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BREAKING: Gov. Mead Names Former Casper City Manager Forslund To Head Department Of Family Services

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media
Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

Gov. Matt Mead has named Tom Forslund as the director of the Wyoming Department of Family Services, according to a news release.

Forslund, Casper’s former city manager, is the director of the Department of Health and will continue to lead that agency.

He replaces Steve Corsi who recently announced his resignation after six years to accept a position out of state.

“I wanted to provide the Department of Family Services immediate leadership while assessing the best long-term approach for the agency,” Mead said. “Tom Forslund is an extraordinary administrator. He has proven his capability at the Department of Health and is well able to manage both agencies.”

Forslund’s was Casper city manager for 22 years until 2011 when he took the position at the Department of Health.

His name has come up recently during conversations about whether Casper should keep its city manager form of government.

Critics of the city manager system have said years of turmoil in city government including the recent retirement of City Manager V.H. McDonald and the firing of Police Chief Jim Wetzel can be traced to Forslund’s successor John Patterson, who was city manager from 2011 to November 2015.

The current form of government has voters elect city council members who choose a mayor as a first-among-equal position. The council hires a city manager to  oversee the city departments including public safety, recreation, streets, water and sewer, and waste management.

The city manager serves at the pleasure of the council.

However, a petition drive has started to change the system to a “strong mayor” form of city government in which voters elect the mayor as a full-time position to oversee city departments.

Proponents of the strong mayor system have said voters would chose someone who lives in the area instead of hiring a city manager who may be from out of state and is not familiar with Casper.

But those defending the city manager position have said the system is good, and the recent problems — specifically Patterson — are an anomaly. They cite Forslund’s tenure as an example of why the system works.

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