Longtime City Clerk, Financial Services Director Set To Retire

Pictured fifth from left, Jim Olson, city clerk and financial services director, will be retiring after serving 30 years in city government. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

A city administrator is retiring after 30 years of service to the city of Jamestown.

On Tuesday, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi announced the retirement of Jim Olson, city clerk and financial services director. Olson will be concluding his public service career to join a local certified public accounting and tax firm, Teresi said.

Olson’s retirement from his city positions will be effective Aug. 31.

“He is like a family member to me. A close and trusted advisor,” Teresi said. “I wish him nothing, but the best.”

Teresi said “yes and no” when asked if Olson’s retirement came as a surprise. The mayor said during his last election campaign when he ran unopposed in 2015, Olson had informed him he would be retiring at the end of Teresi’s four-year term, which is set to expire in 2019. However, a month ago, Teresi said Olson informed him of an opportunity to work in the private sector that he didn’t believe would still be available in 2019.

“There is never a good time to lose a highly-valued and significant member of the team,” Teresi said. “He will be available to help us out in anyway during the interim and transition period.”

Teresi said he informed Jamestown City Council about Olson’s retirement during the executive session that followed a work session meeting Monday. The mayor said he has some ideas for potential candidates to fill the role of city clerk and financial services director in his administration.

He said, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future he will have a candidate to propose to fill the vacancy, which council will need to approve.

Olson started his long tenure in city government on April 29, 1981, when he was hired as executive assistant to former Mayor Steven B. Carlson. He was then appointed to serve as city clerk in April 1985 and then city clerk and treasurer in April 1992.

In 1994, Olson started his own records and information management firm through which he worked with and assisted municipalities across the state. In 1996, he also served as the interim business administrator for the Jamestown Public Schools and finance director for the city of Warren, Pa., until he returned to Jamestown in 2000 when he was appointed by Teresi to be the financial services director.

In conjunction with city government reorganization and downsizing efforts, Olson assumed city clerk responsibilities again in 2008. During his career, Olson has been involved with a variety of public professional organizations, including serving as president of the New York Association of Local Government Records Officers and chairman of the Regional Advisory Services Committee of the New York State Local Government Records Advisory Council.