Transitions: Arlington, TX; Henry County, GA; West Sacramento, CA and more

“When you get in it and you’re in that groove and it’s working, it is a very fulfilling thing from a career standpoint and a public service standpoint.”–Morehead City Manager Randy Martin

Arlington, Texas (population 365,438): After conducting a national search for a new city manager, Arlington City Council members stayed close to home for their choice, according to the Star-Telegram. Deputy City Manager Trey Yelverton, 44, who has worked for the city since 1993, was promoted to the top job at the end of Tuesday’s council work session. Yelverton has been deputy city manager since 2006, overseeing departments including economic development, community services, parks and recreation, libraries, and police and fire. Previously, he was neighborhood services director. Yelverton earned a bachelor’s degree in political science-public administration from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1988 and a master’s from the University of North Texas in 1989. The council will vote on Yelverton’s contract at a later date, Cluck said. Last week, the council met twice to review 53 applicants. Councilman Robert Rivera said Yelverton, whose accomplishments include facilitating the Cowboys Stadium project and Super Bowl XLV bid, was an obvious choice.

Henry County, Georgia (population 203,922): During a called meeting last week, the Henry County Board of Commissioners appointed District 2 Commissioner Fred Auletta to the position of county manager, recently held by Butch Sanders, who turned in his resignation, according to Neighborhood Newspapers. With nearly 45 years of management and financial experience and an intimate knowledge of the county’s budget situation, Auletta is the ideal choice for the position, ensuring the county can effectively plan for the next fiscal year without missing a beat in spite of the anticipated decline in the tax digest. And at a called meeting last Friday, the commissioners named Brian Preston to fill the seat vacated by Auletta when he stepped down from the board earlier last week. Preston was one of seven people considered for the appointment. Others on the list included Roy Clack, Dan Judson, Arley Lowe, John Palmer, Brian Strickland and Kathy Watts. In anticipation of the appointment, Auletta submitted his letter of resignation to the Governor’s office earlier this week. He is also stepping down from his position at Bennett International, where he has been successful in broadening their base, increasing sales and improving the company’s profit margin even in this down economy. Also during last Friday’s called meeting, the board named District 3 Commissioner Randy Stamey as vice-chairman.

West Sacramento, California (population 37,642): West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon announced that City Manager Toby Ross plans to retire before July 1, according to The Sacramento Bee. Since assuming the city manager’s post in November 2002, Ross has overseen numerous projects and programs. City officials cited among his accomplishments major retail development in the north and south areas of the city, with anchor tenants such as IKEA, Walmart, Nugget and Target. They also cited development of the downtown into a government center encompassing City Hall, the Arthur F. Turner Yolo County Library, a satellite facility for Sacramento City College and a City Community Center. Before coming to West Sacramento, Ross was city manager for Park City, Utah, for 13 years.

Fulton County, Illinois (population 37,069): Only the Fulton County Board would break off a long-term relationship on Valentine’s Day, according to the Journal Star. The tally was 11-6 to notify Fulton County Administrator Mike Hays that the board does not intend to renew its vows in September. This is the second time he was left standing with an altered contract. His most recent agreement was struck after last-minute negotiating last fall, after a similar board decision. Allegedly, the break-up is not about love, but money. George Hall explained that Hays has a one-year contract which expires Sept. 13. Under the terms of that contract, Hays must be given at least 180 days notice if the board does not intend to renew. Otherwise, the contract automatically renews for another year. Hall maintains the county cannot guarantee it will have the funds for an administrator in the future. Hays makes $76,915 a year. Steve Conklin disputed that explanation. He called it ironic that the board approved hiring a new clerical assistant in the administrator’s office at the same meeting. Conklin is a member of the finance committee. He said if getting rid of Hays was a financial move, it should have been discussed by that group, but it was only discussed by the executive committee. Hays himself said little, except that it is common for county administrators to have severance or long-term provisions because they work in politically volatile situations. He said he told the board he intends to seek other employment, but will work hard in the seven months remaining on his contract.

Burlington, Iowa (population 25,663): After two days of interviews, the Burlington City Council Saturday named James Ferneau, 44, its new city manager, according to The Hawk Eye. Ferneau, city administrator of Sergeant Bluff since 2008, will start his new job in Burlington April 23, after a 60-day notice. Ferneau, who has been city administrator of Sergeant Bluff since 2008, will start his new job in Burlington April 23, following a 60-day notice to his current employer. Six candidates had an individual two-hour community orientation tour, met with a citizen’s panel and had an hourlong interview with city council members. Mayor Jim Davidson said the council and the panel were in agreement about hiring Ferneau once the interviews were over. Mayor Jim Davidson said the council and the panel were in agreement about hiring Ferneau. Ferneau has more to offer than a solid grasp on the budget, though. Davidson said the man is very personable. Mayor Pro Tem Christopher Reed said Ferneau stood out right away from the other candidates. Ferneau was headed back home Saturday night and is looking forward to bringing eight of his nine children back with him. The council has scheduled a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to officially adopt a resolution approving Ferneau’s employment agreement. The public is encouraged to attend. Ferneau is a native Iowan and said he will spend the first several weeks of his new job getting to know the staff and the community, as well as identifying the biggest issues that need to be dealt with. He said Burlington is comparable to his hometown of Marshalltown in many ways. He has 11 years of city management experience, having worked as city manager of Fairbury, Neb., before moving to Sergeant Bluff. Police Chief Dan Luttenegger has been interim city manager since Doug Worden retired at the end of December. Luttenegger and the council are still working on the fiscal year 2013 budget, which will be approved before Ferneau comes on board. Ferneau said given realities in municipalities’ budgets, the old way of doing things doesn’t work. He said addressing challenges means thinking outside the box, like sharing services with other entities and streamlining services. Ferneau was selected from six finalists recruited by Voorhees Associates from a field of 66 applicants. Davidson said he sees a bright future ahead for Burlington with Ferneau at the helm.

Marina, California (population 19,718): A letter laying out the rationale for City Manager Tony Altfeld’s pending ouster is short — one paragraph — and says the only reason is the city and Altfeld have failed to agree on pay issues, according to The Monterey County Herald. Responding to Altfeld’s request for written reasons for his pending March 7 termination, an Oakland labor attorney hired by the City Council to handle dealings with the embattled chief executive replied last Friday. The Feb. 17 letter from attorney Edward Kreisberg told Altfeld the sole reason for his pending removal was that he and the City Council could not agree on appropriate pay and severance terms for a new contract. Altfeld makes about $203,000 a year and his contract calls for 12 months of severance pay if he is let go. The city code, however, appears to cap a dismissed city manager’s severance pay at four months. Altfeld’s attorney, Mark O’Connor, took issue Tuesday with the reason given in the city’s letter. He said Altfeld had agreed to the City Council’s “last and best offer” on compensation and severance terms. O’Connor said the letter fell short of adequately disclosing “the information that bears on the reason” for Altfeld’s planned termination. Kreisberg didn’t return a phone message Tuesday. The council today will consider scheduling a public hearing sought by Altfeld on his termination for its March 6 meeting, the day before the city manager is supposed to go.

Safety Harbor, Florida (population 16,884): The Safety Harbor City Commission voted Monday night on a three-year contract with former City Manager Matt Spoor that brings him back at the same salary, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Spoor resigned in early January for a job with St. Petersburg but recently asked for his old job back. Commissioners unanimously agreed to an annual salary of $122,763 for the returning city manager. “Congratulations, Mr. Spoor. It’s good to have you back,” said Mayor Andy Steingold.

Green River, Wyoming (population 12,515): Longtime Green River City administrator Barry Cook has resigned, according to KUGR News. Green River mayor Hank Castillion said Cook handed him his resignation letter Thursday night. Castillion says the letter will be forwarded to the City council for discussion and action at there upcoming Tuesday night meeting. Castillion says he could not comment on what the next step will be for the city until the council has an opportunity to discuss Cook’s resignation. Cook has served the city for over 15 years.

Vidor, Texas (population 10,579): Ricky Jorgensen, Vidor city manager, is ending his seven year tenure with the city on March 9, according to The Record Live. He’ll be the new city manager of Giddings, a city on Highway 290 that is 40 miles south of Austin. Jorgensen said he looks forward to the move for two reasons: his daughter and his three-month-old grandchild live in Austin and also Giddings has its own water, sewer and electrical works utilities. Jorgensen feels the city has accomplished much in his stay in Vidor. Some of those accomplishments that stand out to him include completing two property annexations that allowed the city to grow, building the Joe Hopkins Memorial Park, building a new city hall, using Hotel Occupancy Tax money to improve the quality of life in an effective way and more revenues coming in. In fact, the city is close to balancing its budget for the first time in years, he said. The city council has also reached the halfway mark in the zoning process for the city. The city council and the Vidor Police Association also agreed upon a new contract two years ago. Another round of police contract negotiations will begin again either in May or June of this year. Advertising for a new city manager for Vidor has begun with notices on the Texas Municipal League, the Texas Managers Association websites and newspapers.

Taft, California (population 9,327): City Manager Bob Gorson resigned unexpectedly Tuesday night, apparently during an evaluation by the Taft City Council, according to the Taft Midway Driller. Gorson turned in his keys and was escorted from the building. Mayor Randy Miller confirmed the announcement Wednesday morning. Public Works Director Craig Jones was named interim city manager. Miller and City Attorney David Prentice were going to meet with city staff Wednesday morning to discuss the sudden resignation. Gorson’s  evaluation was on the agenda for a closed session prior to the 7 p.m. regular meeting, but it was postponed until after the regular open session. The council adjourned into closed session with Gorson and Prentice about 8:20 p.m.

Franklin, Virginia (population 8,812): After taking the Franklin city manager’s job on a three-month interim basis, June Fleming on Tuesday will return to retirement for what turned into a 3½-year stint, according to the Tidewater News. Fleming, who retired as city manager of Palo Alto, Calif., and moved to Franklin in 2000, applied for the interim position in 2008 when former City Manager Bucky Taylor left. The City Council searched for a city manager when she came on, but didn’t get a good pool of candidates. Randy Martin, the city manager for Morehead City, N.C., will start on Tuesday, Feb. 21. (See story below.) Fleming said she has enjoyed her time with the city and has no regrets. A member of High Street United Methodist Church, she plans to volunteer for the church and spend more time with family. She will represent Franklin on the Paul D. Camp Community College Board of Directors. Mayor Jim Councill wished Fleming well in retirement. A Little Rock, Ark., native, Fleming married her husband, Roscoe, 46 years ago. The couple has a daughter each and adopted a son together. Fleming began her city government career with the Palo Alto Public Library before working her through the ranks to city manager. She was with the City of Palo Alto for more than 30 years. Fleming took over at a crucial time when the city was trying to become more fiscally responsible, said Councilman Benny Burgess. He said Fleming helped clean up the budgeting process.  Fleming said one of the biggest challenges she faced in her time was managing the economic downturn. She also oversaw the restructuring of city debt and was able to take positions out of the budget that had never been filled. Councilman Barry Cheatham said Fleming came to the city when her leadership was “sorely needed.”

Morehead City, North Carolina (population 7,440): The life of a public servant often means change, but for departing Morehead City Manager Randy Martin there has been a constant during his 16-year tenure with the town: a shared vision of the town council, the staff, the manager and the community, according to the Jacksonville Daily News. It’s a valued combination in a local government career. Add in the fact that it’s the place where he and his wife, Sheila, have raised their three sons and where they’ve become part of the community, and Martin said he has never lost his enthusiasm for the job or the town. Martin is retiring after working more than 30 years in local government in North Carolina and will continue his public service work for a while longer with a new job as city manager in Franklin, Va. With half of his North Carolina career in Morehead City, there are many projects and accomplishments that come up in conversation: the restoration of the downtown train depot, the Radio Island Water Access, the acquisition of Sugarloaf Island, and the construction of a new police department and new fire department facilities to name a few of the most visible ones. There have also been major upgrades to town utilities, including a new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant, a 10-year project said to be the largest in the town’s history. One of the areas in which Martin says he is most proud is the expansion of the town’s parks and recreation facilities and programs. In numbers, the amount of town-owned public recreation space as grown from less than 5 acres to close to 80. The town’s recreation center has been fully renovated, water accesses have been added, bike paths and multi-use trails are well used and ball fields and playgrounds have been constructed, from Rotary Park and Shevans Park to the new baseball field at Big Rock Stadium, which serves as home to the Morehead City Marlins, a summer college baseball team. Martin said the successes the town has seen are the result of a cooperative effort. As he retires from his Morehead City duties, Martin’s biggest compliment to the town is that his family considers it home and it’s the place where he plans to return when he retires again. Martin’s last day on the job will be Monday. The town has hired Peter Connet, a retired city manager, to serve on an interim basis while the town council conducts a search for a new manager.

High Springs, Florida (population 5,552):  In an unannounced move Feb. 9, the High Springs Commission appointed Jeri Langman to the permanent position of City Manager, according to Alachua County Today.  Although it was not on the agenda, commissioners made the appointment during the final moments of the meeting, raising concerns among several people in attendance that the matter should have been deferred and taken up after being advertised to the public. Despite harsh criticism from some, on a motion placed on the floor by Vice Mayor Barnas and seconded by Commissioner Linda Gestrin, commissioners approved the measure in a 3-1 vote.  Mayor Dean Davis also supported the appointed while Commissioner Sue Weller cast the only vote against it. It was during that workshop before the regularly scheduled commission meeting that it was reported that the only remaining candidate in the running for the job, W.D. Higginbotham, Jr., withdrew from the process. Langman was hired as the interim city manager in December at a salary of $4,000 monthly without benefits.  She replaced Jenny Parham, who served as interim city manager and was compensated about $1,500 monthly in addition to her role as city clerk.  Langman will drop the interim from her title, but will see a marked increase in compensation.  In approving the change, commissioners also gave Langman an annual salary of $55,000 plus benefits. The appointment did not come without heated criticism from several people calling on the commission to reconsider the action.  Most of those speaking out in opposition to the appointment urged the commission to restart the city manager selection process.  Others, however, lauded the commission and encouraged their fellow residents to stand behind Langman and the city. Barnas said he was pleased with Langman and didn’t want to search for another city manager.  But numerous people spoke out against aborting the search for a city manager, including resident Laura Graetz who said the city needs a city manager with the proper qualifications to run a city. Graetz referenced an employment advertisement for the city manager position, in which the desired qualifications are outlined.  Among them are 3-5 years of responsible municipal government experience, professional management experience and economic development experience.  Linda Jones said she voted for Barnas and Gestrin but accused the duo of switching their positions. Other residents, including Bob Hallman, supported the commission’s move and blamed the city’s prior administration for harming its financial position. Hallman also said unrest in the community might be explained by what he considers inaccurate news reporting.  Hallman did tell the commission that he thought there was some “serious staff problems” at the City.  But he supported the appointment of Langman. Resident and employee Don Alderman said he was pleased with the direction of the City, but warned that the commission’s swift actions on Thursday might not be perceived by the public in a positive light, and therefore, motivate people to replace commissioners.  After Barnas made the motion during the City Commissioner Comments portion of the meeting to appoint Langman, former City Attorney and High Springs resident Thomas DePeter sharply criticized the move. Another criticism came online as former commissioner Eric May noted on his blog site that in making the appointment during commission comments, they violated the city’s own rules.  According to section 4(L) of the city commission’s Rules of Procedures, “Final action can only be taken if the City Commission waives its Rules of Procedures.”  That waiver never occurred.  Although there appears to be a violation of the city’s own rules, the appointment of Langman is unlikely to be successfully contested as the rules are not state law. Langman’s appointment was effective immediately.

Osceola, Iowa (population 4,614): A separation agreement was signed with Osceola City Administrator Bill Kelly last week after the city council held a special closed session, according to the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune. Kelly was placed on administrative paid leave by the council for disorderly conduct after Kelly acted in a disruptive manner during a recent budget meeting. However, Mayor Fred Diehl said there were other previous actions of Kelly that led to the council’s final decision. The council voted 5-1 to terminate Kelly’s contract and enter into the separation agreement. Councilmember Glenn Schaff said he was in favor of terminating Kelly, however, he was not in favor of the agreement package the council approved. Kelly served as city administrator for five years. City Clerk Ty Wheeler will be filling in temporarily as administrator. Diehl said although Wheeler is young he feels it’ll be a good opportunity for him. According to the agreement, the employment contract, entered into with Kelly in November 2007, will be terminated without cause. The city’s 60-day notice of termination was issued, effective Feb. 17, and the date of termination will be Apr. 17. The agreement states that after the date of termination, “the city shall issue to the employee payment of severance equal to six months salary, six months of insurance benefits, and accrued vacation less any applicable employee insurance contributions.” In addition, the city agrees to allow Kelly to reside at his home through Oct. 17 under the pre-existing agreement reached in November 2009. However, the city won’t compensate Kelly for the rental value of the residence in the event Kelly moves prior to Oct. 17. The agreement states the employee agrees to waive any and all legal claims against the city.

Grosbeck, Texas (population 4,040): A long time City Administrator announced her resignation Tuesday at a city council meeting in Groesbeck, according to Our Town Grosebeck.Martha Stanton worked for the city for 38 years. City Council members in Groesbeck accepted Stanton’s resignation Tuesday night. Stanton’s last day working with the city will be March 31. The Groesbeck resident plans to stay in town, and find something to do to keep her busy. Jonestown, Texas (population 2,237): The Jonestown City Council voted unanimously Friday to accept the resignation of City Administrator Dan Dodson , who had been named in an ongoing grand jury investigation of a failed wind energy project, according to the Statesman. Court filings from October 2011 said Charlie Malouff Jr., founder of CM Energies, and Mary Jo Woodall, a former state comptroller’s office staffer and grant administrator, conspired to illegally obtain up to $2 million in federal stimulus money by overselling CM Energies’ ability to deliver the electricity-generating wind turbines. Dodson was named in court documents because of his involvement in the project. Dodson was named as the “project director,” “principal investigator” and “designated responsible employee” for the City of Jonestown on the grant paperwork, and he was warned by CM Energies employees that the windmill company couldn’t provide the technology for the wind turbines, authorities said in court documents. The city has filed a lawsuit against CM Energies, which was supposed to manufacture and install wind turbines for the city. Council members said Friday that city officials would continue to work with investigators involved in the case. Dodson, who has worked as city administrator since 2007 , didn’t appear in public during Friday’s meeting when council members met in executive session to discuss his employment. At the Feb. 9 council meeting, council members said they had received Dodson’s resignation letter but took no action at the time. In December, the council had decided against extending Dodson’s $80,000 annual contract. At the time, council members said Dodson would remain in his position without a contract because of his experience and his involvement in ongoing city projects. On Friday, the council also instructed city staff to begin advertising for a new city administrator, who would start May 1, if not sooner. Dodson would remain available as a consultant to the City of Jonestown, council members said. Alderman Joe Aaron said Friday that the last time the council looked for a city administrator, the process took more than five months. Dodson didn’t return a phone call on Friday seeking comment.

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Transitions: Arcadia, CA; Cass County, MI; Arlington, MA and more

Arcadia, California (population 56,364): La Palma City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto will become Arcadia’s next administrative chief pending City Council approval next week, according to the Pasadena Star-News. Lazzaretto, who is replacing Arcadia’s City Manager Don Penman, is expected to start on March 26. He has worked with the city of La Palma in Orange County for nine years, including six years as city manager. Lazzaretto, a Glendale resident chosen from a field of over 80 applicants, will have a base salary of $199,650 annually. Lazzaretto is also knowledgeable about public safety issues. His brother, Charles, was a Glendale police officer killed in the line of duty in 2007. La Palma was twice listed among the “Top 100 Small Cities in the United States” by Money Magazine during his tenure, according to city officials. Penman officially retired in November after nearly 14 years with the city, including four years as the city’s top administrator. He has been working as a contractor in recent months.

Cass County, Michigan (population 52,293): Cass County commissioners Thursday night accepted Administrator Charles H. Cleaver’s resignation “with regret,” according to the Niles Daily Star. Cleaver, who started in March 2011 as the county’s third administrator, on Valentine’s Day sent his resignation to Chair Minnie Warren.

Arlington, Massachusetts (population 42,844): A retirement party was thrown Thursday night at Town Hall honoring outgoing Town Manager Brian F. Sullivan, according to the Arlington Patch. Sullivan worked as Arlington’s top administrator for eight years of his 37 year career in municipal government, and is set to retire later this month. Attendees arrived at Town Hall at 5:30 for a cocktail hour, followed by speakers honoring Sullivan. After a light dinner, incoming Town Manager and current Deputy Adam Chapdelaine spoke on Sullivan’s behalf. Chapdelaine will replace Sullivan beginning Feb. 24.

Cohasset, Massachusetts (population 7,542): Six months after leaving his job as Westport town administrator, Michael Coughlin has been fired from his new job as town manager of Cohasset, according to South Coast Today. Coughlin’s three years in Westport culminated in a confrontation with the elected highway surveyor, Jack Sisson. Coughlin brought in the state inspector general to investigate the Highway Department, and the resulting report was sharply critical of Sisson. The report says Sisson improperly gave $10,000 worth of paving materials — chip seal, cold patch, gravel and rock — to the Westport Excavation Co. of Tiverton. The firm does snow plowing for the town and installed a septic system at Sisson’s home, for which the contractor said he was paid between $1,400 and $1,600. The report alleges that Sisson failed to follow proper bidding procedures when buying equipment and materials and when awarding contracts for vehicle repairs. Coughlin forwarded it to Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, and Sisson threatened to sue Coughlin for slander. Sisson was re-elected in April 2011 with 55 percent of the vote.

More than 70 people packed the selectmen’s room at town hall Wednesday night to watch a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes, according to The Enterprise. Unlike most of the selectmen’s meetings over the past six months, Cohasset Town Manager Michael Coughlin did not sit at a table next to the board members. Instead, he stood next to his wife a few feet in front of the first row of spectators. In a unanimous vote, the selectmen stated their intent to dismiss Coughlin after just six months as town manager. Coughlin has been suspended with pay until the selectmen take a final vote whether to fire him, which will take place in at least 30 days. Coughlin is not allowed on town hall property without prior notice. The selectmen, in accordance with the Town Manager Act for Cohasset, signed a resolution to remove Coughlin without cause. The board cited a difference in communication styles as the reason for Coughlin’s termination. The selectmen and Coughlin “do not share in common the same views as to how important manners should be communicated or as to the most effective manner in which those matters should be handled,” the resolution states. Selectman Diane Kennedy was the only member of the board to elaborate on the decision, implying that Coughlin tried to sully the reputation of other town officials. After the selectmen’s meeting, Chairman Edwin Carr met with dozens of residents and town employees in the town hall’s auditorium because some people wanted to voice their displeasure with the resolution to remove Coughlin. Coughlin and other residents will be able to address the issue during a public hearing March 13. The Town Manager Act allows the outgoing official to request a public session before selectmen make a final decision. Douglas Louison, Coughlin’s attorney, said his client Tuesday filed a request for a leave of absence under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. However, Louison said Coughlin’s request – which gives employees 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave – will not be accepted by the town because federal law requires that the person making the request must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months.

Osceola, Iowa (population 4,614): Osceola Mayor Fred Diehl signed a separation agreement with City Administrator Bill Kelly Thursday night after a closed special session, according to the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune. Kelly was placed on administrative paid leave, earlier this week, by the council for disorderly conduct after Kelly acted in a disruptive manner during a recent budget meeting, said council members. However, Diehl said some council members had some prior concerns with Kelly that led up to their decision. Kelly served as city administrator for five years. City Clerk Ty Wheeler will be filling in temporarily as administrator. According to the agreement, the employment contract, entered into with Kelly in November 2007, will be terminated without cause. The city’s 60-day notice of termination will be issued effective Feb. 17 and the date of termination will be April 17. The agreement states that after the April 17 date of termination, “the city shall issue to the employee payment of severance equal to six months salary, six months of insurance benefits and accrued vacation less any applicable employee insurance contributions.” In addition, the city agrees to allow Kelly to reside at his home through Oct. 17 under the pre-existing agreement reached in November 2009. However, the city won’t compensate Kelly for the rental value of the residence in the event Kelly moves prior to Oct. 17. The agreement states the employee agrees to waive any and all legal claims against the city.

Swansboro, North Carolina (population 1,902): The search for a new town manager will be one of the next tasks of the Swansboro Board of Commissioners, according to The Jacksonville Daily News. Pat Thomas, who has served as the town’s manager for nearly four years, has announced his resignation effective April 10. He’ll be staying in Eastern North Carolina but heading down the coast to serve as city manager for Southport, according to a Tuesday announcement from the city. Thomas was selected from a pool of 60 applicants for the job and will begin work there on April 16. Swansboro Mayor Scott Chadwick said Southport’s gain is Swansboro’s loss. Chadwick said the town is in good shape financially and Thomas has led the town well during difficult economic times. In his Feb. 10 letter, Thomas said it was a privilege to contribute to the accomplishments the town has seen while he has been manager. With agendas already set for the work session and Saturday’s planning retreat, the mayor said any detailed discussions of how to proceed with a search for a new manager will likely come during the board’s regular monthly meeting on Feb. 21. During the previous search, Swansboro hired an interim manager and worked with organizations such as the N.C. League of Municipalities and the Eastern Carolina Council in recruiting candidates and selecting finalists to interview for the job. Chadwick and Commissioners Jim Allen and John Lister were serving on the board during the last search process, which drew approximately 30 applicants. Both the mayor and Allen said they were satisfied with how the process worked. But with a new search to begin, Allen sees an opportunity to bring some savings to the town. Allen, who was re-elected to the board in November, said during his campaign that he feels the town has been paying too high of a salary for the manager. He said Thomas’ current salary is $93,500, which he feels it too high for a town with a budget of less than $3 million and not having to manage its water and sewer service. Commissioner Gery Boucher, who was elected in November to a first term on the board, has only worked with Thomas for a short period but said he has always shown his professionalism. Boucher said it’s not often that a new board member has the opportunity to select a new manager and he hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the search process.

Turbeville, South Carolina (population 766): The town of Turbeville made an offer Thursday morning for town administrator of city council, according to SCnow. Rodney Johnson of Florence is slated to become the new town administrator pending the results of a background screening. Johnson beat out a total of six other candidates for this position.

 

Transitions: Long Beach, NY; Rockville Centre, NY; Ashland, OR and more

“I think the most important part of this job is being able to use the resources available to you, and in my police career I’ve had a lot of experience with that.”–Keith Spadaro

Long Beach, New York (population 33,275): Officials said the details of a contract between Long Beach and City Manager Jack Schnirman should be finalized by March after the City Council passed a resolution last week allowing the city to enter into a contract with Schnirman, according to Newsday.The two-year agreement will provide security for Schnirman and clear guidelines for his responsibilities to Long Beach, said Councilman Scott Mandel. Mandel said having a contract “puts the position on a level that’s outside of political influence to some extent.” Former City Manager Charles Theofan did not have a contract, council members said, but former City Manager Glen Spiritis did, and so have others. Council president Fran Adelson said the council would follow past guidelines, but that this contract would have fewer privileges. “There was a provision in a contract that gave the city manager a car, and that provision has been stricken,” Adelson said, citing costs of gas, insurance and wear and tear. Council vice president Len Torres said the city hopes to auction off the black, eight-cylinder Chrysler 300 that Theofan drove during his tenure. Schnirman said this contract won’t have “executive days,” and that he would be entitled to only as many leave days as other management employees. According to the International City/County Management Association, more than 89 percent of city managers have contracts. The contract will reflect Schnirman’s annual salary of $157,988 and will be made available to the public once finalized, council members said.

Rockville Centre, New York (population 24,023): After a four-month search involving more than 30 applicants, Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray and the Board of Trustees have chosen a former New York City police inspector to be the new village administrator, according to the LI Herald. Keith Spadaro will replace Frank Quigley, who was removed from the position in October, Murray announced at a special Monday-afternoon Board of Trustees meeting. The board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Spadaro, 50, who has been a village resident for 19 years. He and his wife, Stacy, have three children, Katie, 19, Keith 16, and Caroline, 14. Though Spadaro will not begin his new job until March 19, Murray and former village consultant Anthony Cancellieri will bring him up to speed on village affairs in the coming weeks. Murray removed Quigley from the position four months after he was elected, as he assembled his administration. Spadaro held a variety of positions in his lengthy career with the NYPD. Most recently, he was the commanding officer of its Office of Information Technology, where he oversaw the 1,400 members of the Communications Division. Spadaro graduated from Buffalo State College with a business degree in 1983, and then joined the Air Force for officer training and flight school, but his military career was cut short because of an injury he suffered in college. For several years he worked as a stock trader for a number of corporations. In 2001, while serving as an NYPD lieutenant, he earned a law degree from New York Law School.

Ashland, Oregon (population 20,255): Six months after being fired as Deschutes County administrator in a split vote of county commissioners, Dave Kanner was named Thursday as Ashland’s new city administrator, according to KTVZ. Mayor John Stromberg made the announcement in a news release. The position is appointed by the mayor, with the city council expected to confirm the appointment at its Feb. 21 meeting. Most recently, Kanner served as the County Administrator in Deschutes County, Oregon. Previously, Kanner served as the deputy county administrator in Jackson County, assistant to the city manager in Wilsonville and senior public affairs specialist at Metro in Portland. Kanner will begin work on Monday, February 27. Larry Patterson — former Bend city manager — has been serving as Ashland’s interim city administrator, managing operations of the city since October. Kanner will succeed former city administrator Martha Bennett, who left to accept the position of chief operating officer at Metro in Portland. Last August, commissioners Tammy Baney and Tony DeBone voted to fire Kanner. In written evaluations, the pair and colleague Alan Unger, who wanted to keep Kanner, highly praised his fiscal management, honesty and integrity. But Baney felt Kanner was not conveying her voice on county policy, and DeBone wrote that Kanner did not provide enough feedback to the managers of county departments.

Gautier, Mississippi (population 11,280): Gautier’s new city manager said she is ready to help make this city a thriving place to live, work and enjoy, according to WLOX. City council members hired Samantha Abell after firing former manager Sidney Runnels late last year. Samantha Abell is the new woman in charge of the day to day operation in Gautier. She said it’s a job she said requires a strong vision. The new city manager is no stranger to the city. She was formerly the economic director and plans to use those skills to entice more businesses to move here. Abell said creating a more walkable downtown and building a town center are also some of the big projects in the works. Abell said promoting the natural areas and building upon the riverfront will also enhance the quality of life in the city. Changing the aged signage in the city to make it more welcoming for visitors is also on the to-do-list. With help of the mayor, city council and citizens, this new city manager believes Gautier will be a better place to live, work, and enjoy.

Mathews County, Virginia (population 8,978): Melinda Moran, manager of the Town of Clarksville for the past 18 years, has been appointed Mathews County Administrator, effective April 16, according to the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal. The announcement was made following a procedural vote at a special meeting Saturday afternoon by the Mathews County Board of Supervisors. Moran will replace Steve Whiteway, who retired on Jan. 31 after serving more than 11 years in that post. Moran began her tenure as manager of the Town of Clarksville in May of 1994. According to a release from the county board, during Moran’s time in the lakeside Virginia town, she “led administrative efforts to establish a lasting shift from a traditional agricultural and manufacturing-based economy to tourism and service-based economy.” Moran holds a bachelor’s degree in human resources and a master’s in urban affairs and planning from Virginia Tech. As the new county administrator, Moran will earn $90,000 a year. Clarksville, the first incorporated town in Mecklenburg County, is located on Virginia’s southern border. With a population of 1,139, according to 2010 U.S. census figures, Clarksville is situated on Kerr Lake. Each July, the town hosts the Virginia Lake Festival, attracting approximately 80,000 visitors during the three-day event. The search for a replacement for Whiteway began last summer, attracting a “substantial number of candidates,” Burns said. Several of those candidates were called back for follow-up interviews.

Cohasset, Massachusetts (population 7,542): Wednesday night Cohasset Selectmen unanimously adopted a resolution to remove Town Manager Michael Coughlin effective immediately, according to WATD. Coughlin has the right to a public hearing which could reverse the decision. Attorneys for the town and Coughlin have agreed to hold the hearing March 13th at 7 p.m. The town will continue to pay Coughlin his salary until the hearing and final resolution. Coughlin began the job last August 1. When they hired him, selectmen lauded his “consensus-building style.” In his first week on the job, he asked all department heads for their goals and objectives. Many department heads attended the brief Selectmen’s meeting and subsequent informal question and answer session with Chairman of Selectmen Ted Carr. A former JAG Army Captain and youth sports coach, Coughlin frequently communicates in sports analogies, calling himself coach and town employees the team. He says he spoke and emailed Carr daily. Carr said the became friends. Selectmen voted to remove him without cause, referring only to “communications with the board.” Coughlin formerly served as Town Administrator in three other towns, leaving each after three years. Selectman Diane Kennedy read a statement during the meeting. No other selectman spoke. She stressed the board’s action was not the result of a pending bid by the town’s  water commissioners. Coughlin said the bid, or RFP (request for proposals), lay at the heart of the dispute. The town manages 90 percent of its water system. A private water company, Aquarion, manages the system in the north section of town. Aquarion also manages the water systems of neighboring Hingham and Hull. Hingham has discussed terminating its relationship with Aquarion because of annual rate increases. Chairman of Cohasset’s Water Commissioners Peter DeCaprio has proposed the town ask for bids from private water companies to manage the entire water system. DeCaprio is managing director of the Crow Point Partners hedge fund of Scituate and New York City. The fund received a $15 million investment from Aquarion’s parent company, an Australian holding company. Coughlin has publicly objected to the water commissioners’ bid, saying only he, as the town’s procurement officer, can manage the provision of goods and services to the town. Selectmen will meet Friday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m. to plan for interim management of town government.

Pleasant View, Utah (population 7,482): The city has hired a new chief administrator, according to the Standard-Examiner. At a recent special meeting, council members approved, with a 4-1 vote, an employment agreement for Melinda Brimhall to take on the duties of city administrator. Brimhall’s contract with the city began Feb. 8. Her salary is $78,000 a year, with benefits that include three weeks of vacation, sick leave and holiday leave. She also will receive health and retirement benefits and a travel allowance of $300 per month, using her own vehicle. The city administrator position will be evaluated annually. Mayor Doug Clifford said the city is happy to have Brimhall on board. The previous city administrator, J.J. Allen, accepted a job with the city of Clearfield, necessitating the new hire. Brimhall grew up in Utah County and graduated from Weber State University with a double major, earning degrees in psychology and criminal justice. She also has a master’s degree in administration from Brigham Young University. Brimhall is coming to Pleasant View from Grand County where she worked as council administrator for two years. Before that, she was was a management analyst for three years in Casa Grande, Ariz., and a management assistant in Chandler, Ariz., for three years. Brimhall said she has family in Pleasant View and is pleased to start working in the area. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and her puppy, Flynn. She also enjoys biking and other outdoor activities. Brimhall was sworn into office Tuesday night by Judge Patrick Lambert.

Corning, California (population 7,093): A packed house watched Tuesday evening as the City Council chose Public Works Director John Brewer to take on additional duties as city manager, according to the Daily News. Brewer, who begins his new position March 1, starts at $6,689 per month, according to the staff report. In one year, Brewer would be eligible for a raise to $7,041 per month followed by eligibility for another raise the following year to $7,412 per month. Brewer will be filling the shoes of City Manager Steve Kimbrough, who went to part time while taking retirement in 2011. Kimbrough is unable to keep the position due to Assembly Bill 1028. Effective Jan. 1, a retiree under PERS cannot work for more than a year without his retirement being affected. Councilman John Leach, the lone no vote, said he objected to the contract for Kimbrough because it has an indemnity clause and automatic renewal. Kimbrough’s duties under contract would be limited to assisting with the budget and training Brewer and other staff to prepare the budget. He would remain covered under the city’s indemnity, which protects him in case he is sued in the scope of his work for the city, City Attorney Michael Fitzpatrick said. Kimbrough would be paid $4,500 a month from March to June, with a 30-day notice of termination. The contract would renew for an additional year if not canceled. Former Councilman Ross Turner questioned whether the position of consultant was to be opened up with request for proposals or had just been created with one person in mind.

St. Clair, Michigan (population 5,485): With City Superintendent Scott Adkins heading to a new job with Roseville in two weeks, the city council will have to act swiftly to replace him, according to The Times Herald. Adkins said he submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday to Mayor Bill Cedar Jr. If the council accepts his letter, Adkins’ last day will be March 1. The Roseville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Adkins as city manager with a one-year, $94,000 contract. Adkins said he’ll start March 6. Adkins said he asked for a one-year contract with Roseville so both parties could evaluate if they were a “good fit” for each other. He said he has created a list of transition items he plans to discuss with St. Clair department heads and council members. One of the things Adkins was working on was bidding out city services, per the council’s request. Adkins said he started searching for a job in another city because of the council’s openness to privatizing city services. He said he didn’t want to wait for the council to put his job out to bid as well. He’s served St. Clair since 2006 as superintendent and makes $81,177 per year. Adkins’ contract with St. Clair was to expire in mid-2013. There is a clause in the contract that allows him to submit a resignation and attempt to give 30 days notice, but it isn’t mandatory, Adkins said. If the council fires Adkins, the contract states the city must pay him a six-month severance package, he said. St. Clair City Clerk Janice Winn said the council has directed her to assume some of the superintendent’s duties for an interim period when past superintendents have left. The Michigan Municipal League has a list of qualified people who can serve as interim city managers, Adkins said. He said he notified the mayor and some members of the council more than 30 days ago he was seeking employment elsewhere. Adkins also applied for the city manager position in Algonac on Jan. 31 and was offered the job, as Algonac City Manager Karl Tomion is retiring March 11. Algonac City Council voted Feb. 7 to accept resumes for the position. According to a schedule set by the Michigan Municipal League, it will take about 10 weeks before Algonac is ready to make an offer to a new city manager. Tomion said he’s trying to expedite the process, and has already received some resumes. He makes $72,000 per year.

West Peoria, Illinois (population 4,414): John Carlson, the city administrator in West Peoria for the last nine years, will leave at the end of April, according to the Peoria Journal Star. Carlson, who is 60, has worked in government for 32 years, coming to West Peoria in 2003 after retiring from the Peoria City/County Health Department as director of administration. Carlson said he had no hidden agenda behind his decision to leave West Peoria. Carlson cited several accomplishments in his letter of resignation and thanked the council and Dillon, who has been mayor all of the Carlson years, for the opportunities they provided him. Carlson, who told Dillon of his intentions at the end of January, will stay on until April 30, the end of the city’s fiscal year. Dillon said the search for a replacement will likely be done locally, in the hope of landing a home-grown professional like Carlson. He said he has been bursting with the news of the impending resignation since the end of January. Dillon hopes the hiring process ends up with a new administrator ready to take Carlson’s place the day his resignation takes effect.

Transitions: San Francisco, CA; Henderson, NV; El Cajon, CA and more

San Francisco, California (population 805,235): San Francisco’s first female black city administrator was sworn in at a ceremony at City Hall February 7, according to KRON. Naomi Kelly was nominated last month by Mayor Ed Lee, who swore her in to the post after the city’s Board of Supervisors confirmed the appointment by a unanimous vote this afternoon. Kelly is replacing Amy Brown, who left in January to become city manager in Campbell. Brown had herself replaced Lee, who served as city administrator before being appointed mayor in January 2011 and then being elected in November to stay in office. Lee called Kelly’s appointment “historic,” saying “it’s not lost on me” the significance of swearing in the first black woman to the position during February, which is Black History Month. He said Kelly is “extremely qualified” for the job, having served as deputy city administrator for the past year and as city purchaser and executive director of the city’s Taxicab Commission before that. Kelly said, “We have plenty of work ahead of us” and said she was “very grateful” for the appointment. Kelly, a San Francisco native, has two sons with her husband, Harlan Kelly Jr., who is the assistant general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Henderson, Nevada (population 257,729): Henderson City Manager Mark Calhoun will step down in May, three years after he was appointed to the top administrative position and nearly three decades after he went to work for the city, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Calhoun said the decision was a long time coming. Calhoun in his email said he would work with Mayor Andy Hafen and the City Council as he prepares to leave the position. In 1983 he was hired as the city’s engineer. From there he served as the public works director for 12 years during a time of intense growth. Calhoun was an assistant city manager from 2001 to 2009. In that position he managed the fire, police, public works and utility services departments, according to his biography on the city website. He also managed the city’s economic development and neighborhood services departments. According to the website Transparent Nevada, Calhoun received a base pay of $225,000 in 2010, the latest year figures are available. He replaced Mary Kay Peck, the city’s first and only female city manager. Peck challenged her termination, and the case went to arbitration. She prevailed, winning a settlement worth nearly $1.3 million on Feb. 15, 2011. The city has several options in seeking Calhoun’s replacement because the city manager is an appointed position, according to communications director Bud Cranor. The City Council could conduct a national or local search or hire from within, as was the case with both Calhoun and Peck. One potential candidate is Jacob Snow, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. Cranor said Mayor Andy Hafen has had conversations with Snow regarding the job. Tracy Bower, a spokeswoman with the Regional Transportation Commission, confirmed Snow has been in discussions with Hafen about the job.

El Cajon, California (population 99,478): Douglas Williford, who worked for the city of Santee for 24 years and recently held jobs in Orange County, has been named El Cajon’s city manager, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Williford was chosen from more than 60 applicants nationwide, including acting city manager Rob Turner, El Cajon’s public works director who has been running the city since Kathi Henry’s retirement Aug. 26. Williford, who lives in San Gabriel and got his master’s degree in Urban & Environmental Geography at San Diego State, worked for the city of Santee from 1982 until 2006. He was that city’s deputy city manager and development services director. He will start in El Cajon March 22. In Orange County, he worked as the city of Irvine’s community development director and he currently serves as Deputy Executive Director for the Southern California Association of Governments. The El Cajon City Council voted unanimously to appoint Williford after a closed session Tuesday afternoon to discuss the appointment. City Attorney Morgan Foley said the employment contract for Williford will be similar to Henry’s, who worked in the City Manager’s Office for 30 years and retired with a salary of $240,572. Williford’s salary will be $219,500. He also will receive a maximum of $15,000 to cover moving costs, $120 per month for cellphone service, an automobile allowance of $550 per month, a maximum $2,500 biennially for laptop computers or other equipment, and benefits. Mayor Mark Lewis and the four El Cajon City Council members heaped praise on Turner for his dedication and work for the city over the last few months, including the recent tumult when city redevelopment agencies were axed statewide. El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick, who is from Santee, said Williford made great strides for that city. Santee Mayor Randy Voepel said Williford wrote a book about Santee’s history on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Reading, Pennsylvania (population 88,082): Carl E. Geffken, the city’s managing director credited with helping clear out numerous City Hall problems, on Tuesday afternoon resigned effective March 15 to take over Berks County operations, according to the Reading Eagle. Geffken, 47, has been named the county’s new chief operating officer, at an annual salary of $100,000. Commissioners Chairman Christian Y. Leinbach confirmed Tuesday night that he and the two other commissioners earlier in the day unanimously agreed to offer Geffken the post, which has been vacant since May, when interim chief Ken Borkey Jr. left. By the end of the workday, Geffken had met with Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer and submitted his resignation, news of which quickly got around City Hall. Leinbach said the county has dealt with Geffken on such issues as the Fire Training Center and the new radio towers that the county needs on city land. Geffken was hired as city finance director in April 2009, was named interim managing director in March 2010, and was approved to the permanent post early in 2011. He said he loved the managing director’s job, but what he called the interest and intrigue of the new post led him to apply. Spencer said Geffken’s resignation is a loss to the city. He credited Geffken with implementing the beginnings of the Act 47 financial recovery plan, and lauded him for numerous projects – among them cutting the cost of the planned new sewage treatment plant by hundreds of millions of dollars. Geffken said he was successful only because a number of decent people worked hard to make the city a success. City Council President Francis G. Acosta also said the move will be a loss for the city. Acosta said Geffken was holding city government together with his knowledge and expertise.

Roseville, Michigan (population 47,299): With a 7-0 vote, members of the Roseville City Council approved a one-year contract Tuesday evening with new city manager Scott Adkins,  according to the Detroit Free Press. Adkins has been superintendent of the City of St. Clair since 2006, and he was one of seven finalists — including the city manager of Grosse Pointe Shores and village manager of Beverly Hills — interviewed by Roseville officials about two weeks ago. Beverly Hills manager Chris Wilson was offered the job first but turned down the contract, Roseville Mayor John Chirkun said after Tuesday night’s meeting. Then Adkins accepted the post for $94,000 a year — $8,000 less than outgoing Roseville City Manager Steve Truman. Adkins is to start March 6, replacing Truman, who has been a city employee for 30 years, officials said.

Manassas, Virginia (population 37,821): The city of Manassas announced a new city manager this week, according to The Washington Post. After a nationwide search, weeks of interviews and dozens of candidates considered for the job, the City Council plans to hire state official John A. Budesky to succeed former longtime manager Lawrence D. Hughes. Budesky, 39, will take over the job March 5. Pat Weiler, who heads the city’s finance department, is serving as interim manager. Budesky is currently the executive director of the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission, which administers and oversees the state’s compensation benefits. Budesky has been a local government administrator for 16 years in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. He is the former county administrator for New Kent County, Va., an assistant city administrator for Hagerstown, Md., and a department head in Washington County, Md. City council members said Budesky was chosen for his local government experience and his enthusiasm to be a part of Manassas. Budesky, who has two young children and plans to move to the city as soon as possible from Mechanicsville, said that he looks forward to getting to know and understand the city’s departments and personnel. He said immediate priorities are public safety and ensuring a good education for city children.

Montville Township, New Jersey (population 21,528): Belleville’s township manager has been selected as Montville Township’s next administrator, according to  the Belleville Patch. Victor Canning, a Montville Township resident, officially starts in the new position March 15, although Belleville Mayor Ray Kimble said late Wednesday morning it was “premature” to comment because Canning had not yet submitted a resignation letter. Canning told the Montville Patch he is looking forward to working in the town where he has lived for the past 10 years and is raising his family. Montville Mayor Tim Braden said Canning’s references were impeccable. Before moving to Montville, Canning lived in Belleville, where he served as a councilman and as mayor before becoming the township’s manager. The former Belleville Police Department officer has served in recent role for about seven years. The Montville Township Committee approved his appointment Tuesday night and welcomed him to the position. Committeeman Scott Gallopo said he fully supports Canning as township administrator, but cast the lone “no” vote on the resolution because he thought out of principle the search process should have been more thorough. Canning is a member of the Montville Township Planning Board, but won’t be able to serve in that capacity once he is in the town’s top management job. The township had 34 applicants and conducted five interviews after former administrator Frank Bastone retired in December, Committeewoman Deb Nielson said. The selection process was unanimously approved by the Township Committee, Braden said. Township management specialist Adam Brewer has taken on the township administrator’s responsibilities on an interim basis since Bastone’s retirement while the search was conducted.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire (population 21,233): The new town administrator was officially sworn in Monday night at the town council meeting, taking his place as the third administrator in Portsmouth’s history, according to East Bay Newspapers. John C. Klimm, most recently town manager in Barnstable, Mass., was sworn in by Town Clerk Kathleen Viera Beaudoin after the council voted unanimously to ratify his appointment. He replaced interim administrator David Dolce, who has served in the position since late August. Mr. Klimm’s predecessor, Robert Driscoll, held the administrator job for 21 years. The town’s first administrator, John O. Thayer, served from 1973 to 1990. The council also voted unanimously to accept the employee agreement between the town and Mr. Klimm. Under the agreement, Mr. Klimm is contracted to the town for three years (with the option of either party terminating the agreement with 60 days notice) with a starting salary of $126,000 per year. In July the council set a $110,000 salary limit for the new administrator (when Mr. Driscoll left he was making $105,044 plus $10,504 longevity), but negotiations raised that amount while cutting spending in other contract aspects, said President Joseph Robicheau. Moving from Barnstable, Mr. Robicheau said that the salary increase had to do with “how he’ll maintain himself here.” Overall the new contract should be cheaper than that of Mr. Driscoll, he said. For one, no longevity will be paid to Mr. Klimm. He will also be in a defined contribution plan (such as a 401k) rather than a defined pension plan. He has been granted three weeks of vacation and 15 sick days per year, but vacation days are not allowed to accrue, and sick days can only carry over to the next year by 60 days. No time can be sold back to the town. This would equal a savings because under the previous administrator contract, a portion of his unused days could accrue year to year and at the end of his term be sold back to the town, said Finance Director David Faucher. When Mr. Driscoll retired, his 21 years of unused days equaled a payback of $41,714 ($25,047 for accrued sick leave and $16,667 for accrued vacation leave). During the evening, the council recognized Mr. Dolce, returning now to his position as tax assessor, for his service over the last six months. Mr. Dolce thanked the council and town hall staff for having patience and cooperation during his tenure, especially the tax staff who took on extra responsibility during that time.

Dixon, California (population 18,351): Months of searching ended Tuesday for the city of Dixon, which now has a city manager at the helm, according to The Reporter. The Dixon City Council voted unanimously in favor of hiring Jim Lindley, who will leave his current position as city manager in Dunsmuir to fill the post in Dixon on March 12. Councilman Dane Besneatte said a unanimous decision from the council is “significant” and hopefully an end to a “revolving door” at City Hall. Mayor Jack Batchelor said Lindley is an “outstanding person to come in and move this city forward.” Lindley admitted that while Dunsmuir is sad to see him go, this is the best step for him. Lindley said he was impressed with the thorough job by the council and the city in the recruitment process. It will cost Dixon $159,796 per year to have Lindley on board. The four-year contract allows Lindley a $126,000 base salary, a monthly $400 auto allowance, 104 hours of leave time that includes 80 hours of vacation, inclusion into the city’s furlough program, which will reduce his base salary by 4.6 percent, and a severance clause that gives him six months of pay and benefits should he be terminated without cause. The total compensation package, according to the city, is $169,911 per year. However, minus his state retirement contribution, that figure drops to $159,796. Lindley will fill the position left by Nancy Huston, who took a job as Solano County’s assistant county administrator in June. In the interim, Dixon Police Chief Jon Cox stepped up to temporarily serve as the city’s top administrator. Batchelor lauded Cox for his service as interim city manager. During the interim, the empty city manager position faced scrutiny from the community, staff and council. Everything was up for discussion, including the qualities the new leader should possess to salary and benefits. Additionally, a recruitment firm was hired, and then an 11-member citizens committee confirmed to interview finalists. After interviewing several candidates, Lindley, with his depth of experience, humor and candor, rose to the top. Lindley spent 20 years in the private sector, later served as a mayor and a city councilman in Hesperia and worked in various facets of government administration in San Bernardino County. For the last 20 months, he has been Dunsmuir’s city manager. He’s knowledgeable on water and wastewater issues, and the city’s proposed Sunshine Ordinance, a policy to make local government more transparent to the public.

El Segundo, California (population 16,654): A few months after he was hired as El Segundo’s city manager, Doug Willmore learned that his efforts to force Chevron, the town’s oldest employer, to pay higher taxes had made him some enemies, according to the Los Angeles Times. He found a note on his car reminding him this was a Chevron town. “Beat it,” the note concluded. Last week, a divided City Council took that advice and fired him, less than 10 months after appointing him to the job. Willmore said that the council gave no reason for his dismissal but that he felt the council had fired him “in retaliation about Chevron.” Willmore is entitled to half his annual salary of $218,000 as severance, if he signs an agreement not to sue. On Tuesday, his attorney, Bradley Gage, said he was about to file a claim against the city, the first step toward a lawsuit. Late last year, Mayor Eric Busch asked Willmore to examine the acreage tax Chevron paid on its refinery, the largest in the state. Willmore found that for decades Chevron had paid millions of dollars less in taxes than did other refineries in the state. After taking preliminary steps to place a measure on the ballot to increase Chevron’s tax, supporters didn’t have the four council votes they needed to send it to voters. Instead, the council and Chevron agreed to negotiate. Rod Spackman, Chevron’s manager of policy, government and public affairs for the L.A. Basin, denied that the oil company was involved in Willmore’s ouster. Councilman Carl Jacobson, one of three council members who voted to fire Willmore, said the city manager’s dismissal was not related to Chevron. Councilman Don Brann, who supported increased taxes on Chevron but voted to get rid of Willmore, said he had other reasons for wanting the administrator fired. Because of the potential lawsuit, he declined to go into details. The Chevron issue, he said, “may have been the final straw” for some of his colleagues. He gave Willmore credit for attracting businesses to town. Willmore’s relations with Chevron got off to a rocky start after he arrived in April from Utah, where he had been chief executive of Salt Lake County. Gage, Willmore’s attorney, said his client was covered under the state’s whistleblower law.

Red Bluff, California (population 14,076): City Manager Martin Nichols, whose last day will be Friday, is satisfied that he is leaving the city better than he found it, according to the Red Bluff Daily News. Helping the city through the recession is his biggest accomplishment, but it’s an accomplishment but in a negative sense, Nichols said. It’s hard to be proud of laying off people and reducing services. Mayor Forrest Flynn said he has worked with every city manager since the early ’80s, but none of them surpass Marty Nichols. Nichols said though he has done plenty it never feels quite done. He’s leaving behind a long list of projects for incoming City Manager Richard Crabtree. The list already contains more than 40 items, but on the top of the list is the acquisition of the Red Bluff Recreation Area for an off-highway vehicle park. Continuing to develop a relationship with the Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber of Commerce is a priority. The city and chamber need to really define what the chamber is doing for the city when the city gives the chamber money, he said. The community has not always seen Nichols as the best leader, but those working closest to him say otherwise. Nichols said the bad public image is something that comes with being city manager. The city manager is the messenger of bad news, he said. Being the city manager is a lot of responsibility. Not only is he responsible for the day-to-day operation of the city but he has ethical decisions to make and has to deliver the good news and the bad news. In all of this, one lesson he’s learn is mistakes will be made, but you just have to own up to them. Not doing so could be chaos. Nichols will leave Red Bluff to become the chief administrative officer in Lassen County. It’s a position he is familiar with and is looking forward to returning. Nichols worked as the chief administrative officer in Butte County in the ’80s, and later held similar roles in Marin County. He was head of a private firm, Government Solutions, that held joint powers authorities in Marin before he came to Red Bluff. Brown said five years ago when the council was choosing a city manager, Nichols was not his first choice. He thought Nichols was too focused on regional issues, but Nichols being regionally minded has been to Red Bluff’s advantage as the city continues to grow. Nichols said in going back to county administration he hopes to work more closely with the Legislature in returning some of the policy making decisions back to local government. The state has been making a lot of changes, from prisoner realignment to social services, that will trickle down to counties and cities, he said. Nichols will have about 2 1/2 weeks off before he starts his new job, and he’ll be spending that time with his grandchildren as well as searching for a place to live. He plans to keep his home in Paradise but will live in Susanville during the week. He and wife Sharon have already started looking for a place. At 65, Nichols said he is not ready to retire from local government anytime soon. But when he does think about retirement he thinks he would like to serve on a city council or be on the other side of things.

Fairmont, Minnesota (population 10,666): Mike Humpal will be Fairmont’s next city administrator, according to the Fairmont Sentinel. On Monday, the City Council approved naming Humpal to replace Jim Zarling when he retires in May, but not without contention. Voting in favor of appointing the assistant city administrator to the position were Joe Kallemeyn and Wes Clerc, while Andy Lucas and Darin Rahm voted against. Harlan Gorath abstained, leaving Mayor Randy Quiring to cast the deciding vote. All council members previously said Humpal is likely the best person for the job. Lucas and Rahm, however, wanted to interview outside candidates if, for no other reason, Lucas said, than to reinforce that Humpal is the right person for the job. Rahm didn’t think promoting internally would be fair to other qualified individuals. Gorath was concerned about setting precedent, though the city has a policy of promoting internally when a qualified candidate is available for a position. Humpal was on the agenda for Monday’s meeting to interview for the job. The only ones who questioned him were Kallemeyn, Clerc and Quiring. Rahm said he felt bad about putting Humpal on the spot by asking him questions he might not be prepared to answer, and Gorath also felt Monday’s forum was not the appropriate arena to interview Humpal. He previously said he wanted a closed meeting to conduct interviews, something not legal under open meeting laws. The only citizen at the meeting who voiced a query was Amy Paradis, who asked if Humpal thought it was “fair not interviewing against anybody?” Humpal said if qualified people are working for the city, then it would be fair to interview and hire them if they could successfully perform the job. In this case, Humpal is the only person employed by the city who is qualified for the joint position of city administrator and economic development director. Though the two opposing sides were equally adamant and frustrated with each other at times, when the meeting adjourned, the council and management team ended the night in handshakes all around. Besides making a presentation Monday, Humpal submitted his resume, which shows he completed his master’s degree in public administration in 1990 through the University of Nebraska and is one of eight certified economic developers through the International Economic Development Council.

Selah, Washington (population 7,147): Selah’s top administrator and the police chief have agreed to leave their jobs under settlement agreements approved by the City Council Tuesday night, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic. Supervisor Frank Sweet will be paid about $134,000 — a year’s pay, plus about $30,000 to cover health insurance and other benefits. Chief Stacy Dwarshius will remain on administrative leave through July 31, which qualifies him for a somewhat higher pension. That six-month period works out to about $40,000. Mayor John Gawlik, who was elected to replace Bob Jones, sought to remove both men. He said he did not believe he could work with Sweet, who spent most of his tenure at Selah under Jones, whom Gawlik defeated in November. He has not disclosed his reasons for seeking the removal of Dwarshius. Under Selah’s form of government, Gawlik can hire and fire employees, though dismissals may have been open to a legal challenge under the personnel policy. The councilmen unanimously approved the separation agreements without comment. Gawlik said after the council meeting that the council wanted to move on. Sweet and Dwarshius both earlier said they wanted to keep working for the city. After Gawlik was elected, Sweet had proposed a four-year settlement agreement worth about $500,000 for himself and a six-month agreement for Dwarshius. The council never acted on those requests, though they and others thought Sweet’s request was extraordinary. Sweet said he made the proposal in the hope that Gawlik would give him time to see that they could work together. Gawlik said he hopes to select an interim supervisor while he considers how he wants to recruit for the permanent position. Sgt. Rick Hayes may continue as acting police chief, but Gawlik said Hayes has indicated he does not want the full-time job.

Groesbeck, Texas (population 7,057): A long time City Administrator announced her resignation Tuesday at a city council meeting in Groesbeck, according to Our Town Texas. Martha Stanton worked for the city for 38 years. City Council members in Groesbeck accepted Stanton’s resignation Tuesday night. Stanton’s last day working with the city will be March 31. The Groesbeck resident plans to stay in town, and find something to do to keep her busy.

Lake Alfred, Florida (population 5,015): Ryan Leavengood is the new city manager of Lake Alfred, according to The Ledger. The City Commission voted unanimously Monday at a special meeting to hire him. The final contract calls for a $75,000 annual salary with raises possible after an annual review process. Initially, Leavengood had wanted $78,000 and the commission started at $67,500. The commission initially wanted not to pay severance pay for the first year but negotiated to pay three months’ salary and benefits as a severance package through Oct. 1, 2013, and four months current pay and benefits for the following year. It will also include any accrued sick leave, vacation and other accrued benefits. If he is terminated by a majority vote of the commission after Oct. 1, 2014, he will receive five months current salary and benefits, the maximum amount allowed by state law. If he leaves voluntarily, he will receive no severance and must give 30 days notice. Leavengood wanted a $500 per month car allowance to use his own vehicle but the city had not budgeted for that. Former City Manager Larry Harbuck drove a city car. Leavengood agreed to take $100 per month car allowance until Oct. 1, when the $500 monthly car allowance will be included in the 2012-2013 budget. Commissioners also agreed to pay up to $3,000 in moving expenses. Leavengood has six months to move into the city limits of Lake Alfred, a requirement in the city’s charter. Leavengood, the current Auburndale assistant manager, will begin his new job March 5.

Eagar, Arizona (population 4,885): After 20 years as town manager, Bill Greenwood announced to the council at their Feb. 7 meeting that he would be retiring as of April 28 of this year, according to the White Mountain Independent. He read his retirement letter to the council after a non-public session that was held at the beginning of their meeting. Greenwood said he was retiring with mixed emotions and that there were many factors in his decision. He said he was worn out and out of step with today’s technology needs. He stated he would be willing to assist the new manager in any way he could at the council’s discretion. Mayor Kim Holaway moved that Greenwood be given $20,000, $1,000 for each year of service, as severance pay. The council approved the motion unanimously. Several members of the council expressed their appreciation of Greenwood’s service and the audience stood and applauded him.

Southport, North Carolina (population 3,004): Southport has selected a new city manager one year after the previous manager was ousted, according to the StarNews. Patrick Thomas, the current town manager of Swansboro (population 1,902), will start his new position April 16. The interim city manager, Regina Alexander, will resume her duties as town clerk when Thomas takes over. Alan Thornton, the previous city manager, was asked to resign in February 2011. Thomas has 27 years experience in local government and community management, including being manager in Farmville, Jacksonville, Surf City and Swansboro. He was previously editor and publisher of The Pender Post community newspaper in Pender County and has 11 years of experience in the private sector. Thomas previously served as a board member for the Cape Fear United Way and for the Cape Fear Community College Foundation, was named a Citizen Planner of the Year by the Cape Fear Council of Governments and was awarded the Razor Walker Award for contributions to young people by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Watson School of Education, according to the board. The new manager said he hopes to create an open dialogue with residents in order get to know the community quickly.

Flandreau, South Dakota (population 2,341): The Flandreau City Council has finally found a new City Administrator after Chuck Jones tendered his resignation last September, according to the Moody County Enterprise. The council voted to appoint Donald Whitman of Caney, Kan. as the new City Administrator for the City of Flandreau at a special session held on Jan. 30. Whitman is expected to start at the beginning of April and currently works as the City Administrator for Caney. The city administrator’s duties usually include overseeing the policies, departments and procedures of the city, amongst others, but details of the position are unknown as Deputy City Attorney Paul Lewis, authorized by the council, is drafting the terms and conditions of the position.

Greensburg, Kansas (population 777): Eddy Truelove is the newest Greensburg city administrator, according to the Kiowa County Signal. Truelove came to Greensburg a couple of weeks ago to tour the city, meet city officials and interview for what would ultimately become his new job. He says that he was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming his hosts were. The city has entered a period of growth as of late and has a number of high profile projects in the near future including the water treatment plant, the airport, street projects and a number of complex deals including the BTI sewer line. Though Truelove has a master’s degree in public administration, he has never served as a city administrator. When asked about his relative inexperience in the city admin’s seat, Truelove said he thinks he is well equipped for the challenges. Well aware of workload, Truelove said he has taken an interest in all of the city’s current projects, which he feels are all tied to community growth. Truelove will move his family to Greensburg, and has begun searching for a house in town. Truelove will be the fifth Greensburg city administrator in one year. Following the departure of Steve Hewitt in early 2011, the city hired Dennis McKinney as an interim administrator until May when the city hired Sheila Magee. Magee only lasted less than three months and was fired abruptly in July. Jay P. Newton has been interim city administrator while the city searched for a permanent replacement.

Transitions: Lakewood, CA; Ada, OK; Indianola, IA and more

Lakewood, California (population 80,048): Howard Chambers is expected to receive a three-year contract during tonight’s City Council meeting to return as city manager, a position he held 34 years, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Chambers retired in early 2011, but agreed to remain as interim city manager on a part-time basis for another year. During its Jan. 24 meeting, the council unanimously agreed to rehire Chambers effective March 1 for a three-year contract and authorized the city attorney to write the employment agreement. If the council approves the proposed contract today, Chambers, 67, will rescind his retirement March 1 and return as city manager. His salary will be $225,000, which is less than his previous salary of $240,000, and he will have full-time use of a city-owned Honda Civic natural gas vehicle. Chambers will be an at-will employee with no right to severance pay if his contract is terminated, according to the proposed contract.

Ada, Oklahoma (population 16,810): The Ada city council officially accepted the resignation of their city manager Monday night, according to KXII. After 15 years on the job, David Hathcoat resigned last Thursday. City officials say they can’t go into detail, because it’s a personnel issue. However, former mayor Roger Cupps says Hathcoat and the current mayor disagreed over building a new lake to serve water customers. City council members didn’t go very far when it came to naming an acting city manager Monday night, according to The Oklahoman. Frank Stout, the city attorney and a former city council member and mayor, was unanimously appointed by the council after Stout and the council spent more than an hour in executive session. Stout has been the city attorney since the end of 2010. Earlier in the meeting, the council had convened in another executive session for nine minutes returning to unanimously vote to accept the resignation of City Manager David Hathcoat. Hathcoat did not attend the meeting. After accepting Hathcoat’s resignation, the council bypassed agenda items calling for possible action to begin removing him from the job and the consideration of suspension of the city manager. Hathcoat’s employment had been a topic of council discussion since the council placed a letter of reprimand in his personnel file about two years ago after he was caught gambling at a casino during city hall business hours. After that, Scalf voted to fire him but the other council members voted to reprimand him. Hathcoat had served as city manager for 15 years. He could not be reached for comment. Scalf said Stout would take over the city manager’s role beginning Today. He declined further comment.

Indianola, Iowa (population 14,782): The Indianola City Council met Monday, Feb. 13, to approve an agreement with city manager Tim Zisoff following Zisoff’s resignation Feb. 10, according to the DesMoines Register. According to the agreement, Zisoff will be on paid leave from Feb. 11 through May 31, about 16 weeks. Based on his annual salary of $121,617, Zisoff would be paid about $37,400 during that time. After Zisoff’s paid leave ends on May 31, the city will pay him for any accumulated unused vacation days and will then pay Zisoff’s severance package equal to one year’s salary, whch the council had agreed to in December of 2011. The agreement does not specify how much vacation time Zisoff has earned. He also will receive family health insurance until the end of the severance package, according to the agreement. The council also appointed Jean Furler, Indianola finance and administrative services director, to be interim city manager until the Feb. 21 City Council meeting. Furler had been handling Zisoff’s responsibilities since Feb. 10. The agreement states that Zisoff agrees to release any claims that he has or may claim to have had against the city of Indianola. The agreement also requires both parties to “treat each other with respect and professional courtesy and to refrain from making derogatory comments about one another.” Zisoff joined the city as administrative assistant in 1979 and was named city manager in 1987.

Lexington, Oklahoma (population 2,152): Lexington City Manager Jason Orr resigned in the city’s special council meeting February 6, which was scheduled to discuss his employment in light of a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse, according to The Norman Transcript. Orr’s resignation was effective February 10. He remained on paid administrative leave until that time. The city also will pay Orr for a week of vacation time, which his contract entitles him to. The city is planning a special meeting tonight, at which time an interim city manager will be named. Lexington police charged Orr, who had been city manager for two weeks, with a misdemeanor count of domestic abuse and arrested him at 11:21 p.m. Jan. 27 from his Lexington home in the 500 block of East Broadway Street. Orr is accused of striking his wife and grabbing her arms, pushing her and head-butting her. This occurred after the couple had an argument over who should take a phone call, according to the probable cause affidavit.