Gilbert hires top candidate Banger as town manager - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Gilbert hires top candidate Banger as town manager

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Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 1:38 pm | Updated: 11:50 am, Fri Aug 5, 2011.

Patrick Banger was hired as Gilbert’s town manager on Tuesday after the Town Council approved a contract with a base salary of $170,000.

Banger, 42, served as city administrator of O’Fallon, Mo., from 1998-2004. Like Gilbert, O’Fallon is a fast-growing city that is generally conservative and anti-tax and has received accolades for safety and quality of life.

His first day on the job in Gilbert is Aug. 15.

“I hope that he will be innovative, and I know that he’s enthusiastic about the community,” councilmember Ben Cooper said. “He has got a strong economic-development background that I think is going to be helpful. He been in a growing community and is clearly in alignment with the areas of focus we have on the Council.”

Since 2004, Banger (pronounced BAN-jer) has served in administration for two homebuilding companies, then founded Banger & Associates, an O’Fallon-based consulting firm.

Banger has been assigned to carry out the vision of the Council in a town that is two-thirds built out and has begun to build an identity as a destination for biomedical and life sciences industries.

Future budget deficits loom, voters rejected a tax increase last year, and town officials have repeatedly said that savings-fund transfers cannot continue to be tapped to address the shortfall. A $6.9-million general-fund deficit is projected for fiscal 2012-13, rising to $15 million by 2014-15.

“Gilbert has a lot of growth to go, and we will certainly do our best to make that growth quality and sustainable,” Banger said. “To a certain degree, we can grow our way out of our current financial situation by bringing more industry into the community.”

Gilbert underwent a four-month search process — which overlapped a Council election in which three incumbents were voted out — to find a replacement for Collin DeWitt, a former Gilbert fire chief who served as manager for 1 1/2 years. Banger was one of six initial finalists.

Included in the compensation package, which is $213,574 in salary plus benefits:

• Banger will received $10,000 annually in deferred compensation.

• The town will pay Banger’s moving expenses (estimated at $17,000) and provide $1,200 per month living assistance for six months or until his St. Louis home sells, whichever comes first.

• Severance pay, including medical benefits, for six months if he is terminated without cause.

Tuesday’s Council special meeting commenced just after 8 a.m. and lasted about 15 minutes.

Town attorney Susan Goodwin told the five members on the dais — as well as mayor John Lewis and councilmember John Sentz, who both participated via telephone — that Banger had agreed to contact terms, and the hire was approved 7-0 via voice vote.

“We begin another chapter in the history of Gilbert, and we are eager for a visionary leader to help our town reach our potential as we prepare for the future,” Lewis said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6301 or dzeiger@evtrib.com

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