LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – The City of Altus welcomed its new city manager Monday and she is already making plans to improve things across the city.
Janice Cain, a native of southwest Oklahoma, previously worked in Duncan as the assistant city manager. Before that, she served as Marlow's city manager for more than 15 years. She's using her experience and understanding of rural Oklahoma to make exciting plans for the future of the City of Altus.
Cain just got her name plate and a map of the city on Monday, so she's still trying to understand everything that's going on. She's been meeting with the city staff to come up with a plan. These first few days have made her very excited about the future of Altus.
"City management is what I am passionate about," Cain said.
Cain is no stranger to the area. She grew up in Stephens County and remembers watching Altus grow over the years. Cain said she is ready to get her hands dirty and make it even better.
"Internally, just day-to-day operations. I know we are dealing with a lot of water leaks, and we're struggling on some things we can't seem to catch up on. This time of year, everybody has high weeds and grass, so we're looking at those issues," Cain said.
The loss of the DOC inmates at the Altus work center has been hard on the city. The inmates often carried out city jobs including mowing, picking up trash and working at the animal shelter. The labor was free and helped free up manpower. Since the Oklahoma Department of Corrections closed 15 work centers across the state, the city has been working to find ways to handle the workload.
"We're trying to strategize on what are we going to do to help those departments who feel that shortfall," Cain said.
Cain is spending her time evaluating changes that may need to be made, but she says she commends the employees she works with because they've already come a long way.
"I think some activities that were done the last few years have helped the progressiveness within this organization. I think as long as we're all on the same page, our motto is Team Altus. I'm a team person. We're all a team," said Cain.
Cain says Altus Air Force Base allows for room for expansion within the city.
"It takes all that to make the community grow, get better services, more retail and I think all of those things are on the agenda," Cain said.
Cain says even with all the word she's been trying to get done, she's never felt more welcome while getting settled in.
"I feel comfortable here and it really feels like a new work home," Cain said.
Cain says her next step is meeting with the City Council and creating surveys to send out to the community to get more feedback on what they want and need.