Not a lot is known yet about Joan Riley, who is seeking the City Manager seat long held by Tom DeArman, who passed away last November.
Thankfully, what little we do know appears to be positive. One of Enid’s City Councilors spoke very highly of Riley and her ability to be creative in her solutions to problems. The councilor—who spoke on the condition of anonymity—said “Joan was incredibly good at her job…always mindful of the budget but was willing to ‘think outside the box’ a lot.”
As for her achievements for the city while in her post as Assistant City Manager, they attributed Riley to “the biggest renaissance Enid had seen in nearly a hundred years.”
Testaments to that statement can be found in one of Enid’s shining jewels: The Enid Event Center, which draws thousands to the concerts of big-name acts like Kenny Rogers, For God & Country, and The Beach Boys.
The event center also holds a number of community-oriented events throughout the year, such a circus and a Land Run Beer Fest.
Other high-ranking projects included the remodeling of the Convention Hall and a master park plan that led to the investment and refurbishing of several parks, a plan in which the councilor says she was “instrumental.”
In addition to her ability to think outside the box, she was know known for thinking long-term.
“We created a new 25-year comprehensive plan and she was part of that process as well,” the councilor said. “We have (also) gone through years of studies to determine the best answer for a looming water issue and have planned a pipeline from Enid to Kaw Lake.”
All in all, it seems that gaining Joan Riley as City Manager is to gain a person who cares about a town’s current and future issues.
When we first published the news of the city meeting, folks were quick to lend their comments on what should be done by the new city manager. “Sapulpa needs more business and shopping developments,” said one. “Stop letting Jenks, Glenpool, and Sand Springs outgrow us.”
Another acknowledged that the legacy left by Tom DeArman would be difficult to surpass. “She has big shoes to fill, but I wish her the best of luck.”
The meeting to decide on Riley is tonight at 7pm.