Lamb ready for next challenge as Vale city manager

Katy Lamb, Vale city manager, said she enjoys her new role and believes the future is bright for her adopted hometown. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – Katy Lamb still shuffles paper work and answers phone calls in the same office where, for four years, she worked as the Vale bookkeeper.

When she was picked by the Vale City Council to become city manager, she faced the option of moving into the office next door. That office was used in the past by former city managers Lynn Findley and Alan Daniels.

“I liked the light in here,” said Lamb as to why she never moved.

“And it’s more open.”

Lamb is closing in on the end of her first year in a job she never expected to fill but now is happy she was selected. Right now, she said, the city “moving right along.”

“The water project is done. So, other than that, everything is running pretty darn smooth,” said Lamb.

Lamb stepped in as interim city manager last March, replacing Daniels, who abruptly resigned after only a few weeks on the job.

Lamb, who worked as the city bookkeeper for four years, was chosen to be city manager unanimously by the city council in May.

Lamb said her job as bookkeeper was like her current role.

“The city manager watches all of the pennies going out of the door but so does the bookkeeper,” said Lamb.

There are differences to the two jobs, said Lamb.

“There is a whole lot more paperwork (as city manager) and a lot more political stuff, and you have to keep all of the grants in line and watch for them,” said Lamb.

Lamb said one advantage was working for Findley as bookkeeper.

His expertise, she said, is something she still relies on.

“I’ve called him a couple of times, asking him questions on things,” said Lamb.

Her time as bookkeeper also helped her gain experience that paid off when she became the city manager, said Lamb.

“It was an easy transition because I didn’t come from the outside. I was on the inside and had a firm grasp of what was going on, maybe not as detailed, as opposed to someone coming in from the outside,” said Lamb.

For Lamb – who manages about 15 city employees – the Vale job was also a way to stay close to home. A native of Elko, Nevada, Lamb came to Vale after she married Scott Lamb more than 40 years ago. Together they raised a family of five and Lamb eventually began work for Nichols Accounting Groups before stepping into the Vale bookkeeper position.

Lamb said her role as city manager allows her to see the “bigger picture.”

“I like seeing how the whole thing works from a deeper perspective. I learn new things and I like working with people,” said Lamb.

Christine Phillips, a Vale city councilor, said Lamb has a “real passion for Vale.”

“She loves Vale. She is in this for the right reasons. That’s a great thing to have a city manager who is invested in the community,” said Phillips.

Vale Councilor Monte Bixby was more succinct about Lamb.

“I think she is doing a helluva job. She’s on the ball. Whenever something is brought to her attention she is on it like she should be,” said Bixby.

Lamb said so far, the only major obstacle she’s encountered on the job is an ongoing clash between the city and the school district over a water line at the new Vale Middle School. Lamb said she hopes that issue will be resolved soon.

The next big task on her radar screen, said Lamb, is a project to put in new sidewalks down D and F streets. The project, funded by a $1.2 million state grant – is set to kick off in April or May, said Lamb.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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