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New city manager visits to meet staff, hear about issues

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You could call it Introduction to Watertown City Government and Politics.

Recently hired City Manager Sharon A. Addison was back in City Hall on Thursday to get introduced to department heads and other employees and find out about pending issues facing the city.

Ms. Addison, 49, was taken around City Hall by outgoing interim City Manager John C. Krol, on his last day in the office. Ms. Addison begins her new job July 16.

Mr. Krol and Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham met with her to help her get off to a good start, the mayor said.

“I talked to John about some of the challenges I’ll be facing,” she said after spending most of the day in City Hall. “It was a great day, a great day. I look forward to meeting with people and making a difference.”

The Watertown City Council appointed her to the $120,000-a-year position in May after not renewing former City Manager Mary M. Corriveau’s contract in January.

Mayor Graham gave her some advice: “Get to know the work force and get to know about government and just being a manager.” He also reinforced the City Council’s support for her.

During her whirlwind tour of City Hall, she shook hands with Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and development coordinator. He told her about the functions of the Planning Department, who works in his office and what projects they are working on.

It was a scene that also played out in the engineering and comptroller’s offices and at the Department of Public Works during the day. She also met with the Watertown Daily Times editorial board later in the afternoon.

To keep up with what’s been going on at City Hall, she’s been reading the Watertown Daily Times and a local Internet news site. Unable to meet with the other four council members Thursday, she will spend part of her first week on the job talking with them to get their take on what’s going on in the city, she said.

Ms. Addison, who lives in Severn, Md., but grew up in Schenectady, spent the Fourth of July in the north country. She and her family will now head to Rockport, Mass., for some time together.

A 1985 SUNY Potsdam graduate, she will move here with her two children, 8-year-old Kiara and 11-year-old Mckayla Weber. For now, they will live in her summer home along the St. Lawrence River on ReedPoint Road, Fishers Landing, until she buys a house in Watertown.

“They tell me I’m going to need an 18-wheeler for my household,” Ms. Addison said.

For the past 27 years, she has worked for the National Security Agency at Fort George G. Meade, Md., first as a technician/analyst and the last 15 years as a division chief responsible for overseeing programs in intelligence. She officially leaves her job next Friday, just three days before she takes the helm at City Hall.

She was among four finalists and 36 candidates who applied for the position.

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