Transitions: Buena Park, CA; Coon Rapids, MN; Grundy County, IL and more

Jim Vanderpool

Buena Park, California (population 80,530): In mid-July, City Manager Rick Warsinski took an early retirement after more than 30 years of service at City Hall, according to The Orange County Register. As part of his separation agreement negotiated with the City Council, he didn’t walk away empty-handed; instead, he got a city check totaling nearly $500,000, a combination of separation pay, built-up vacation and accrued sick leave. The bulk of the payoff came from the last two items, especially the sick leave, which alone accounted for nearly half of the $496,014.91 total. In an interview during his last few days as city manager, Warsinski said the sick leave and vacation built up because he rarely took time off. Warsinski noted that there were years he didn’t take a vacation at all, such as when he served as both the city’s planning director and interim city manager. The heft of the check caused consternation from some City Council members when they voted to approve the payout earlier this summer, though they conceded Warsinski’s contract with the city entitled him to the money. Earlier this year, Warsinski had announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, a date, he said, he chose to give the City Council plenty of time to find a successor. Mayor Jim Dow and other council members negotiated an early retirement with Warsinski, avoiding what they termed a “lame duck” situation, and appointed then-Deputy City Manger Jim Vanderpool to take the top spot. Had the council fired Warsinski or laid him off, Dow said, they would have had to pay him an additional amount of about $100,000. That’s because of Warsinski’s contract with the city, which dictates a severance package of nine months’ salary; instead, he was paid five months of pay. Here’s how the payoff breaks down per item, according to Finance Department records: Warsinski negotiated about five months of “early retirement incentive” – the salary he would have earned if he had stayed and worked until his original retirement date of Dec. 31. That comes out to $106,114.66. He had 1,382.57 hours of vacation – 173 days’ work, about 8 months, based on an 8-hour workday – cashed out for $169,282.35. Finally, like many municipal employees, Warsinski was entitled to be paid for unused sick time. That came out to 1,801.85 hours – 225 days – for a cash amount of $220,617.90. At the time he left, Warsinski was the second-highest compensated city manager in Orange County. A 2011 grand jury report listed his salary at $239,954 in base pay, with another $105,035 in benefits. He was second only to Laguna Hills’ Bruce Channing, whose base pay was lower at $233,592, but earned nearly $145,000 in benefits to claim the top spot. Vanderpool now earns $209,460 in base salary. His contract stipulates that he will get yearly raises starting in 2014, topping out at $221,484 at the contract’s end date, 2015.

Coon Rapids, Minnesota (population 61,476): Former Coon Rapids City Manager Matt Fulton will get six months’ severance pay as part of the separation agreement between him and the Coon Rapids City Council, according to ABC Newspapers. The council requested and Fulton agreed to submit his resignation as city manager July 18 and the council formally approved both the resignation and separation agreement at a special meeting July 23. Fulton was being paid $135,116.80 a year at the time of his resignation and his six months of severance pay had been spelled out in the employment agreement signed by the council and Fulton when he was hired as city manager in April 2006. Under the terms of the separation agreement, Fulton can take the payment in one lump sum or in bi-weekly payments over a six-month period to minimize tax consequences. The severance payment period began effective with the date of Fulton’s resignation, according to City Attorney David Brodie, who negotiated the separation agreement with an attorney representing Fulton. As well as six months of severance pay, Fulton’s health insurance with the city will stay in place for six months, which was also part of the original employment agreement. In addition, Fulton will be paid 100 percent of his accrued vacation pay, less applicable withholding, with 50 percent of his accrued sick leave being contributed to his MSRS (Minnesota State Retirement System), which administers the city’s post employment health care saving plan and he will also be paid for one unused floating holiday minus tax withholding. Those vacation and sick leave provisions are typical for any employee leaving the city, Brodie said. As part of the agreement, the city waives any right to contest Fulton’s eligibility for this compensation, while at the same time, Fulton specifically releases the city from any claims for benefits, salary, severance payments or any other benefits to which he might otherwise be entitled under the original 2006 employment agreement. While the separation agreement does not preclude Fulton from filing a discrimination charge with the federal EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), he does waive his right to any monetary damages. Under the terms of the agreement, the city will reimburse Fulton $750 for his attorney’s fee.

Grundy County, Illinois (population 50,063): Grundy County Administrator Shawn Hamilton has resigned to take a job with the city of Park Ridge, where he will make double his current salary, according to the Morris Daily Herald. Starting Wednesday, Aug. 1, Hamilton will be Park Ridge’s new interim city manager. Hamilton said he had to make his resignation effective immediately in order to start at Park Ridge and be trained by the current manager at Park Ridge. In September, Hamilton was hired as the Grundy County administrator with a one-year contract that paid him $70,000 a year. He will make $140,000 and has a nine-month contract at Park Ridge. Hamilton’s hiring was recommended by Mayor David Schmidt and was approved 5-2 by the Park Ridge Council Monday night. His contract is interim because it can only be as long as the mayor’s term, which has nine months remaining, Hamilton said. Since it’s an interim position, he does not have to move to Park Ridge as of right now. In May, Park Ridge fired City Manager Jim Hock, according to published reports. The council approved his termination unanimously, stating he fell short of expectations. Hock has been with Park Ridge since 2008. Deputy City Manager Juliana Maller took over for Hock, and Hamilton is taking over for her. Hamilton said Hock was making about $195,000 a year when he was manager. Despite some previous bad blood between Hamilton and Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson, Hamilton was not looking for a new job when he submitted his resume to Park Ridge. He said he has several former co-workers who live in the Park Ridge area. They told him about the job opening and encouraged him to apply for the position. Hamilton thanked both the chairman and the board for their support. Chairman Severson said Tuesday he wished Hamilton nothing but the best of luck. When Hamilton was hired in September, Severson would not sign his contract, but board member Dave Boggs did instead. In public and through the media, the two have had altercations regarding communication and responsibilities. Hamilton acknowledges in his letter he may need to reimburse the county for a portion of salary for breaking his contract. Severson still believes the county does not need a full-time administrator. When Hamilton was hired, Severson maintained the duties could continue to be filled by Land Use Director Heidi Miller and Board Secretary Sandy Pommier. “There are only 19 counties of 102 in Illinois with administrators,” Severson said Tuesday. He continued that he didn’t feel Grundy needed one. He feels something different could be done, such as an administrative assistant or a contractual person. Severson will be meet with the other 17 board members to get everyone’s opinion on what the county should do next as far as the now open administrator position. The county just finished its budget hearings with its departments and is in the process of setting next year’s budget. Without Hamilton, Severson said the county board committees will handle the remaining budget work.

Cleremont, Florida (population 29,368): The city council wants to have a replacement for longtime City Manager Wayne Saunders on board by Jan.1, 2013, according to The Daily Commercial. But on Monday night, Administrative Services Director Joe Van Zile said at a special city council meeting that he thinks that may be a bit optimistic, referring to the council’s timeframe as “aggressive.” Van Zile wants first to identify the executive search firm that will assist the city in choosing a new city leader. The board decided to advertise for a search firm for two weeks beginning today, followed by a “staff-based committee,” to consist of Van Zile, City Clerk Tracy Ackroyd and City Attorney Dan Mantzaris to review and rank the interested firms. As the process began, the Human Resources Manager was to have been part of the committee, but Councilman Rick Van Wagner wondered if someone on the job for just three months would be prepared to contribute effectively. Accordingly, Mantzaris was chosen to replace her. On Aug. 27, the council will receive the names of the top-ranked firms, along with their proposals. The need for a new city manager in Clermont comes after a “no confidence” vote from three of five council members who expressed concern that Saunders did not have the “vision” they required regarding the future of Clermont and worried about Saunders’ subsequent decision to retire. Saunders’ retirement also comes amid numerous accusations by six former police officers who not only claim they were wrongfully terminated in retaliation for complaining about Police Chief Graham years ago, but also swear there is ongoing corruption and wrongdoing within the department. Those officers and their supporters attended recent city council meetings with picket signs calling for the termination of Graham and police Capt. Jon Johnson. They also criticized Saunders for his lack of leadership. Approximately two weeks ago, Saunders voluntarily retired effective Jan. 1, 2013, but will stay on through Jan. 1, 2014 as a consultant to the new manager, earning his full salary of $141,000. Graham also announced his retirement last week, to become effective in October, on the same day that Saunders recommended an investigation of the Police Department. On Monday, the council also learned that the same firm ultimately chosen to search for a new city manager, will most likely be retained to choose the city’s new police chief.
Caledonia, Wisconsin (population 24,365): Mark Janiuk, the village’s new administrator, is getting acclimated with his new position after a week and a half on the job, according to the Caledonia Patch. Janiuk, who started working in Caledonia July 23, told Patch that “everything is going wonderfully,” during a brief phone interview Wednesday. Earlier this summer, Janiuk was hired as Caledonia’s Village Administrator after Tom Lebak decided to retire. Janiuk has been Sturtevant’s village administrator since 2006. Before that he spent 25 years in the Racine County Corporation Counsel, and when Caledonia was a town he worked as Caledonia’s zoning administrator. The staff working for the Village of Sturtevant has been reduced from 35 to 17 full-time positions and Janiuk works part-time in response to those cuts.  Janiuk has a two-year contract with the village. The terms include paying Janiuk $92,000 a year. He won’t be receiving health insurance or retirement benefits from the Village because he’s already receiving them as a retiree through Racine County.

Woodstock, Illinois (population 20,151): Longtime City Manager Tim Clifton will retire at the end of this fiscal year, according to the Northwest Herald. Clifton has been Woodstock’s city Manager for the past 20 years and will leave his post April 30, and has a lot of work to complete as he wraps up his final nine months on the job. Clifton earns $175,000 a year.

Claremore, Oklahoma (population 18,581): Having gone through several city managers in less than two years, the city would like its next one to stay a while, Mayor Mickey Perry said, according to the Tulsa World. In June, City Manager Daryl Golbek announced that he was resigning but would continue his longtime duties as public works director. Golbek took over for Tim Rundel, who spent less than two months as city manager before he left in the fall of 2010. He eventually landed a job as assistant city manager at Midwest City. Rundel’s predecessor, Troy Powell, lasted 4 1/2 years before he left for a similar position at The Colony, Texas. Numerous councilors resigned during the Rundel-to-Golbek transition. Perry said Claremore’s city government is much more stable now. The city employs 292 people and has an annual operating budget of about $100 million. It also operates its own water, sewer, sanitation and electric utilities. The city has received at least 20 applications for city manager and will continue taking them through Sept. 14. Ward 4 Councilor Mark Lepak is chairman of the screening committee. No hiring timetable exists, Perry said.

La Palma, California (population 15,568): City officials today announced the selection of Ellen Volmert as the next City Manager of La Palma, contingent on approval by the full City Council at their August 7, 2012, meeting, according to the Hews Media Group. Ms. Volmert will assume her duties on September 4. Ms. Volmert joins La Palma from Corvallis, Oregon where she has been the Assistant City Manager since 1994 and served as City Manager Pro Tem for four months in 2011 following the retirement of the long-time City Manager of that City. She comes to La Palma with broad experience in strategic planning, human resources and labor relations, community relations, capital project management, economic development, budgeting, team facilitation, diversity, technology, organizational development, and risk management. Prior to moving to Corvallis, Ms. Volmert worked for over 14 years in two Southern California Cities, Baldwin Park and West Covina. Ms. Volmert holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Fullerton; a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles; and is an International City/County Management Association Credentialed Manager. Ms. Volmert’s selection completes a process that began on March 16, 2012, when Dominic Lazzaretto resigned after five years as La Palma’s City Manager. To help assist with the search for a new City Manager, the City retained Bobbi Peckham of the recruiting firm of Peckham and McKenney to undertake a nationwide job search. Of the 64 individuals that applied for the position, 12 were selected as finalists, with 7 being invited to interview with the City Council on June 27 and July 3. Based on those interviews, the top three candidates were identified and invited back for a second interview on July 20.

Covington, Georgia (population 13,118): The Covington City Council held a called meeting Monday evening to discuss how to proceed in the selection process of a new city manager, according to the Newton Citizen. City Manager Steve Horton is retiring, and recently announced that his last day on the job will be Dec. 21. Mayor Ronnie Johnston recommended that the council hire an outside professional firm to recruit and vet applicants, noting that “this is a critical position for the whole city” and recommending the council take a broad perspective, on the state and national level. He also acknowledged that there is also likely interest on the local level and using an outside firm would keep the process “the broadest and cleanest.” Two firms — The Mercer Group Inc. out of Atlanta and Slavin Management Consultants out of Norcross — have already submitted proposals related to the selection process. A third company that was solicited has not yet responded. The council agreed to interview representatives from the companies before making a decision, with a meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public. Johnston said the cost to hire consultants will likely be between $15,000 and $20,000 and said the entire process will take 90 to 120 days at best. Once candidates are narrowed by the firm, the council will then interview the top candidates, he said, adding that he expects the process “will take many hours of this council’s time.” The city manager oversees the day-to-day operations of the city and all its departments. There is not currently a set salary range for the position, but Horton currently earns an annual salary of $112,798, according to Human Resources Director Ronnie Cowan. Cowan said he believes that is low compared to other city managers doing comparable work, noting that Horton had not accepted salary increases of late. Cowan said he believes whatever consulting firm is hired by the council will likely make recommendations as to a salary and benefits package for the new city manager. The position requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, public administration or a related field from an accredited college or university, with a master’s or other graduate degree preferred. Ten years experience in public administration with supervisory experience and a minimum of five years as manager and director of a municipal or county department is also required, along with knowledge of municipal budgeting procedures; record keeping; computers and software; city, county, state and federal laws and ordinances impacting city government; the city’s organizational structure and processes.

Coatesville, Pennsylvania (population 13,100): City Council approved a new manager on Wednesday, according to the Daily Local News. Kirby Hudson, who was the interim city manager and held the assistant manager position before that, was named as the full-time manager on a 5-2 vote. Council also passed a resolution to remove the requirement that the city manager live inside the city. That was also approved on a 5-2 vote. Council President Ed Simpson and Councilwoman Ingrid Jones voted against both measures. About 25 residents attended Wednesday’s meeting and many stood up in support of Hudson being appointed as the new manager. Hudson thanked the public for their outpouring of support. Former Weed and Seed Director Allen Smith announced that he had applied to be manager. Council said it never saw his application. Hudson has worked as assistant manager for six years and has served as interim manager on three separate occasions. Jones said she voted against Hudson, because in order to lift the residency requirement she felt there needed to be a referendum. Simpson said he wanted the residency requirement to remain in place. He also previously stated that he was in favor of a wide search. Hudson said he will focus on the police department as a main priority of his office. Hudson has had some controversy in the city. In 2007, he was arrested for a DUI while serving as assistant manager. There was also some concern over him reportedly not paying taxes on a lump sum he received for work with the Redevelopment Authority. Collins said Wednesday that he has been “exonerated of those charges” concerning the unpaid taxes.

Newmarket, New Hampshire (population 8,936): The Newmarket Town Council is pleased to announce that it has come to an agreement with Steve Fournier of Dover, NH to become the next Town Administrator of Newmarket, according to Foster’s Daily Democrat. The Town Council plans to formally vote to appoint Fournier at its August 15th, 2012 meeting. A native of Somersworth, Fournier holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire. He is currently the Town Administrator of North Hampton, New Hampshire where he has served since 2007.
Prior to North Hampton, he served as the Town Administrator of Epping and Northwood New Hampshire and as the Director of Administrative Services/Assistant Town Manager of Littleton, NH. Fournier is a member of the Board of Directors of New Hampshire Local Government Center; the current Chair of the New Hampshire Municipal Association’s Municipal Advocacy Committee; a past President of the Municipal Manager’s Association of New Hampshire and active in the International City/County Managers Association. In 2005, Mr. Fournier was named by the Union Leader/NH Business and Industry Association as one of forty New Hampshire’s upcoming leaders under the age of 40. He is involved in many civic activities, and served the City of Somersworth as a City Councilor from 1996 to 2001, two years as its Deputy Mayor.

East Hampton, Connecticut (population 2,691): Michael Maniscalco is the new East Hampton town manager, according to the Reminder News. Born and raised in Trumbull, Conn., Maniscalco looks at the position in East Hampton as something of a homecoming. Maniscalco, 30, attended the University of South Dakota, one of only two universities in the country to offer a degree in American Indian Studies, which was Maniscalco’s passion at the time. He stayed at USD for a graduate degree in public administration. Making his way east, Maniscalco took a position running the National Leadership Grant for the Illinois State Museum. While there, he helped develop a database that takes qualitative data, for example audio and/or video, and makes it quantitative, allowing for broad cross-referencing of various topics. Focused on Illinois agriculture, the database was made available on the Internet. From there, Maniscalco went on to become the senior manager of the Autism Program of Illinois, creating partnerships with other public and private entities across the state to deliver services to kids with disabilities. There, he worked on accessibility projects for kids with autism, and created resource rooms in Chicago for parents and teachers of kids with autism. Immediately before coming to East Hampton, Maniscalco worked as the economic development coordinator for Logan County in Illinois.  There, he was instrumental in preventing the closing of a prison. He also helped develop an aggregation program for electric utilities. A lot of people warned Maniscalco against taking both the Autism Program and the economic development coordinator positions. Maniscalco considered both positions challenges, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome. The recent, well-documented town government controversies don’t dampen Maniscalco’s enthusiasm. n the job for only a few weeks, Maniscalco said he is not making any immediate changes, but is just observing for now. He wants to examine some of the bigger projects, like a town water system and improvements in town facilities that have languished for some time, and decide what can be done to help move them forward.

Iron River, Wisconsin (population 761): Iron River Mayor Terry Tarsi welcomed new City Manager Perry Franzoi to his first regular meeting of the City Council July 18, according to the Iron County Reporter. Franzoi replaces retired City Manager John Archocosky. The former Breitung Township supervisor officially began July 2. Tarsi said Archocosky, who served as city manager for nine years, will stay on as a consultant until Aug. 30, helping Franzoi become acquainted with several ongoing city projects, including water, sewer and the U.S. 2 reconstruction.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s