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.

 

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