it comes to the quality of services it provides.

“There’s no substitute for results,” O’Rourke said.

Following a question from the audience about a recent El Dorado County grand jury report that was critical of city leadership, O’Rourke said he like the idea that there are challenges facing the city.

He also said the level of dysfunction detailed in the report wasn’t surprising.

“I read the grand jury report, it doesn’t phase me because that’s not unusual,” O’Rourke said.

He said he is focused on moving the city forward.

With the level of consternation among the public regarding all levels of government, O’Rourke said its up to the city to earn the trust of its citizens on a daily basis.

He said he would be proactive in surveying citizens feelings about city government.

Feelings about some of O’Rourke’s first statements as city manager were positive on Wednesday.

Former City Attorney and Soroptimist Cathy DiCamillo was among those impressed by O’Rourke’s priorities.

“Everything you said is music to my ears. Go, go, go,” DiCamillo exclaimed.

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