Transitions: San Mateo County, CA; Charles County, MD; Santa Clara, CA and more

San Mateo County, California (population 727,209): County supervisors are putting their money where their mouth is, backing up plans to keep Interim County Manager John Maltbie around full time four more years with a roughly $300,0000 annual salary package, according to The Daily Journal. The Board of Supervisors will vote at Tuesday morning’s meeting on the agreement which would begin Dec. 23 and run through Dec. 22, 2016. The proposal calls for Maltbie to receive a bi-weekly salary of $10,393.60 but the board plans to bump the wage up to $11,538.46 to be more in line with other chief executive officer pay in the Bay Area. The current county manager salary of approximately $270,000 is more than 11 percent behind its counterparts, according to a board report by Human Resources Director Donna Vaillancourt. Maltbie, 65, will also receive a $1,000 monthly car allowance and 45 days of vacation per year which can be cashed out at the end of the contract. However, Maltbie intends to fully use the vacation time and will receive a 22.5-day advance, according to the agreement. In the case Maltbie is let go by the county, he will receive up to a year of salary and benefits depending upon what time is left on his contract. On his end of the arrangement, Maltbie must suspend his annual $133,000 pension to be reinstated as a full-time county employee because he cannot receive it simultaneously with a salary. Maltbie previously served as county manager for more than two decades before retiring in 2008. Succeeding county manager David Boesch resigned three years later before the end of his contract and Maltbie stepped back in on an interim basis. He was limited to work 960 hours in a fiscal year and did not receive any other benefits. In February, the Board of Supervisors decided to keep Maltbie longer and postponed recruiting a permanent replacement until 2013 but now will wait until closer to 2016. The Board of Supervisors meets 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 in Board Chambers, 400 County Government Center, Redwood City.

Charles County, Maryland (population 146,551): The Charles County commissioners hired a new county administrator last week, filling a post that had been vacant since a majority of the board fired the prior administrator in July, according to Southern Maryland Newspapers Online. Mark J. Belton, a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy Reserves, will leave his job as administrator of Page County, Va., to start work in Charles County on Dec. 17. Belton has held that post since 2005 and also served as administrator for Queen Anne’s County in Maryland from 1999 to 2002. Originally, Belton’s contract with Page County expired in January, but the county board of supervisors voted Nov. 22 to let him resign early, said supervisors’ Vice Chairman J.D. Cave. In “late summer,” the board voted not to renew his contract, but Cave would not say why. Belton said the supervisors were looking to replace someone hired by the previous board and to pay a lower salary. Supervisors’ Chairman Johnny Woodward had praise for Belton despite his vote, a decision he said he made because “the board just felt it was time for a change.” Education dominated his legacy in Page County, Belton said. He recalled his role in helping establish middle schools in a public school system that previously had only elementary and high schools, and in attracting a campus of Lord Fairfax Community College to a county that had been without any institution of higher education. He also assisted in the development of a small commercial airport, he said. It’s too soon to say what projects he’ll face in Charles County. Page County, like others in rural Virginia, often serves as a training ground for officials who then progress to more lucrative positions in larger, wealthier counties, said former Page County Board of Education member Gary Gibbs. The Charles County commissioners interviewed four candidates before settling on Belton, said commissioners’ President Candice Quinn Kelly (D). Belton graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1983 and served in the Navy for seven years. Since 1991, he has been in the reserves, from which he was mobilized and sent to Kosovo in 2001 and to Baghdad from 2009 to 2010. He serves as a supply officer, he said. He also holds a master’s of business administration from Regis University in Colorado, and served as assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for two years, according to the county government announcement. As a reservist, Belton could be recalled to active duty, but it is “highly unlikely” because he already has served several postings, Kelly said. Should he be called up, the county will manage “just the same as we always manage, with our deputy county administrator, and as we’ve managed previously when various different folks in leadership roles were out or pending a replacement.”

Juliio Fuentes

Santa Clara, California (population 116,468): Santa Clara has hired a new city manager, according to the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. Julio Fuentes has been hired for his track record of bringing economic development and fiscal stability to cities in Southern California, according to a statement by the City of Santa Clara. Fuentes, who has been the city manager for Alhambra, Calif., since 1992, was appointed to his new post unanimously at a city council meeting Tuesday night. His first day on the job in Santa Clara will be Feb. 4, 2013, and he will earn an annual salary of $290,000. Fuentes was selected after a nationwide search to find a replacement for Jennifer Sparacino, who retired in June after 25 years in the role. Fuentes’ experience managing Alhambra’s $114 million budget – that’s compared to Santa Clara’s $558 million annual budget – should come in handy as his new employer deals with an expected state claim of up to $350 million in former redevelopment assets.

Harnett County, North Carolina (population 114,678): The Harnett County Board of Commissioners wasted no time firing County Manager Scott Sauer once a new Republican majority was established, doing so shortly after swearing in two new Republican members on Monday, according to The Sanford Herald. The vote was 3-2, largely along partisan lines. Sauer, who was hired away from Sampson County in 2009, didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday. His temporary replacement, Interim County Manager Joseph Jeffries, wasn’t available on Tuesday, according to office staff. Hill, the lone Democrat on the board, said she considered the vote “revenge” for a lawsuit involving the county’s Public Utilities Department. Although she wouldn’t say more, the county did sue Republican commissioner Gary House last spring, alleging that he orchestrated the theft of private documents from the county by a former utilities employee who was fired in 2011. That employee has admitted to taking the documents, but House, according to a Fayetteville Observer story from last May, said there is more to the story than has been revealed. On Monday, he was voted vice chairman of the board — taking the position Hill had held for the past decade and a half — but didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. Sauer did elicit some controversy in 2011 when he accepted a raise included in the same budget that also required all county workers to take one day of furlough per month. At the time, he reportedly said he had declined a raise in 2010 but did feel that accepting the 2011 raise of 5 percent was appropriate because it was comparable to raises other employees had received. The vote to fire Sauer didn’t go entirely smoothly for the GOP bloc, though, with the newly elected Joe Miller breaking rank with his fellow Republicans in order to vote against dismissing Sauer. The other new commissioner, Gordon Springle, said he had no problem voting against Sauer on his first day on the job because he saw the recent election as a wider referendum on what Harnett County voters want. According to John Rankins, the Harnett County Human Resources and Risk Management director, the county will be accepting applications for county manager for the next two weeks or so. Also at Monday’s meeting, Republican Jim Burgin was chosen as chairman, replacing longtime Republican board member Tim McNeill, who was chairman during Sauer’s tenure as county manager. Neither he nor Burgin responded to requests for comment. McNeill and Democrat Dan Andrews, who served for years before being defeated by Springle in November, were also both honored and presented with the Order of the Longleaf Pine — North Carolina’s highest civilian award — at the meeting.

Pueblo, Colorado (population 106,595): Pueblo City Council this week named City Finance Director Sam Azad to be the new city manager, according to The Pueblo Chieftan. He is scheduled to take the reins of city government on Jan. 2. Mr. Azad succeeds Jerry Pacheco as manager. Mr. Pacheco stepped down in May due to personal problems. In the interim, former city official Jim Munch has been the acting manager.

Cambridge, Massachusetts (population 105,162): Members of the Cambridge City Council appointed longtime deputy city manager Richard Rossi Monday to the city’s top spot next year, according to the Boston Globe. The council voted 8 to 1 to promote Rossi to the city manager post once it is vacated by Robert Healy, who is retiring June 30 after 32 years on the job. Rossi, 66, who grew up in Cambridge and now lives in Watertown, promised hard work and good communication to the council on Monday.

Bartow County, Georgia (population 100,157): For 38 years, Steve Bradley has called Bartow County government home. On Tuesday, he will celebrate his retirement as county administrator, official Jan. 1. Bradley’s path to county administrator evolved, taking him through the tax assessor’s office and the district attorney’s office. He also served as treasurer under late Commissioner Frank Moore, which Bradley said is a position that evolved into the county administrator job. The Bartow County native became county administrator under retiring Commissioner Clarence Brown in 1993. Brown said Bradley’s experience was key in his hiring. Once he became county administrator, Bradley said he really never considered anything else. Bradley’s son, Stan, said his father’s passion for his work was a standard he himself has tried to follow. The father of two is a graduate of Cartersville High School, earning his bachelor’s from West Georgia College and his law degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1979. He added that serving in a fast-growing community presented its own set of challenges in the past 20 years. Of his accomplishments as county administrator, Bradley considers the growth management plan as perhaps his greatest. Bradley said he has continued to look ahead for the county, coordinating with staff and incoming County Administrator Peter Olson. With retirement just weeks away, Bradley said he will shift his focus a bit closer to home. Stan Bradley said his father’s dedication to family is one of the gifts he passed on to his children.

Temecula, California (population 100,097): In a 3-0 vote, the Temecula City Council fired City Manager Robert Johnson Tuesday night, according to the TemeculaPatch. The vote came behind closed doors, in the closed-session portion of the regularly scheduled city council meeting, and no information regarding the reason for termination is being released. City Attorney Peter Thorson made the announcement Tuesday and after the meeting declined to comment about the firing. City Councilmen Jeff Comerchero and Ron Roberts were absent during Tuesday night’s meeting. When asked about Temecula Chief Financial Officer Genie Wilson, who was placed on administrative leave earlier this month with Johnson, Thorson declined comment. There was no mention of Wilson Tuesday night. Thorson told Patch last week that actions against Johnson and Wilson are based on “differences in management philosophy and goals.” City employee Aaron Adams was officially appointed Tuesday to serve as acting city manager; no fill-in has been named to serve as chief financial officer. Johnson’s appointment to City Manager came July 10, 2011 following news that then-City Manager Shawn Nelson was retiring effective Jan. 1, 2012. As part of his four-year employment contract agreed to in Sept. 2011 and commenced on Jan. 1, 2012, Johnson received an annual salary of $215,000 and $11,000 a year in deferred compensation for a savings plan, according to the city documents. Under his employment contract, which was officially terminated Tuesday night, Johnson is entitled to receive a severance payment equal to six months’ salary, as well as insurance benefits during the six months following his firing. However, if termination is the result of being charged or convicted of a felony, or engaging in corrupt or willful misconduct in office, Johnson’s severance benefits will not be paid, according to city documents. Wilson’s annual salary as of 2010 was $180,466, including benefits, according to the latest public salary information available from the California State Controller’s website. According to city documents, her role with the city encompassed overseeing various administrative services including human resources, strategic budgeting and operations, support services, information technology, and accounting and purchasing.

Floyd County, Georgia (population 96,317): The Floyd County Commission will meet next week to discuss the replacement of County Manager Blaine Williams, who is leaving Dec. 31 for Athens-Clarke County, according to the Rome News-Tribune. The board’s regular session is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 11. Williams — who took over Floyd County’s top slot on Jan. 1 — said he’ll work through the end of the year and take a week off before starting in Athens on Jan. 7, 2013. He’ll be one of two assistant managers for the consolidated government of Athens-Clarke County, which has 1,573 employees and a general fund budget of $104 million. Floyd County has about 650 employees and a $43 million budget. A “green” fire station and a government-backed arts center were two initiatives he mentioned, but another draw is Alan Reddish, the Athens-Clarke manager. Including a 7.5 percent deferred contribution, Williams was netting about $106,000 a year in Floyd and was part of the pension plan. In Athens-Clarke, he’ll have a base salary of $109,000 and his choice of either a 10-percent deferred contribution or participation in the pension plan. Williams hired on as Floyd’s assistant county manager in April 2007 and served as interim county manager after the Dec. 2, 2011, departure of Kevin Poe. The board named him as Poe’s permanent replacement after a nationwide search that drew 21 applications. Noah Simon, the former community development director for Fortney, Texas, replaced Williams as assistant county manager on March 26. In Athens-Clarke, Williams will hold the title of assistant manager for transportation and community services, overseeing the departments of planning, building permits and inspections, human and economic development, transportation and public works, public utilities, transit, airport and solid waste.

Moore County, North Carolina (population 88,247): James Layman Westbrook Jr., a veteran North Carolina government manager who had been tapped to be the interim Moore County manager, died Nov. 27 in a traffic accident near Vass, according to The Pilot. Westbrook was traveling east on Vass-Carthage Road when his 2007 Chevy SUV struck a tractor- trailer hauling logs that had pulled out in front of him. Westbrook died on the scene at approximately 5:35 p.m. Westbrook, who would have turned 69 Nov. 29, had a long and distinguished career as a local government manager for several cities, including Fayetteville, Asheville and Cary. He also had worked in various Moore County governmental departments as a consultant. Westbrook began his duties as interim county manager on Nov. 26. The Moore County Board of Commissioners had voted unanimously on his selection to succeed retiring County Manager Cary McSwain, who was set to retire Nov. 30. According to state retirement regulations, McSwain must vacate his position for at least 31 days following his retirement Nov. 30. Westbrook was a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He worked as a consultant for Moore County government from July 2007 through Sept. 2011, where he prepared and monitored a 10-year capital budget project and served in an interim capacity as the public works director, the human resources director, the public safety director and as the assistant county manager. A retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm veteran, Westbrook was city manager in Asheville. Before that, he was town manager in Cary and had worked with Catawba County, the city of Petersburg, Va., the city of High Point, and Burlington Industries, Inc. He received the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and other awards and decorations for his military service. The Westbrook family experienced a more prominent tragedy last year when their daughter, 37-year-old Ashley Westbrook Turton, was killed in a bizarre accidental explosion and fire in the garage of her Washington, D.C., home. The incident made national news because she was ­married to senior White House aide Daniel Arthur Turton, and she was a major lobbyist for Progress Energy. Her death in January 2011 occurred on the day Progress announced its merger with Duke Energy.

Jefferson County, Wisconsin (population 83,686): Just two days after learning of the pending retirement of longtime Jefferson County Judge Jacqueline R. Erwin, Jefferson County officials this morning heard news of the upcoming retirement of county Administrator Gary Petre, according to the Watertown Daily Times. Petre, 61, began his work as administrator with the county Oct. 25, 2005. He succeeded a retiring Willard Hausen. Petre came to Jefferson County after serving as director of administration for the city of Franklin. Prior to work in Franklin in 2000, Petre was assistant manager for administration with the United States Census Bureau in Muskego. From 1993 to 2002, Petre served with the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors on its board of directors. Before that, he served as director of administration for the Milwaukee County Department of Administration, was acting zoo director at the Milwaukee County Zoo and was deputy director of Milwaukee County Parks, Recreation and Culture. Petre is a 1973 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, with a bachelor of administration degree and a major in finance. He received continuing education at Marquette University and with the state of Wisconsin as a real estate broker. At the time he was hired, then-Jefferson County Administrative Search Committee Chairman Ron Buchanan said his committee was sold on Petre when they learned of his overall experience and heard recommendations. Making the final three along with Petre in 2005 were Jefferson County Corporation Counsel Phil Ristow and Diane Gard of the city of Oconomowoc. The search began with 45 candidates. Petre has lived in Franklin during his career with Jefferson County and said he and his wife Beth have no plans to relocate. The couple has four adult children and six grandchildren between the ages of 6 months and 7 years old. Petre’s retirement is effective April 1, 2013, because his current employee contract ends March 31, 2013. The Jefferson County Administration and Rules Committee met this morning with the subject of Petre’s contract renewal on its agenda. After hearing of Petre’s desire to retire in 2013, however, the panel decided against requesting renewal of the employment document. Petre’s list of accomplishments as county administrator during the past 7 1/2 years include teaming with others to engender a substantial reduction in the amount of tax levy support required by the county’s fair park. Petre said the county has undergone a classification and compensation study this year, a document that will go before the county board at its December meeting. He said he is pleased with the fact the county was able to develop a strategic plan for the county. Petre said he believes a lot was accomplished in county government during his time as administrator, but work remains to be done. Petre said he leaves the county with a few items of unfinished business. Among the highlights of his time with Jefferson County, Petre said, was helping coordinate the transition of Countryside Home from a public facility to a privately owned operation. Petre and his wife have travel plans in the making for his retirement. He also said work for him is really never done because his family views him as their own, personal handyman. Petre said he appreciates the support and encouragement he has received from county board members and department heads over the years.

San Clemente, California (population 63,522): After a 35-year career in municipal government, San Clemente City Manager George Scarborough will retire March 20, according to the Orange County Register. San Clemente hired Scarborough as city manager in 2003 after he had worked 15 years for neighboring San Juan Capistrano, the final 10 as city manager. He said he is proud of the performance of city staff during his tenure in San Clemente and of the city’s accomplishments, including the beach trail, Vista Hermosa Sports Park, projects to ease traffic, improved customer service in city offices, a strong financial foundation and a “can do” culture at City Hall. Council members reached by phone Monday congratulated Scarborough on his service and his retirement. Pall Gudgerisson, San Clemente’s treasurer and assistant city manager, will take the reins as chief executive of the city after George Scarborough retires in March, according to the SanClementePatch. The San Clemente City Council offered glowing praise for Gudgerisson before unanimously voting him in. Gudgerisson said he hopes to continue where Scarborough will leave off, shepherding projects to completion.

Gaithersburg, Maryland (population 59,933): After a national talent search of nearly five months duration, Tony Tomasello, Gaithersburg’s acting city manager since June 15, was chosen to fill the position permanently, according to The Town Courier. The city of Gaithersburg made the announcement Nov. 29, and the appointment was effective immediately. He was officially sworn in on Dec. 3. Prior to his new appointment, Tomasello held the position of deputy/assistant city manager for 11 years. He has worked for the city a total of 16 years. Tomasello said he has been gratified by support from every level of city employee — throughout the selection process and in the time since his appointment was announced. Gaithersburg’s city manager is appointed by the City Council and serves as the chief administrative officer for the city. Tomasello will manage Gaithersburg’s administrative operations in accordance with policies and procedures set forth by the City Council, with a professional staff of 272 full time employees and a city budget of $50.6 million. His starting salary is $165,000. Tomasello is looking to the challenges ahead with enthusiasm. A new budget process will begin soon. Since there is no assistant city manager in place, nor is there an executive assistant city manager to whom to delegate parts of the process, Tomasello anticipates being engaged fully in all aspects of drafting the city’s strategic plan and budget for FY ‘14. Undeniably, there is a lot of work ahead for Tomasello, and he seems to look forward to it. In an interview, his voice is filled with enthusiasm. It appears that longtime Gaithersburg employee and nouveau City Manager Tony Tomasello is home at last.

Somerset County, Maine (population 52,228): Somerset County Administrator Larry Post has abruptly resigned after a closed meeting with county commissioners, according to WABI. Commissioner Lynda Quinn says the 59-year-old Post resigned Tuesday because of “different management styles.” Post, who lives in St. Albans, tells the Morning Sentinel, that his resignation was a “mutual parting.” Post was escorted out of the county courthouse, where his office was located, by sheriff’s deputies, but Quinn says that is standard procedure. Post got a four-year contract with a $60,000 salary and the county paying 100 percent of his health insurance. He also got five weeks of paid vacation.

Bloomfield, New Jersey (population 47,315): Ted Ehrenburg began his career as the new Bloomfield administrator on Monday with a song, according to Bloomfield Life. His first taste as Bloomfield’s top professional started with the lighting of the holiday tree outside Town Hall and caroling. After that, he headed inside for his first Township Council meeting. After it was over, Ehrenburg told Bloomfield Life that he’s looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting down to business. He met with department heads earlier Monday and wanted to hear what they thought of how the municipality operates. Ehrenburg held the same job in Bloomingdale, with a population of 7,667, for seven years before putting in his resume for Bloomfield, which as 47,315. Prior to that, he served as a police chief in Morris County. He said residents are “very passionate” about their town. Ehrenburg’s seven-step salary range is between $150,000 and $180,000 a year, meaning after seven years, he will make top pay. His base salary in Bloomingdale was just more than $116,200. With longevity, it came to $119,800, according to the Bloomingdale borough clerk. The township received about 56 resumes for the position. Bloomfield was without an administrator since July when Yoshi Manale resigned. Manale had said he made $127,000 a year, although public finance records say he pulled in $110,000.

Essex County, New York (population 39,370): In a surprise action Monday, Essex County Manager Daniel Palmer and his wife, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Deborah Palmer, both announced their retirements effective at the end of the year, according to the Press-Republican. Mr. Palmer has been county manager since August 2008, and his wife was appointed board clerk in September 1996. County officials were informed of the decisions on Monday morning. Mr. Palmer and his staff had recently devised a three-year plan to restore Essex County to solvency. The plan, which would have had 26, 16 and 3 percent tax hikes for the next three years before stabilizing, was apparently rejected by the County Board of Supervisors at a budget workshop Nov. 29 in favor of a combination of cuts, reductions and greater use of the county’s fund balance to get to a 2.6 tax-levy increase in the proposed 2013 budget. Before he was named county manager, Mr. Palmer was county personnel officer, and before that he served as Minerva town supervisor. The retirements are effective Jan. 1, 2013. Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said it was with deep sadness that he learned of the Palmers’ retirements. He said he spoke with Mr. Palmer on Monday, as well as Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba), the vice chair of the board, about ensuring a smooth transition. Mr. Palmer also served as head of the County Information Technology Department. Douglas said he regretted that there were such sharp differences of opinion between the board and Mr. Palmer. Douglas said a 26 percent tax increase was too high, despite the eventual budget stability Mr. Palmer said it would provide. Mrs. Palmer has 38 years of service with Essex County. She started as a clerk in the County Attorney’s Office, moved to deputy clerk of the Board of Supervisors and finally clerk of the board when Peter Mends retired. The Palmers reside in Minerva, where he was elected town justice in the 2011 elections. Mr. Palmer said he can’t support the board’s decision to make major changes to the tentative 2013 budget he had filed. He said he could withdraw the retirement paperwork before the due date but doesn’t feel he’ll be swayed to do so. Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah), who chairs the County Finance Committee, said the Palmers’ decision was unexpected. Scozzafava has long insisted the county does not need a county manager. Mr. Palmer said he’ll decide after the first of the year what he wants to do with his life. Mr. Palmer was also unhappy that the Board of Supervisors removed department-head raises from the new budget since he believed they were doing a first-class job despite a fiscal crisis in the county.

Huntsville, Texas (population 35,548): After nearly a seven-month search, the Huntsville City Council unanimously approved hiring finalist Matt Benoit as Huntsville’s new city manager, according to The Huntsville Item. Benoit, 38, replaces Bill Baine, who resigned his position in April. Chuck Pinto has served as interim city manager  while council sought a replacement. Benoit, who was selected from a pool of four finalists, will begin his new job on Monday, Dec. 10. Councll chose Benoit on the basis of his experience,  education, and his interactions with council and city staff during the search process and final interviews, Mayor Mac Woodward said. Benoit is the former assistant city manager in Farmers Branch, Texas, an inner ring suburb north of Dallas in Dallas County with a population of 28,600, a position he took in September 2009. Before coming to Farmers Branch, Benoit was assistant city manager of Wichita Falls and city manager of Herington, Kan., a city of 2,526. In addition to seeking the top spot in Huntsville’s city government, Benoit also was a finalist for the city manager’s job in Melbourne, Fla. Woodward introduced Benoit to council after an hour and a half long executive session. After the council meeting, Benoit told The Item he had been selected following an “extensive selection process,” that included multiple interviews and visits to the city.  Benoit said he also is looking forward to getting to know Huntsville’s citizens. Benoit is married to Micki, a speech-language pathologist, and has two children, a daughter, 12, and a son, 9.

Cottonwood Heights, Utah (population 33,433): John Park, city administrator for Highland City, has been appointed the new city manager for Cottonwood Heights, according to the Cottonwood/Holladay Journal. The city council approved his appointment during their business meeting on Tuesday night. Park will begin his employment on Jan. 7. He will take the position of current city manager Liane Stillman, who is retiring after leading Cottonwood Heights for the eight years of its existence. Park has been Highland’s city administrator since June 2010. Previously, he spent more than 20 years working for the cities of Orem and Tooele in various capacities, including police officer, Director of Building and Development and assistant city manager. He also worked for many years as a business consultant in the private sector.

Wildomar, California (population 32,176): Wildomar’s first city manager, Frank Oviedo, announced Dec. 3 he is resigning to take a job as assistant city manager in the city of Santa Clarita, according to the North County Times. After Wildomar became a city on July 1, 2008, the City Council relied on a consultant to manage affairs until it hired Oviedo, who assumed the position Sept. 1, 2009. In accepting the job in Santa Clarita, Oviedo is moving to a city with a population of about 200,000, more than six times the size of Wildomar. Oviedo earned $179,000 in annual salary in Wildomar. Oviedo, 42, stated in a city news release that he has relatives living in the Santa Clarita Valley, which is situated along Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles. Mayor Ben Benoit praised Oviedo for the quality work he did in guiding the city through some difficult financial times. The release did not say when Oviedo’s last day of work with the city would be and city officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Eureka, California (population 27,191): The Eureka City Council has appointed William T. Panos to serve as City Manager, according to the Humboldt Sentinel.  Mr. Panos brings over three decades experience to the position. Most recently, he was the director of public works for the City of West Sacramento, responsible for overseeing community infrastructure, engineering, public utilities and the Port of West Sacramento.  As a member of the city’s executive and budget teams, Panos directed city financial strategies, government relations and regional partnerships. Mr. Panos was previously the school construction executive for the State of Washington where he directed capital finance, land use policy and local school construction throughout the state.  He was responsible for creating a $600 million annual capital program and oversaw 2.9 million acres of state trust lands. Mr. Panos has also served with local government in Northern Idaho and Los Angeles, as special advisor to the chancellor of the California State University System and as toxics director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mr. Panos’ public sector experience came after a successful career with the TRW Corporation in its defense, space and automotive business operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia.  He was an advisor to President’s Council on Sustainable Development under the Clinton Administration and his work received the TRW Chairman’s Award for Innovation and the prestigious Harvard University-Ford Foundation Award for Innovations in American Government. Mr. Panos is scheduled to start January 1.

Upson County, Georgia (population 27,153): Upson County has a new County Manager, with the Board of Commissioners selecting Jim Wheeless to fill the position that has been vacant for the last two months at the Nov. 27 meeting, according to the Thomaston Times. Wheeless, an Upson County native, currently serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs for Savannah Technical College. However, he stated that he is looking forward to coming home. He will not have to wait for long as Friday marked his last day at Savannah Tech and he started his new role as County Manager on Monday, December 3. Wheeless is no stranger to local government, having served on the Board of Commissioners as well as the Upson County Board of Education and then the Thomaston-Upson County Board of Education after the two school systems merged. He also served in numerous positions at Flint River Technical College including adjunct instructor, Director of Operations, Vice President of Student Affairs, Vice President of Academic Affairs and most recently Acting President prior to the merger with Griffin Tech which formed Southern Crescent Technical College.

Weathersfield, Ohio (population 25,908): Township trustees have named former fiscal officer David Rouan as the new township administrator, starting Jan. 1, according to the Tribune Chronicle. Township Trustee Chairman Steve Gerberry said Tuesday that Rouan was selected from 18 candidates who sought the position. Current administrator David Pugh is retiring. He served the township for many years as both a trustee and administrator. Trustees approved the selection at a special meeting on Monday, with Rouan receiving a three-year contract at $50,000 annually. Rouan had served previously for 22 years as Weathersfield’s clerk / fiscal officer and township zoning inspector. He then worked at the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office with former engineer David DeChristofaro as director of administration. Gerberry said trustees were impressed with Rouan’s experience with budgets, engineering, road work and having worked at both the township and county levels. The administrator position oversees the police, fire, road and zoning departments and the day-to-day operations in the township. Gerberry said while the trustees are sorry to see Pugh leaving after his years to the community they are glad to bring someone to the position who is familiar with the community and the various township departments. Pugh, who has served as administrator since 1996, is among the candidates for the county’s road use maintenance agreement (RUMA) coordinator.

Oak Harbor, Washington (population 22,075): A doctor of philosophy is now officially running the day-to-day operations of the city of Oak Harbor, according to the Whidbey News-Times. The City Council confirmed the mayor’s appointment of Larry Cort as the city administrator during the meeting Tuesday. Cort has been serving as interim city administrator since June. City Council members and the mayor had glowing remarks about Cort, especially regarding his communication abilities. Cort replaces Paul Schmidt, the former city administrator. Dudley fired Schmidt and several other top people in city administration after coming into office in January. The move was criticized by council members, who were upset by the costs associated with severance packages and the lack of leadership at the city. But Tuesday, the council was happy. Cort will earn $133,00 a year, plus benefits. By comparison, Schmidt was making about $145,000 a year, according to Finance Director Doug Merriman. If he’s ever fired, he’ll receive a six-month severance package. Cort has been around the block on Whidbey Island. He grew up on North Whidbey and graduated from Oak Harbor High School. He left the island to pursue a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Exeter in England and a doctorate of philosophy from the University of London. He later returned to Whidbey Island and spent eight years as town planner in Coupeville and then worked for several years as a senior planner in Oak Harbor. He went on to became the planning director in Langley for five years and returned once again to Oak Harbor, becoming project specialist for the public works department.

Highland, Utah (population 15,523): If you are looking for a $90,000 annual starting wage, Highland might have a job for you, according to the Daily Herald. Just a month after the resignation of its city recorder, Highland’s city administrator is leaving too. John Park has accepted a position in Cottonwood Heights, Mayor Lynn Ritchie told the Daily Herald on Wednesday. Park’s resignation was announced to elected officials at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Park told the Daily Herald on Wednesday that he applied for the job after two and a half years in Highland. Living in American Fork, his new job will be a bit of a commute. His greatest challenge as city manager has been navigating the economy. Decreased tax revenues have meant struggling to cover the basics, such as road repair. The loss of the city’s two most important administrators means that the city is working quickly to fill the positions. The window for applications for recorder has just closed, and the city acted immediately to advertise the administrator job, said the mayor. Cottonwood Heights, with 40,000 residents, means Park will now be managing a bit larger city. His resignation is effective on Jan. 3. Interested in the job? A bachelor’s degree in business or public administration is required, and a master’s is preferred, along with 10 years of senior management experience.

Elizabethton, Tennessee (population 14,176): Elizabethton City Manager Fred Edens said that after a lifetime of service to his country, his state and his family, it was time to retire, according to the Johnson City Press. Edens discussed his plans with city staff Nov. 27. Edens is a retired major who served three tours in Vietnam as an enlisted man and he was twice wounded in combat. His tours in Vietnam included service as a member of the 75th Rangers. After retiring from the Army, Edens said he also served his state for six years in child services. His latest service will be for 4 years and 9 months as city manager of Elizabethton when he leaves that post in January. Edens said this retirement is not like the joy he felt when he left the Army. Mayor Curt Alexander said he learned of Edens’ decision over lunch on Nov. 26. Newly elected City Councilman Bob Cable said he had a “fairly long talk” with Edens on Monday afternoon. Cable occasionally was an outspoken critic of Edens when Cable operated a downtown business. Both Cable and Alexander said they thought City Finance Director Jerome Kitchens would be a good choice for interim city manager.

Graham, North Carolina (population 14,153): After nearly a quarter century of working as Graham’s city manager, Chris Rollins will be taking a job in Mebane, according to the Times-News. Rollins will become Mebane’s assistant city manager in January. He has been on Graham’s payroll for 23 years and has served as city manager since 2005. His resignation is effective Dec. 26. After a 66-minute closed session of the Graham council Tuesday night, assistant city manager Frankie Maness was unanimously selected to succeed Rollins and was sworn in as the new city manager with his wife and two daughters at his side. Maness graduated magna cum laude in 1999 from Western Carolina University with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. He received his master of public Affairs, with a concentration in management, in 2001. He received certificates in municipal finance and in municipal administration from the Institute of Government at UNC Chapel Hill.
Maness has been assistant city manager of Graham since October 2005. Before that, he was town manager in Warsaw from 2000 to 2005 and a management
intern in the town of Troy for five months. He is a native of Star in Montgomery County. Rollins is a native of Virginia. The son of a military man, his family had homes in Virginia, Maryland, Texas and twice in Germany. Upon his father’s retirement, his family lived in Goldsboro and Rollins graduated from high school there and then from N.C. State with a degree in civil engineering. He was recruited by then-Graham city manager Ray Fogleman and Mayor Troy Woodard while in college. He was hired as an engineering and administrative assistant under Fogleman. Rollins committed to seeing the project to its fruition and then planned to move on. He liked the city, his co-workers and council, so he stayed on, moving through the ranks to become administrative development director, assistant city manager, and ultimately city manager upon Fogleman’s retirement in March 2005.
Rollins said he is proud of the way the city has survived over the past few years of “hard economic times.” He cited the fact that the city has not had a tax increase during that period, a sign of fiscal responsibility. Rollins also takes pride in the Children’s Museum, which opened this year not far from the city hall. He plans to take that same verve to Mebane, where he will work under city manager David Cheek, with whom he has been friends for many years. Cheek once served as Alamance County Manager, working within a stone’s throw of Graham’s municipal building. Rollins will serve as Mebane’s assistant city manager over public works, planning and zoning and inspections. Rollins said he did not make his choice lightly, but had begun to feel the need for a change. At age 48, he said he was within five or six years of being able to take retirement, and had been thinking about what he wanted to do. Rollins and his family will remain living in their Graham home. Rollins’ current annual salary is $112,321.79 and Maness’ salary of $93,911.01 will be bumped to about $102,000, said Mayor Jerry Peterman.
He will serve a six-month probationary term and his salary can be renegotiated after that.

Guymon, Oklahoma (population 11,442): The Guymon City Council terminated the contract of City Manager Ted Graham effective immediately during the Nov. 29 city council meeting, according to KSCB. The council went into an hour-and-a-half executive session to discuss the city manager’s performance, upon returning to open session, councilman Larry Swager moved to terminate the city manager’s contract effective immediately, which was seconded by William King. Council members Swager, King and Kim Peterson voted yes to terminate the contract, and John Van Meter voted no. Mayor Jim Norris was absent.

Berlin, New Hampshire (population 10,051): The Berlin City Council has begun its search for a replacement for City Manager Patrick MacQueen, who will leave city hall in September 2013 after over a decade of service, according to the Union Leader. The mayor and council won’t be going through the hiring process alone, but will have the assistance of Primex, the New Hampshire Public Risk Management Exchange. The city will advertise the position starting on Jan. 4, 2013, according to MacQueen, with resumes from applicants due Feb. 1. The salary range will be $75,000 to $105,000. The goal is to have a new city manager on board Aug. 1. Mayor Paul Grenier, who is also a Coos County commissioner, said the county used Primex to fill two positions. Carl Weber of Primex said the company does not participate in the interview process, but assists with structuring it and keeping it on track. MacQueen gave the council one year’s notice that he would be stepping down. The city contracts through Municipal Resources Inc. of Meredith for his services. MacQueen has held city manager positions with MRI since 1995. Prior to that was the Keene city manager for 17 years. He has been with Berlin since spring 2002.

Bridgewater, Massachusetts (population 7,841): Former Vineyard Haven town administrator Michael Dutton has been chosen as Bridgewater’s new town manager, and is now working out an agreement to take the helm of the town, according to the Boston Globe. Dutton, expected to start in mid-December, said he admires Bridgewater for its recent decision to change from a selectmen form of government to that of a town council. For Bridgewater, Dutton’s arrival comes at the end of several difficult months that saw the departure of former town manager Troy Clarkson, who had engaged in a power struggle with the Town Council since its nine members took office in January 2011, and a subsequent recall of two councilors. Adding to the list of challenges is the recently announced resignation of the town accountant just as budget season begins, and the need to find offices for town employees displaced from municipal buildings too dilapidated to provide safe space. In an interview Wednesday, Dutton, a lawyer, said he was unfazed by the town’s difficulties. Hiring a top administrator who values long-term planning was named as a high priority by the council. Dutton, who grew up in New York, is an attorney in private practice on Martha’s Vineyard. His municipal government experience consists of five years as Vineyard Haven’s town administrator, from 2006 until 2011. While in the private sector, he spent four years on the senior management team at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, helping to win back public confidence after the hospital had gone through a bankruptcy, and six years as vice president, senior trust officer, and trust counsel for Cape Cod Bank & Trust. Dutton’s introduction to municipal government came as a three-term member of Vineyard Haven’s Board of Selectmen. In 2006, he took the job as administrator, at the urging of some colleagues on the board, he said. While Dutton lacks public administration degrees usually held by town managers, councilors said Tuesday they favored his communication skills, ties to the business community, and proven personnel management ability. Dutton said Wednesday trust and confidence are won gradually by one’s actions. During Tuesday’s discussion, the Town Council didn’t mention a situation in Vineyard Haven that ultimately led to Dutton’s resignation in 2011. Dutton had been admonished by the state attorney general’s office for not following the Massachusetts procurement laws, which require all contracts for more than $5,000 to undergo a bid process. The only comment made Tuesday was by Councilor Paul Sullivan, who warned it would be important for the new town manager to be up-to-speed on procurement requirements. Dutton said Wednesday that the state’s principal point of concern had been over a contract to repair the library’s roof. utton said his mutually agreed upon resignation in Vineyard Haven shortly after the procurement flap was “rooted in politics.” While Dutton will start in Bridgewater later this month, his family won’t move from Vineyard Haven until his son finishes eighth grade in June. His stepdaughter is already in the area, a junior at Bridgewater State University. While Dutton’s salary is under negotiation, the Bridgewater position had been advertised as paying in the low-to-mid $100,000 range. Clarkson was paid about $92,500.

Bridgewater, Massachusetts (population 7,655): By the time Atascadero resident Jim Lewis graduated from high school, he knew he wanted to become a city manager someday in his future, according to the Times Press Recorder. And starting early next year, he will finally get the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong career goal. Lewis, who has served as assistant city manager in Atascadero for the past eight years, will succeed Kevin M. Rice as Pismo Beach city manager, starting Feb. 20. Rice has served as Pismo Beach city manager for the past nine years and will retire at the end of February, handing the reigns over to Lewis, who said he looks forward to helping Pismo become an even more vibrant and financially stable city. Lewis will be paid a base salary of $156,885 a year in Pismo Beach, where he competed against 80 other individuals for the job. Currently, Lewis oversees economic development, human resources, labor relations, technology and special projects for the city of Atascadero. He said he is passionate about public service and committed to building quality and sustainable organizations that serve the public to their best and most efficient ability. That’s not to say, however, that Lewis doesn’t have ideas for helping the city create a more dynamic downtown area using both private and public resources, such as the city of Atascadero has done. He said he looks forward to assisting the city in developing more shopping and dining areas downtown, while building on the businesses already established in the area. In his role as Atascadero’s assistant city manager, Lewis has transformed the city’s downtown core by helping facilitate the construction of a new 10-screen movie theater and several new shops and restaurants and building pride among business owners. Lewis said during his time with Atascadero, and prior to that with the city of Claremont, he helped build a supportive, dedicated and entrepreneurial staff culture focused on offering high customer service to the community, something he plans to continue in Pismo Beach. He also wants to build on the city’s reputation of providing efficient and cost-effective customer service to its residents and business owners. Lewis said he also hopes to strengthen relationships with agencies such as the Coastal Commission. He said he is the type of person where “what you see is what you get,” and that he takes public service very seriously. Lewis served as president of the Municipal Management Association of Southern California in 2001 and currently serves on the Emerging Leaders Task Force for the International City and County Management Association and the ICMA Press Editorial Advisory Board. Additionally, Lewis is one of three ICMA credentialed managers in San Luis Obispo County and serves on the California-ICMA’s Committee on Ethics. He graduated with honors and received a bachelor’s degree in public policy and management from the University of Southern California. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the top-ranked school of government in the nation, the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University. The California native and his wife, Debi, have a 4-year-old daughter, Gracie. They plan to relocate to Pismo Beach after Lewis makes the transition into the role of city manager. In his spare time, Lewis enjoys reading, hiking, biking, winemaking and cooking.

Belding, Michigan (population 5,757): For eight years, the city of Belding has been with the same manager in Randy DeBruine, but on Wednesday, after submitting his letter of resignation to members of city council, the search will now begin for a new leader, according to The Daily News. DeBruine will step down Dec. 28 — 30 days after submitting his letter, as is written in his contract, to accept a new position as the Kent County Sheriff’s administrative officer. In a letter written to city council members, DeBruine thanked all current and previous council members, department heads and city employees for making his eight years as city manager an enjoyable experience. DeBruine said although he is sad to leave a position he has invested much time in, he is excited to start a new chapter of his career with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. DeBruine will be overlooking a department that has more than 600 employees and operates with a $60 million budget. He said he is proud to have held the position of city manager for eight years, citing that the average tenure of a city manager in Belding since 1964 was only 3.9 years. He said he was also pleased to leave his position knowing that “Belding (is) in a very strong financial condition with healthy fund balances and also with cash on hand to undertake four large infrastructure projects in the next three years.” Those four projects include reconstruction of the Main Street bridge, road construction on Washginton Street to Hall Street, road construction on Crawford Street and the pathway project on Main Street between the Alvah N. Library and Ashfield Street bridge. All four projects received grants that were approved, with the exception of the pathway project, although DeBruine said he expects that grant to be approved next week. DeBruine said he is confident the city can continue to move forward, with assistance from those who are already in place to help do so. DeBruine said discussion of his replacement will begin at next Tuesday’s city council meeting. If the council is unable to find a suitable replacement before DeBruine steps down on Dec. 28, current Finance Director Sam Andres will be appointed to the position.

Hyde County, North Carolina (population 5,209): Hyde County commissioners terminated the contract of County Manager Mazie Smith during their meeting on Monday night, according to WCTI. The board voted, 4 to 1 to fire Smith. The firing was one of the first actions taken by the county’s newly-elected board.  Dick Tunnel cast the lone “nay” vote. A news release sent out by the county on Tuesday said the board gave no specific reason for the action, but that “several commissioners cited comments of disapproval from the public regarding Smith’s job.”

Broken Bow, Oklahoma (population 4,120): The Broken Bow City Council met in special session on December 5th, according to the Sandhills Express. The Council approved the City Administrator job description with a few changes. The changes include the fact that the City Administrator must live within the Zoning Jurisdiction, they must have 5 years’ experience and they may not terminate an employee without the Mayor and City Council’s review. The council then went in to closed session and after closed session approved hiring David Varley from Colorado as the new Broken Bow City Administrator. The contract information will be available at a later date.

Fairview, Oklahoma (population 2,579): Fairview City Council met in a special meeting Tuesday to hire a new city manager, according to the Enid News and Eagle. Garfield County native Paul Southwick will step in Jan. 1, 2013, to replace current Fairview City Manager Dale Sides, who is scheduled to retire at the end of the year. Southwick graduated from Garber High School and attended Rose State College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, before embarking on his career in public administration. Southwick’s past work experience includes almost 16 years of service as manager of the Hunter Rural Water District, eight years on the Garber City Council, five years’ service as Garber public works director and five years as a conductor for BNSF. Southwick currently is the city manager for Mangum, in Greer County, where he has served since early 2010. Fairview Vice Mayor Vernon Hoehn said Southwick was selected for the job after a lengthy search process, that attracted applicants from as far away as Vermont and Washington. Hoehn said the quality and range of experience of the applicants “was amazing.” Twenty-nine applicants were screened and narrowed to a pool of 10 that were presented to the full city council. After a vetting process, four applicants, including Southwick, were called in for the final interview process. Hoehn said Southwick’s qualifications earned him a spot in the final four, and his interview quickly drove him to the top. Fairview Mayor Garen Martens said Southwick’s past experience in managing infrastructure projects makes him an ideal selection to meet the city’s needs. Martens said addressing Fairview’s aging water supply system will be a top priority in Southwick’s early tenure. Southwick said he is looking forward to moving to Fairview, where he will be closer to family in Enid and to his farm near Fairmont. He said Fairview’s school system also was a draw. He and his wife Michelle will enroll their children, 16-year-old son Baylor, 17-year-old daughter Danielle and 4-year-old son Cord, after moving to Fairview in January. Southwick said he is looking forward to working for and with the Fairview community. Sides said he doesn’t have any set plans after his retirement in January, but he is planning to stay in Fairview.

Cordova, Alaska (population 2,454): Cordova city manager Mark Lynch and his wife Patty are returning to the lower 48 this month, according to The Cordova Times. Lynch submitted his resignation just before the Thanksgiving holiday, after serving in the position for three years. The Lynchs are headed to Poplar Grove, Illinois, to be closer to their grandchildren. Lynch has accepted a position as village administrator for the community of five thousand. Earlier this week city staff reflecting on Lynch’s tenure in Cordova expressed appreciation for the broad array of expertise he brought to the job and also commented that his wife Patty was very well liked. One of his most notable achievements as city manager is a town-wide clean up of junk cars and scrap metal that littered streets and neighborhoods and clogged up the landfill. Lynch said he had been aware of the problem when he took the job as Cordova City Manager, but when he initially proposed to get the scrap removed at little or not cost to the city, his plan was greeted with skepticism. Nonetheless, drawing on his contacts in the scrap business in Illinois, Lynch knew it could be done. Sure enough, Lynch found a company in Alaska delighted to do just that. Lynch is also credited with working to clean up city code and implementing a new budget process. At the time of his resignation, the city was midway through the budget process. Asked to look out over the challenges with this budget cycle, Lynch says it boils down to a few basic points. Earlier this week, with a moving van parked in their front yard, the couple sat perched amongst packing boxes in their living room. The phone rang non-stop as friends both here in Cordova and the lower 48 called to wish them well or chat with anticipation of their return. In between calls they debated about which items they really wanted to keep, which to pack, which to give away. One prize possession that will not be making the cut is the couple’s Coronet Oceanfarer, a 32-foot power boat equipped with all the comforts of home, it is up for sale.

Advertisements

One thought on “Transitions: San Mateo County, CA; Charles County, MD; Santa Clara, CA and more

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