05/02/06 — New Pikeville administrator getting familiar with town

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New Pikeville administrator getting familiar with town

By Turner Walston
Published in News on May 2, 2006 1:48 PM

In just two weeks as town administrator, Bob Buchanan has identified some good things in Pikeville, and some areas for improvement.

Buchanan, 57, started in Pikeville on April 17.

"Pikeville has a lot of opportunities and a lot of good things going for it right now," he said. He cited Pikeville park and the new wastewater treatment plant as examples of promising town projects.

Immediately prior to coming to Pikeville, Buchanan was vice president of technical services with Kuramsa SA, a garment manufacturer in Guatemala with about 16,000 employees.

"A city's a business just like a business is," Buchanan said. "You need to treat it as such." That involves strategic planning and goal setting, he said.

Buchanan worked as a city manager in his hometown of Shelbyville, Tenn., in 1999 and 2000. His work in the garment industry has taken him all over the world.

"To be a country boy from Tennessee, I've been fortunate to see a lot of different countries in the world, and a lot of different cultures."

Buchanan said he can use that experience in his Pikeville work. The town has issues similar to those in small towns all over the world, Buchanan said.

"All areas have their little areas of thorns. We just want to make sure those don't grow into full-scale thickets," he said.

Pikeville needs to cross-train its employees, Buchanan said. "With a small staff, people need to be a jack of all trades, to some degree," he said. Everyone needs to know how to read meters, take care of public works tasks, equipment operations."

In his position, Buchanan said it's important not to take on too much at once.

"The worst mistake that people can make in a position like this is to have too much on their plate, and be halfway done on a lot of things, and not fully complete any one thing," he said. "My method of work is one thing at a time, but get it done and not have to go back and revisit it."