Transitions: Lee County, FL; Escambia County, FL; Carlsbad, CA and more

Karen B. Hawes

Karen B. Hawes

Lee County, Florida (population 618,754): Lee County soon will be looking for a new county manager, according to the Captiva Current. Karen B. Hawes and the Lee County Commission came to an agreement on an exit strategy for Hawes, who was forced to step down Tuesday, the latest victim of the Medstar medical helicopter service shutdown in August. The Commission voted 4-1 to accept Hawes’ resignation, who said nothing as she quietly picked up her things and left shortly after the vote was rendered. The lone dissenting vote was from Brian Bigelow, who for months has championed for Hawes termination. Bigelow wanted her fired with cause on Tuesday, which would have meant Lee County would not be on the hook for one year’s pay at $170,000, full year’s health insurance, sick and holiday pay and vacation leave boosting the package to more than $250,000. All those items are stipulated on her contract, which she signed upon being named city manager in 2009. The resignation means she will get that contractual severance package under the condition, Commissioner John Manning said, there would be no lawsuit filed by Hawes unless the county disparages her. Manning, who has worked with Hawes since 1985, was sorry to see her go and wished the investigation process had been finished before these events. Hawes’ last day is Oct. 31. The commission will get together next week to determine an interim manager. Manning said they would look internally for that, then begin to look regionally for a full-time replacement. Hawes has been at the center of a controversy involving the Aug. 21 grounding Lee County’s MedStar emergency helicopter service, among other things. Hawes said that Public Safety Director John Wilson and Deputy Public Safety Director Kim Dickerson told her a shutdown of MedStar was necessary to seek a voluntary accreditation. An administrative review revealed the shutdown was necessary after it was found MedStar did not have the proper safety credentials and wrongfully billed patients and an insurer $3 million. In the fallout, Wilson and Dickerson resigned. Also, Hawes’ subordinates were involved in a situation where the Economic Development Office gave a $5 million grant to VR Labs, a health food manufacturer looking to create more than 200 jobs building a bottling plant, but with $4.7 million spent, the company has not fulfilled its duties, Commissioner Frank Mann said. Mann said VR Labs now is in a legal battle with the general contractor hired for its remodeling. Both parties have filed lawsuits over the issue. Mann announced on Oct. 9 that at the following Tuesday’s regular meeting, he was going to make a motion calling for the commissioners to terminate Hawes’ contact as county manager. On Monday, the day before the meeting, Hawes had approached Mann and explained that she might be able to craft an “exit strategy” that would enable her to resign instead.

Escambia County, Florida (population 297,619): The Escambia County Commission has voted to terminate the contract of County Administrator Randy Oliver, according to NorthEscambia.com. Commissioner Grover Robinson made a motion Thursday night, seconded by Marie Young, to retain Oliver for the year remaining on his three-year contract. That motion failed 3-2, effectively terminating Oliver’s contract. During a public evaluation of Oliver’s job performance over the past year, commissioners spoke  very little. Prior to Thursday night’s meeting, each county commissioner had already submitted their own personal written evaluation of Oliver’s job performance. He was given a generally good reviews by Young and Robinson, but numerous issues and shortcomings were raised by commissioners Kevin White, Wilson Robertson and Gene Valentino. Before his termination, Oliver made a presentation that lasted about 40 minutes applauding the accomplishments made by numerous county departments. Then he discussed his own performance and the projects he hoped to champion next year.

Carlsbad, California (population 105,328): Carlsbad City Manager Lisa Hildabrand plans to retire at the end of the year, the city announced late Tuesday, less than a week after Hildabrand began an abrupt leave, according to the North County Times. The announcement came after the night’s regular City Council meeting, where Mayor Matt Hall said Hildabrand’s performance evaluation was discussed earlier in the evening during the council’s closed session. The news release, distributed a few minutes later by the city communications director, said Hildabrand is retiring. It gave no information about what led to her decision. Hildabrand was absent from Tuesday’s meeting and reportedly has not been in her office at City Hall for several days. She started with the city as finance director in 1991 and was named assistant city manager in 2004. Hildabrand became interim city manager when former City Manager Ray Patchett retired in 2007, and was chosen from 55 applicants for the city manager’s job in 2008. Her last day will be Dec. 24, the release states, and the City Council will begin a search to fill the position. Her professional career began in San Diego with the accounting firm of KPMG, where she worked for eight years before coming to Carlsbad. Hildabrand received a 6 percent raise under her existing contract in December, boosting her pay by $13,000 to an annual base salary of $230,492. It was the first raise she had received since taking the job in 2008, and it did not require the City Council’s approval. A 2010 salary survey conducted by the North County Times showed that Hildabrand had one of the lowest salaries for a city manager in North County. Only Vista’s city manager was lower, with a total salary of $218,626. Also discussed in the council’s closed session Tuesday was the performance evaluation for City Attorney Ron Ball. A Carlsbad employee for 26 years, Ball has announced that he plans to retire at the end of this year. The city attorney’s annual base salary was increased in March to $252,992.

Highlands County, Florida (population 98,786): Former assistant county administrator June Fisher took over the job on a full-time basis Wednesday morning, according to the News-Sun. She was vaulted into the position following a vote Tuesday night, when a 4-1 majority of Highlands County commissioners ignored requests to scale back her contract offer in light of a pressing budget year. Commissioner Don Elwell supported the choice of Fisher, but raised a number of concerns ranging from terms of her severance package to her salary. Elwell first questioned a generous 20-week severance package noting it was more than previous administrator Rick Helms. When reminded that there would be one week deducted each year to a total of 10 weeks, Elwell responded that the previous two administrators didn’t last but two years after glowing recommendations for the job. Further, Elwell said his conversations with Fisher indicated that she wished to retire in five or six years. County Attorney Ross Macbeth then added that Fisher would not be entitled to the severance package unless she was terminated without cause as was the case with the two previous administrators. Elwell then suggested commissioners consider a 90-day severance package combined with a provision that the termination of the county administrator require a super-majority – at least four of the five votes on the commission. A consensus of commissioners then agreed they didn’t like Elwell’s suggestion. Fisher’s salary and benefit package was bumped to $116,000 just 18 months ago when she became the assistant county administrator. Elwell asked other commissioners if they might consider just a 10 percent raise. That would have started her at $128,000 annually versus the proposed $139,000 including $5,000 in deferred compensation. The suggestion came with an eye toward phasing in increases over the next few years based on performance. Commissioner Greg Harris was quick to agree with commissioner Ron Handley indicating he was “good with the way it was written.” Elwell’s final suggestion that the contract reference her performance of the duties detailed in the job description also was shot down, with Stewart laughing at the idea that the “CEO of the county,” as she put it, would even need a a job description. Before casting the lone negative vote to name Fisher as county administrator, Elwell emphasized his problem was not with her ability to do the job but in trying to find a balance between fairly compensating the administrator and protecting taxpayer dollars.

Lawton, Oklahoma (population 96,867): A stunning development Tuesday night from Lawton City Hall where the City Council voted to fire City Manager Larry Mitchell, according to KSWO. The vote followed a long debate behind closed doors during executive session, and when the council returned, Mayor Fred Fitch announced that no action was taken.  That’s when Doug Wells made a motion to terminate Mitchell’s contract, effective immediately. The vote was 5-4 to terminate, with Wells, Bill Shoemate, Michael Tenis, Richard Zarle and Rosemary Bellino-Hall voting in favor. After the vote, Mayor Fitch called it unfair.  Councilman George Moses angrily questioned Wells, and called it the most deceitful thing he’d seen the council do.  He also asked for an investigation into whether the other council members had discussed the action before the vote.  Mayor Fitch said he would take it up with the Attorney General Wednesday morning.

Portsmouth, Virginia (population 95,535): Portsmouth City Manager Ken Chandler has resigned in the wake of criticism for his handling of the employment of former Fire Chief Don Horton, according to WVEC. The City Council voted 7-0 to accept his resignation, while granting him one more month on the job and one year of severance pay totaling $192,000. Horton resigned this summer and was receiving a salary under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Then Chandler hired him as the Deputy Director of Emergency Management without notifying Council.  The $98,000-a-year position was not in the budget, council members said. Council heard from Chandler about the issue during Monday night’s work session meeting. After that meeting, Mayor Kenneth Wright said the work session was productive and that additional requested information would be reviewed in a closed session at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. After that, Wright said a decision would be made. Chandler was expected to offer his resignation Tuesday night, with the stipulations that he would continue working for 30 days and receive one year’s pay. Portsmouth resident James Brady was unhappy with the severance package. The assistant city manager is expected to step in while the city searches for a new city manager.

Montibello, California (population 62,500): After years of unstable leadership, officials hope that the selection of Montebello’s first woman city administrator will bring some stability to the city, according to the Whittier Daily News. The City Council on Wednesday selected Montebello’s finance director, Francesca Tucker-Schuyler, to take over as the city’s top executive full-time. Tucker-Schuyler was first appointed as the interim city administrator in May and has worked as the city’s finance director for almost two years. According to the draft contract agreement, Tucker-Schuyler will have an annual salary of $195,000. The council voted a rare 4-0 in support of the selection – bucking its usual trend of divided votes. Only Mayor Frank Gomez – who for months has been calling for the city to hire a permanent city administrator – abstained from the vote. He did not return calls for comment regarding why he abstained. Council members said they selected Tucker-Schuyler because of her extensive knowledge of the city’s finances and helping enhance the city’s cash flow. They credited her with successfully balancing the fiscal 2012-13 budget, navigating the city through four audits by the State Controller’s office and being instrumental in moving the city toward financial recovery. Councilman Art Barajas said Tucker-Schuyler has the qualifications and vision to help the city succeed. Tucker-Schuyler welcomed the new challenge. Montebello has had a revolving door of city managers since former City Administrator Richard Torres, who lead the city for nearly two decades, was fired in 2007. Torres was briefly replaced by interim Administrator Randy Narramore. But then Torres was rehired in January 2008. He then retired in December 2009 and was replaced with Interim City Administrator Nick Pacheco, who was quickly fired after just three weeks on the job. Narramore again played top executive before being fired in 2010. Peter Cosentini then took on the position for a mere seven months before resigning, citing his frustration with the City Council’s progress in addressing the city’s fiscal crisis. Larry Kosmont then served as Montebello’s top administrator for nine months before also resigning earlier this year. He was then followed by Interim Assistant City Administrator Keith Breskin, who resigned in May after coming to a head with council members over how to balance the city’s budget. In all, there have been seven temporary replacements in charge of managing the city in the past five years. The city did not recruit for the position, officials said. City officials said they plan to hire a full-time finance director in Tucker-Schuyler’s place.

Lake Elsinore, California (population 51,821): Grant Yates, a veteran municipal employee working for Temecula, will be Lake Elsinore’s next city manager, the City Council decided this week, according to the North County Times. The City Council selected Yates on Tuesday from among seven finalists for the position, which became available with the firing of Bob Brady on March 13. Yates said in an interview Wednesday that the job attracted him because of what he views as a dynamic future for the city as it emerges from the economic downturn. The executive search conducted by a city-hired consultant attracted more than 70 applicants, Mayor Brian Tisdale said. The decision to go with Yates came in an earlier meeting Tuesday closed to the public because it involved a personnel decision. The mayor said the decision was unanimous among the five council members. He said Yates’ knowledge of the region and the success he had in Temecula were among the reasons he was selected. Yates is expected to start the job Nov. 19 after the council finalizes terms of his contract in its Nov. 13 meeting, City Clerk Virginia Bloom said Wednesday. Details of the contract will not be released to the public until then, she said. Brady had been making $185,000 a year plus benefits when he was let go. Yates, 48, works for Temecula as its community relations director after having served as its deputy city manager. He was promoted to that position in 2006 after working as assistant to the city manager. He started with Temecula in 1991 in financial services, according to information provided by Lake Elsinore officials. Before coming to Temecula, Yates worked with the city of Carlsbad from 1987 to 1991 as its employment services manager. While those cities have their own set of attributes, Yates said Lake Elsinore, with its prized lake and reputation for extreme sports, has its unique attractions. The Lake Elsinore position opened up after the City Council voted 3-2 in March to oust Brady in a move that stirred up public unrest. While Brady was popular among many residents, council members Daryl Hickman, Melissa Melendez and Peter Weber voted to get rid of him, saying the city had failed to progress as quickly as it should have during his seven-year tenure. Tisdale and Councilman Bob Magee opposed the move, saying they believed Brady had done a good job of guiding the city through difficult economic circumstances. Following Brady’s departure, Lake, Parks and Recreation Director Pat Kilroy served as acting city manager until the council brought in former city of Riverside executive Tom Evans as interim city manager in late April.

Newburgh, New York (population 29,801): Four days after Newburgh City Manager Richard Herbek was stopped in his car with a woman he said was a heroin addict, he has quit, according to the Mid-Hudson News. Herbek told Mayor Judy Kennedy on Sunday that he was resigning. After the traffic stop last Wednesday, Herbek told MidHudsonNews.com that he was helping her kick the drug habit and that he was offering her counseling.  The following day, Kennedy said Herbek would have decisions to make, but she did not elaborate. Herbek’s contract with the city was set to expire in January and there were mixed views by city council members as to if he should be re-upped.

Butts County, Georgia (population 23,655): After having served 10 months in the position on an interim basis, J. Michael Brewer was elevated to the role of county administrator on Monday, according to the Jackson Progress-Argus. Butts County commissioners made the appointment in a 4-1 vote during a special called meeting, with District 3 Commissioner Mike Patterson voting in opposition. The county administrator’s position had been vacant since the December 2011 departure of Alan E. White, who had held the job since 2009, simultaneously serving as director of the county’s development authority. He resigned both positions at the end of last year. Since White’s resignation, Brewer, who has been deputy county administrator since 2007, had been serving on an interim basis in the top job. The appointment Monday came after an hour of discussion among commissioners in a closed-door executive session, which Brewer was not a part of. In making the appointment, commissioners noted it was contingent on the county attorney’s review of Brewer’s proposed contract, a draft of which was not immediately made available Monday night. Brewer, 46, a Butts County native and a longtime county employee, noted before the Board of Commissioners retired for a second executive session that he had not yet agreed to the contract. Before making the motion to tap him for the top job, District 2 Commissioner Robert L. Henderson, Sr., said he’d been pleased with Brewer’s performance. After successfully blocking discussion of the county administrator’s position from being added to the commission’s agenda earlier this month, Patterson again on Monday attempted to block the appointment, offering a motion to table the discussion. The motion died for lack of a second. Patterson said he wanted 30 days to revisit the idea of a search committee to find candidates for the position, and to review Brewer’s proposed contract. He also openly questioned the existence of the proposed contract. Commission Chairman Roger McDaniel responded that the contract was a starting point for discussions. Contract negotiations had been a stumbling block with the county commission’s previous pick for county administrator. After naming a sole finalist for the job in January, officials ultimately were unable to reach a deal with the prospect. McDaniel said Monday that commissioners decided then to maintain the status quo for a while with Brewer as interim, in part to save money, but added that the workload “put us in a position we need to, sometime in the very near future, fill the position of administrator.” Commissioners also informally signaled approval of a plan McDaniel described to re-fill the vacant position of county controller, a position overseeing county finances and investments, rather than filling the position of deputy county administrator that Brewer would be vacating. District 4 Commissioner Keith Douglas, who seconded the motion to appoint Brewer, noted he’d also been happy with Brewer’s performance, and wished to move forward.

Morrisville, North Carolina (population 18,576): Town Manager John Whitson is leaving Morrisville after nine years at the helm of the town’s day-to-day operations, according to The Cary News. Whitson has accepted a job as city manager of Texarkana, Texas. While Whitson, 63, has received positive job-performance reviews and two pay raises in the past 12 months, Texas has a lure that Morrisville can’t offer: family and hometown roots. Whitson said he wants to be closer to his daughter, who lives in Oklahoma. And his new job is about 120 miles from his hometown of Soper, Okla. Since Whitson has more than 20 years of service in North Carolina, he is officially retiring from the state system. He started in the Forsyth County town of Lewisville in 1992 as the community’s first town manager. Whitson’s last day in Morrisville is Dec. 14. The council will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the historic Christian Church to talk about the search for an interim manager. Since Whitson was hired in Morrisville in 2003, he has been credited with saving the town money through a water-sewer utility merger with Cary, and also expanding the town’s borders. Mayor Jackie Holcombe said Whitson’s leadership style has led to a culture of staff empowerment.

Washington, Illinois (population 15,134): Tim Gleason is Washington’s new city administrator, according to the Journal Star. City Council members Monday approved Gleason’s contract, which will pay him an annual salary of $98,000. His first day of employment will be Nov. 5. State law limits Gleason’s contract length to April 30, 2013, when Washington Mayor Gary Manier’s term expires. At that time, Gleason and the city can negotiate a contract renewal. Gleason replaces interim city administrator Bob Morris, who retired July 31. Morris retired as city administrator in June 2011 but returned to his former job on an interim basis in September 2011, one month after Richard Downey resigned following just seven weeks with the city. Downey would have been paid $100,000 annually. Gleason said he wasn’t concerned that he went into the city’s hiring process without city government experience. He has extensive experience in law enforcement. He was a member of the Pekin Police Department from 1989 to 2010, retiring as a lieutenant. Among his duties in Pekin were field training supervisor, firearms instructor, officer in charge of the Investigation Unit, and labor negotiator for Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 105. He’s been working in management for the state since leaving Pekin, most recently as head of the human resources and management operations divisions of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development. Gleason earned a bachelor’s degree in management with a minor in labor from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 1995, and a master’s degree in public administration with a graduate certificate in collective bargaining from the university in 2007. He and his wife, Becky, live in Morton. They have five children, with daughters ages 8 and 17 still at home. While his new contract doesn’t require Gleason to move to Washington, he said he plans to do so.

Archuleta County, Colorado (population 12,084): Greg Schulte, Archuleta County administrator since 2008, has announced his resignation and move to a position in California, according to the Pagosa Springs Sun. Schulte said Nov. 16 will be his last day on the job for Archuleta County. He will take a position as assistant county administrator for San Luis Obispo County, in California. That county has 2,400 employees and a yearly budget just short of a half billion dollars. Schulte and his wife have a long relationship with San Luis Obispo, he said. Schulte attended high school and college in the area and he and his wife once resided there. Schulte said he believes he is leaving a county ready to face the future, on solid terms. Commission chair Clifford Lucero reacted to Schulte’s resignation, which the administrator delivered to the commissioners at a Tuesday meeting. Lucero said a process for selecting a replacement will be announced soon.

Reedsport, Oregon (population 4,154): Jonathan Wright, 39, started as city manager last week, a month after the City Council voted unanimously to offer him the job, according to News Right Today. He will receive an annual salary of $75,000, while working to turn around the economy of the 4,000-resident city. Wright has been a county administrative planner since 2005 and the county’s liaison to Reedsport since 2007. In addition to county government experience, Wright owns a construction business and served in the military.

Argyle, Texas (population 3,282): The Argyle Town Council named a town manager Tuesday and appointed Mayor Matt Smith to fulfill the town manager duties until that man starts next month, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. The council named Charles West as town manager in a 3-2 vote. Smith said after negotiating a contract with West, the council is expected to finalize the hire Nov. 13. Smith said West will start in about 30 days. Despite pleas from council member Joey Hasty for unanimity, Bonny Haynes and Peggy Krueger voted against the appointment, saying a second applicant might have been a better fit for the town. During an executive session Tuesday, the council interviewed two applicants who were picked by a search firm as the most qualified for the position. Haynes said the second applicant, whose name was not released, had more experience as a town manager. Hasty made three motions for Haynes and Krueger to reconsider their votes in an attempt to produce a unanimous vote. Hasty said the council should be united in its decision to hire an official who will help make the town more efficient. Hasty said West is more than qualified, adding that the new manager will help get the town in order and that the town has lacked leadership since losing its town manager in the spring. During an Aug. 28 meeting, council members voted 3-2 to end the contract between the last interim town manager, Rod Hogan, before finding a replacement. Council members who voted for the termination said the interim town manager did not live up to the council’s expectations. Smith said Hogan’s termination was a sum of many issues he felt illustrated unsatisfactory leadership. Hogan was hired to replace former Town Manager Lyle Dresher, who resigned March 26 after five years on the job. After Hogan’s termination, Smith said he felt confident in town employees’ ability to manage their respective departments. However, since Dresher’s retirement and Hogan’s termination, council members have noted that town employees have been tasked with heavier loads. So, the council voted 3-2 to appoint Smith as interim town manager without pay. Council members Hasty, Joan Delashaw and David Wintermute voted for Smith’s appointment, while Haynes and Krueger voted against it. The council moved to open session to appoint Smith at about 5:20 p.m., despite the open session being scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Haynes described the appointment as a fox watching the hen house. Smith said the appointment was necessary because in the absence of a town manager he has been tasked with the responsibilities anyway. Town attorney Matthew Boyle said the appointment was appropriate because the mayor is the executive officer of the town and because he received a majority vote from the council. Boyle said the action did not give Smith the authority to act independently of the Town Council. A spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office cited several points of law, including one that forbids a town from appointing a council member to a position like town manager, but he would not say whether he believed the town’s action Tuesday violated that law. It was not clear whether that law applied to Smith since he will be unpaid.

Lincoln, Maine (population 2,884): The town manager in Lincoln is out after only a few months on the job, according to the Bangor Daily News. The town council voted 6-0 at a special meeting Thursday night to terminate the contract of Bill Reed, who was still on his six-month probationary period after being hired in June. Councilors did not give a reason for firing Reed, but council chairman Steve Clay said it was not related to the recent discovery of some $1.5 million in accounting errors in the last two town budgets. Clay told the Bangor Daily News that Reed just wasn’t a good fit. Police Chief William Lawrence was appointed to serve as interim town manager until a permanent replacement is hired.

Cologne, Minnesota (population 1,519): After several months of closed meetings, during which Cologne City Administrator John Douville was placed on leave three separate times, the city council voted 4-1 to fire Douville during a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10, according to the Waconia Patriot. As evidenced by councilor Matt Lein’s vote against the termination, however, the decision was not unanimous, and Douville himself said he felt the actions taken by the council were inappropriate. Lein agreed, at least in part. A summary statement from the council listed 17 reasons for the termination of Douville, who had been employed with the city since 2004. Among them were ineffective working relationships with certain co-workers, engaging in retaliatory conduct against certain employees who complained about his conduct, and engaging in conduct that threatened, intimidated, or coerced other employees and a council member. Also included were a repeated refusal or failure to follow the city’s directives, substantially disregarding the city’s interests in performing job duties on several occasions, destruction of city property without the council’s consent, “questionable activities” involving a city-issued laptop, and a failure to provide administrative supervision to the council’s satisfaction. Douville disputed those findings. The expenses for the city to obtain legal guidance through the process, which included no fewer than nine closed meetings in August through October, have added up rapidly. The city budgeted $3,500 for legal expenses for this year, but has already paid $33,000 to the Melchert, Hubert and Sjodin law firm. Douville, however, said those expenses could have been avoided, or at least reduced. Without an administrator in place, Mayor Bernie Shambour said that city administrative workers will be under close supervision from the city’s personnel committee, consisting of Shambour, and councilor Jill Skaaland. While the end of the year can be a critical time with budget setting and the election this fall, Shambour said the city is in relatively good shape as the personnel committee prepares to recruit and interview applicants. At the council meeting Monday evening, however, Shambour acknowledged that he was a little nervous about setting water and sewer rates for 2013, something he said Douville was very good at during his eight-year tenure. Council members will work with remaining city staff to set those fees while the administrator search is underway. The council plans to check with the League of Minnesota Cities for candidates, as well as advertise locally. Shambour said it would be preferable to find a local candidate with knowledge of the area and the local culture. The objective of the personnel committee is to hire a new city administrator by the end of December. Lein said one of his reasons for voting against Douville’s termination was the shuffle that would ensue to make sure all the city’s needs were covered. The strain will be exacerbated by the recent departure of the city’s public utilities supervisor, a position the council is still working to fill. To help bridge the gap until new employees can be hired, the council approved an extension in working hours to remaining public works and office staff during the Monday meeting. Other considerations now on the minds of city officials and remaining employees include assembling a crew for snow plowing this winter and getting the city’s fall newsletter completed and sent to the production in time for distribution.

Transitions: Charlotte, NC; Savannah, GA; Goodyear, AZ and more

Curt Walton

Curt Walton

Charlotte, North Carolina (population 1,758,038): Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton is planning to retire at the end of the year, according to multiple city officials, according to WCNC. Walton, who was named manager in 2007 when Pam Syfert retired, led the city through the economic downturn mostly unscathed. He made a number of small cuts to balance the city’s budget, but the city was able to avoid large reductions that other cities nationwide had to face. Earlier this year, Walton unveiled an ambitious $926 million capital plan that would have invested in the city’s low-income neighborhoods. But the plan failed to get council support and hasn’t been enacted yet. The City Council is now trying again to pass a capital improvement program. Walton was picked by council members in 2007 over Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble and former Assistant City Manager Keith Parker, who now heads up the transit system in San Antonio.

Savannah, Georgia (population 186,236): The half dozen or so Savannah-Chatham police officers proved unnecessary Thursday, according to the Savannah Morning News. A subdued audience of about three dozen filled Savannah City Council chambers for a special meeting to determine the fate of City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney. Her official tenure ended with little of the turmoil associated with her 18 months of management and with none of the vocal protest that punctuated the last week after Mayor Edna Jackson had asked for her resignation. After a 90-minute executive session, Jackson resumed the public meeting by stating she had received Small-Toney’s written resignation about 8:30 that morning. Three times, Jackson invited anyone who wanted to speak to come to the microphone. Only one woman did, and her final question to council was one they had wrestled with, publicly and privately, for weeks: “Is there any way that this could have been avoided?” The time for that question had passed, though. In two quick votes, council members accepted the resignation and appointed Assistant City Manager Stephanie Cutter as acting city manager. The vote on resignation was 6-3, with staunch Small-Toney supporters John Hall, Estella Shabazz and Mary Osborne voting against. The vote for Cutter was unanimous. Under the charter, she can serve for three months before council needs to name a replacement or extend her service. Mayor Pro Tem Van Johnson and Alderman Tony Thomas echoed the assessment that council need not rush a search for a replacement. Jackson, initially one of Small-Toney’s strongest supporters, admitted it was a difficult time for all involved. She thanked Small-Toney for her five years of city service, and later said the decision was not meant to hurt her but needed to come because “this fit was not for her at this time.” Johnson regretted the outcome, but saw little other choice. Shabazz, Hall and Osborne had all acknowledged the mismanagement rippling through city departments, and Shabazz and Osborne had asked some of the more pointed questions during council reviews. What they could not support was removing Small-Toney without giving her more time to correct problems. The city manager was reprimanded Aug. 31 after revelations about her failure to adhere to travel policy and a Purchasing Department overrun with payment problems. Council asked for immediate improvement. They stipulated that within 90 days they would provide her a comprehensive evaluation of her performance. Other missteps, though, quickly followed, including a letter that threatened Cutter with termination if she could not address problems in the Purchasing Department. Current and former Purchasing employees say that though their department fell under Cutter’s supervision, Small-Toney had direct involvement and allowed Cutter no decision making. On Sept. 26, in a special work session, a majority of council supported the mayor’s request for the city manager’s resignation. Hall opposed it then as he did Thursday. Hall does not believe the divided vote will have a lingering effect for council, and by the end of the regular meeting a relaxed banter, missing for weeks, had returned. Thomas also believes the full council is ready to return to issues other than day-to-day management of the city. He and other council members had called for, and were assured by Incoming City Attorney Brooks Stillwell, that an audit of funds would occur and that such a step was a normal practice anytime a chief executive officer left an organization. The satisfaction in seeing Cutter named acting city manager was immediate. Council members, employees and residents credit her with being fair, honest and hard-working. Cutter, 55, has been a city employee for 23 years. She rose through the ranks, first as a budget analyst, later as director of the Sanitation Department and for the last two years serving as an assistant city manager. For the last year, she has overseen the bureaus of Management Services and Community and Economic Development. She’s a Savannah native, grew up in Liberty City and graduated from Windsor Forest High School and what was then Savannah State College. She does not want the city manager’s job on a permanent basis. Even in Sanitation, known as one of the more rough-and-tumble, demanding city departments, she earned widespread respect for balancing her expectation that the job get done well with her fairness toward employees. Lamonica Golden, an equipment operator in Sanitation, recalled an incident years ago when a distraught employee wasn’t sure how she could get her handicapped daughter to a special school and keep her work schedule. Cutter rearranged the woman’s schedule so she would be able to take her daughter to school. No one, Golden said, should mistake Cutter’s soft-spoken tone with an inability to lead. In her letter of resignation, Small-Toney stated the terms of her departure. She will receive six months’ pay and, as any employee would, credit for accrued vacation pay. She may be entitled to more pay than she realizes. In a letter dated March 2012, Jackson outlined Small-Toney’s compensation plan approved by the new council. It included a 2 percent salary increase retroactive to January. City staff, including the Clerk of Council and Human Resources, never got a copy of that letter, and Small-Toney’s pay throughout this year remained at $190,575. It should have been $194,386. At that rate, her six months’ pay would be $97,193. Bret Bell, the city’s spokesman, said no one could immediately explain why the raise hadn’t taken effect, but it would be researched. Small-Toney also notified the mayor she would schedule a time to return all city property she has and would vacate her office in five days.

Goodyear, Arizona (population 66,275): The Goodyear City Council on Monday unanimously appointed Brian Dalke the permanent city manager, according to the Arizona Republic. Dalke has filled the position on an interim basis since March after former City Manager John Fischbach abruptly resigned. Dalke will earn $178,760 per year, plus benefits, to run a city with 66,309 residents. His contract runs through Dec. 31, 2013, the maximum time allowable under the city charter. Dalke’s base salary appears to be in line with those of other area city managers. In Avondale, a city of 77,518, City Manager Charlie McClendon earns $183,882 annually. Buckeye Town Manager Stephen Cleveland’s annual salary is $140,200. Buckeye has 61,649 residents. In Glendale, a city of 230,482, interim City Manager Horatio Skeete makes $208,450 annually. Under Dalke’s contract: The city will make an annual contribution to Dalke’s retirement plan that is equal to 10 percent of his salary. Dalke will receive 80 hours of executive leave, 96 hours of sick time and 160 hours of vacation each year. He can accrue as much as 320 hours of vacation and is eligible to accrue an unlimited amount of sick leave. The city manager will get a $400 per month automobile allowance, in addition to the same disability, health and life insurance granted to other city management employees. City leaders say they have high expectations. The City Council wants Dalke to focus on economic development that will create jobs and attract businesses that support existing industries within the city. He is also tasked with completing a strategic plan for the city and conducting an employee compensation study. Since Fischbach’s departure, several new managers have been hired to lead city departments. The Community Development and Economic Development departments were merged into a single Development Services Department. The new department includes the Building Safety Division, which is currently under the Fire Department. The moves allowed the city to reduce the number of department directors from three to one. The changes will lower salary costs and help Goodyear gear up for the next wave of growth, Dalke said. Dalke will run a city where only 10 percent of the land is developed. Goodyear is in discussions to land a couple of new companies by the end of 2012, he said. He declined to name them, but Dalke said the city will cultivate businesses in industries compatible with the F-35 pilot-training mission announced for Luke Air Force Base. Dalke said that he will run a transparent and efficient city and that he is interested in saving residents’ tax dollars. For example, when the city reduced bulk trash pickup from twice a month to once a month, it saved $300,000, he said. He said will also concentrate on improving quality of life for residents. The City Council on Monday appointed 24 residents to serve on the Goodyear 2025 General Plan Committee. They will work for 18 months on a long-range plan that must be ratified by voters before July 1, 2015. Before he was appointed, Mayor Georgia Lord thanked Dalke. It’s challenging to be in an interim position under difficult circumstances, she said. Fischbach resigned March 19 after a closed-door session with council members. The two sides agreed to part ways after a three-month performance review. Council members were concerned that emerging issues were not being handled according to expectations.

Flower Mound, Texas (population 64,669): After weeks of speculation, the Flower Mound Town Council unanimously voted to fire Town Manager Harlan Jefferson on Monday in a special meeting, according to the Carrollton Leader. Jefferson, who has been the town manager since 2006, was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 22 during a special meeting. His contract was set to expire in October 2015. Chuck Springer, the town’s chief financial officer and assistant town manager, will remain the interim town manager until a permanent one is found. Jefferson was not at Monday’s meeting. Jefferson will receive 22 months severance per the terms of his contract, though an exact figure was not disclosed. According to his contract, Jefferson made an annual salary of $187,995. The contract states that if Jefferson is involuntarily terminated, he would be entitled to a severance equal to the total base salary, as well as “all accrued leave and town benefits, including but not limited to health insurance, vacation leave, sick leave and exempt leave.” The money will come from the town’s general fund, which Mayor Tom Hayden said currently sits at $9.6 million. Hayden said that at Jefferson’s request, the town has agreed to a mutual confidentiality provision as part of the formal settlement. While Hayden would not elaborate Monday on reasons for the council’s action, he did address the situation at the Oct. 1 council meeting. Later that week and before Monday’s vote, Hayden discussed a new direction. At the Sept. 22 meeting, Jefferson’s attorney, Don Colleluori, said Jefferson understands that it is the council’s right to terminate his contract, but he said Jefferson had not been given the opportunity to address any concerns the council had of him. Since then, sources have refuted that claim, citing several instances when Jefferson was aware of concerns. Among those were discussions at the town council strategic planning session and a council work session following the election in which the council outlined goals and discussed a desire to change the town’s direction in certain areas, including the working relationship the town has with developers. Colleluori also acknowledged the developer surveys in which area developers gave low marks to the town’s processes. But Colleluori said those processes are set by the council and that the town manager only enforces those. Others, however, have said the town manager has the right to make exceptions to help in the development process and that Jefferson did not. When asked last week if he agrees with Colleluori’s sentiment, Hayden pointed to the Oct. 1 meeting when David Watson of Direct Development discussed the issues his firm has had with the town when working on Cross Timbers Village. The development, located near the intersection of FM 1171 and Bruton Orand Boulevard, will include Tom Thumb, as well as two other buildings. Per the development agreement, landscaping was required to be installed around the property’s perimeter before a certificate of occupancy would be approved. Watson said his firm requested that the landscaping around the two buildings be allowed to be installed after the construction of the buildings since it would have to be torn up anyway during construction. Watson said the town staff denied that request, causing a delay in the project and adding extra cost. Watson also said his firm had to pull 33 permits for this project, noting that a similar project in Wylie has only required one permit. Watson also said the town required signatures from the owners of all property the construction crew had been on to verify that they left the property in good condition. Watson said that was a last-minute surprise and another hassle. Hayden said there have been several other instances in Flower Mound recently similar to what Watson described. Hayden said the search for a permanent town manager will begin immediately.

Hanford, California (population 53,967): The council is expected to appoint a new city manager and discuss an employment contract, according to the Hanford Sentinel. At the previous meeting, City Attorney Bob Dowd named Coalinga City Manager Darrel Pyle as the top candidate for the job. Pyle is expected to begin in late November or early December. It’s not know how much Pyle will be paid. Former City Manager Hilary Straus was paid $160,000 per year.

Bryan County, Georgia (population 31,377): Only moments after the Bryan County Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of current County Administrator Phillip Jones during their meeting at the Bryan County Administrative Complex Tuesday, they voted unanimously to name south Bryan resident Ray Pittman as his successor, according to the Savannah Morning News. Pittman and William (Jason) Tinsley, the current Assistant County Administrator/Finance Director for Habersham County, had been named as the two finalists for the job on Sept. 18. The original field of 25 candidates was screened and charted by Jones, who presented them to the commissioners as a list. According to Jones, he, County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed, and Commissioners Carter Infinger and Jimmy Henderson participated in either all or some of the interviews. Jones added that because it is often difficult to get all the commissioners together at one time, interviews for department head positions in the Bryan County government are commonly conducted by a committee which then makes its recommendations to the entire board. There is no requirement for the entire board to interview candidates he said. However, any commissioner who wishes to participate can. However, if they all do, or enough to make a quorum do, a meeting would have to be called. Pittman has worked for Thomas and Hutton Engineering in Savannah for 27 years as an engineer and is a principal in the organization. He has an extensive background in sewer and water design/construction and has lived in Bryan County since 1986. He also chaired the committee that developed the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the SPLOST and TSPLOST committees. Jones’ resignation becomes effective Dec. 31 of this year.

Garden City, Michigan (population 27,692): In a split decision, Garden City Council voted 4-3 last Monday evening to fire City Manager Darwin McClary, according to the Observer & Eccentric. Councilman Jim Kerwin made the motion, supported by Joanne Dodge. Councilmen David Fetter and Councilmen George Kordie also voted to terminate McClary. The vote was a mirror image of a vote in August to suspend the city manager. There wasn’t a collective reason for firing McClary although Fetter listed a number of his personal gripes that have accumulated through time. Fetter said that what the community sees McClary is just a sliver of himself. Fetter took issue with the first-time lighting assessment and that while the city administration said that the fee will not go up, the plans are now to increase it this year which he won’t support. Employees, who earlier negotiated raises, went to the city manager and on their own said that they would give up their raises but got a slow response. Fetter acknowledged that contract concessions were made. Fetter also complained that both he and Kordie asked if public informational meetings about the 3.5-mil police and fire millage, which passed in May, would be held prior to the election. Kordie said that when he did the math on evaluations, McClary was consistently below average. Kordie also said he couldn’t obtain information about grievances. He wanted to know when a grievance was about to go to arbitration because that costs the city money. He said that he also hasn’t been able to get satisfactory answers to citizen complaints. He added that if the council hadn’t pushed to only close city hall one day rather than two days a week the change would not have happened. Councilwomen Patricia Squires and Jaylee Lynch responded that they hadn’t heard some of the prior concerns before. The council is responsible for establishing policy and procedures and for passing budgets and only has two meetings a month, Lynch said. Lynch called the situation “unfortunate.” She noted that McClary’s assistant’s position was eliminated and he has less help. Walker called McClary’s firing a major decision. Walker, too, added that there were topics he hears which were not brought up to him before. After the vote, McClary, who received hugs from people in attendance, said that he was still trying to synthesize council’s criticisms and wished that these things had been brought up to him prior to the public hearing. He said earlier that evening that the “council and the administration have to work together for the benefit of the city.” Garden City Planning Commissioner Harriette Batchik considered McClary extremely knowledgeable about ordinances and state laws. For all McClary has done, it will take a lot of time for a new person to come up to speed, she said. Resident Kerry Partin was angry at the decision. Al Buckner, a Garden City resident who didn’t support McClary, said the amount of people who showed up at the meeting didn’t represent the public’s true feelings. He added that while the city will have to pay McClary six months of pay in his severance package, the city will save money later. He pointed out that Acting City Manager Robert Muery is only receiving $35 a day extra over his police chief salary. Buckner called the people who came to support McClary, “friends of the mayor.” Garden City Council didn’t discuss next steps after some council members voted to fire McClary. When Garden City Manager David Harvey left for another job, the council interviewed three candidates who were screened from a list of about 13 candidates. They hired McClary who first worked as an interim city manager for six months for the city. A formal candidate search was never conducted.

Greenfield, California (population 16,330): Greenfield appointed a new city manager on Tuesday who was fired as city manager in two Florida cities and spurred a national debate on transgender identity, according to KSBW. Susan Ashley Stanton, formerly named Steve Stanton, was the city manager of Largo, Fla., for 17 years until media outlets reported that she was going to undergo a sex change. In 2006, Steve Stanton was a 48-year-old man who was married, a father of a 13-year-old son, and a city manager in charge of 1,000 Largo employees. In January 2007, Stanton privately told the mayor and other top city officials that she wanted to become a woman. But an uproar by Largo residents and religious leaders ensued when Stanton was outed by an article published by the St. Petersburg Times, and Largo’s City Commission voted to terminate Staton’s employment just days after. Stanton had a $15,000 gender-reassignment surgery and changed her legal name soon after she was fired in Largo. She later became city manager in Lake Worth, Fla., where she worked from 2009 until she was abruptly fired last December. During Greenfield’s City Council meeting on Tuesday night, council members are expected to appoint Stanton to the post and give her a city-owned house in Greenfield. Greenfield Interim City Manager Brent Slama and Mayor John Huerta declined to comment on the city’s decision to hire Stanton.

Whitewater, Wisconsin (population 14,390): Whitewater’s new city manager, Cameron Clappper, said he is confident he can continue successes and projects handed down from his predecessor, according to the The Janesville Gazette. Clapper’s top priorities include the city’s annual budget and economic development. Cannon has decades of experience in local government, including serving as city administrator in Sun Prairie. Beyond the budget and economic development, Clapper said he wants to continue a tradition of open and transparent government and show that Whitewater city government continues to look for ways to be more efficient without degrading essential services. Whitewater city employees have cooperated in the thinning process, Clapper said, and that needs to be recognized. Clapper said he intends to work for and with the community.

Powder Springs, Georgia (population 13,940): The Powder Springs City Council on Monday switched the role of Brad Hulsey—who served as the city’s mayor for four years—from interim city manager to the long-term position, according to the WestCobbPatch. Hulsey beat out roughly 50 initial applicants and two other finalists: Raymon Gibson, who most recently served as city administrator for the city of Stockbridge for a year; and Terry Todd, whose most recent job was the city manager for the city of Palmetto for four years. The appointment—which comes with a $104,000 annual salary—was made on a 4-1 vote, with Councilwoman Nancy Hudson against, the Marietta Daily Journal reports. She declined to elaborate on her vote to the paper after the meeting. Hulsey was making $72,000 in the interim role, which he started after leaving his insurance business Brad A. Hulsey & Associates. There, as president and CEO over eight sales agents, he made $48,000 a year—meaning his salary has more than doubled in less than a year. Wizner said the choice will likely be followed by criticism because of the job description’s qualifications: “bachelor’s degree in public administration or related field; master’s degree in public administration preferred; eight years of increasingly responsible experience in municipal or county government, including five years in a senior management role; or equivalent combination of education and local government experience.” Hulsey has a high school diploma, took classes from Floyd Junior College and Georgia State University, and his government experience includes being a Rockmart councilman, Powder Springs councilman (1996-99) and mayor (2000-04), and the city’s interim city manager since February. Gibson has a master’s in business administration from Columbia Southern University, and his government experience includes Stockbridge’s city administrator and assistant city manager, and Henry County Department of Planning & Zoning’s director, assistant director, planner and chief planner. Todd has a master’s in business administration from the University of West Florida, and his government experience includes Palmetto’s city manager; a program director for government service provider CH2M Hill; Fulton County’s deputy county manager and public works director; and the director of the Growth Management Department, director of the Environmental Resources Management Department, and a Public Works Department engineer for Escambia County, Florida. Wizner pointed to the job description phrase “equivalent combination of education and local government experience” and noted that “the ultimate authority on qualifications for city manager is the City Charter section 2.27 that states, ‘The mayor and city council shall appoint a city manager for an indefinite term and shall fix his compensation. The manager shall be appointed solely on the basis of his executive and administrative qualifications and shall serve at the pleasure of the mayor and council.'” In his seven months as interim city manager, Hulsey “has done an oustanding job,” Wizner wrote. That job has included, among other things, balancing the fiscal 2013 budget. Meanwhile, Wizner said, “he took employee moral that was very low and turned it around. He has been active in the community and responsive to citizen’s concerns and issues. He has worked with the department heads to provide the best services for the city of Powder Springs.” The former city manager, Rick Eckert, resigned in mid-February after nearly two years with the city but received his full pay through the end of May as a consultant.

Waverly, Iowa (population 9,874): The Waverly City Council has extended an offer to Iowa native Philip Jones to serve as its next city administrator, according to the WCF Courier. If negotiations are finalized between Jones and the city, his contract may to approved as early as tonight. The Waverly City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Jones serves as utilities operations manager for Westminster, Colo., a city of 108,000 people. In that capacity, he leads 89 people and oversees an operating budget of $14.7 million and a capital budget of $2.3 million, according to Jones’ application. The Waverly council unanimously agreed to offer Jones the job after a multi-day interview process that included public and executive session meetings with finalists on Friday and Saturday. The city hired executive search firm Brimeyer Fursman LLC to help find a replacement for Waverly City Administrator Dick Crayne, who is set to retire Dec. 1. Brimeyer Fursman received 65 applications. The mayor and city council reviewed materials for 12 semi-finalists and selected five candidates to interview. Brunkhorst said the selection proved difficult as the search yielded a pool of qualified candidates. Jones, who completed his undergraduate work in public administration at the University of Northern Iowa, stood out for his people skills, management experience and long-term perspective, Brunkhorst said. If the city hires Jones, he would likely start in mid-November. That would allow him to shadow Crayne for two weeks.

Wells, Minnesota (population 2,343): Pending the outcome of a background check, the city of Wells will have a new city administrator, according to the Fairbault County Register. On Monday, the City Council unanimously voted to make an offer to Steve Bloom of Miltona – a small town located north of Alexandria. Bloom and two other finalists – Sarah Friesen of Minneota and Marc Dennison of Black Earth, Wis., – each answered 11 questions from council members during interviews held on Friday, Sept. 21. A fourth candidate – Mark Baker of Holstein, Iowa – withdrew his name from consideration prior to the interviews. Bloom has nearly 25 years of experience in city and county government that includes economic development. He’s also worked six years in education as a teacher. Council members agreed to offer Bloom an annual salary of $60,000, plus benefits. Councilwoman Ann Marie Schuster says all of the finalists had many strengths and it was nice to have a tough choice when it came time to making a decision. Bloom and city officials have yet to work out details of his contract, which are generally for one to three years. Bloom taking a job in Wells will be a return to his southern Minnesota roots. He graduated from Okabena High School in 1978 and then Mankato State University with a bachelor of science degree in community health/planning. After working several years in the public sector – including four years as Martin County coordinator and EDA director – Bloom earned a master’s degree in political science/public administration from Mankato State University in 1992. Bloom touts himself as a person who, “leads by example” and does not manage like a dictator. He says he’ll do whatever is necessary to promote the city. Bloom sees the city’s business base, downtown district, its cleanliness and overall appearance as positives that provide opportunities for growth. Bloom could be on the job as soon as today and will have some big projects to work on when he starts. In addition to completing the 2013 budget, Gaines says the new city administrator will be involved in the hiring of a new street department supervisor and community development director. Interim city administrator Brian Heck told the council he will work with Bloom for a smooth transition. Heck, who already has another interim job waiting for him at Thief River Falls, also has applied for a full-time position in Faribault.

Cologne, Minnesota (population 1,519): The Cologne City Council fired city administrator John Douville during a closed meeting late Wednesday evening, Oct. 10, according to the Waconia Patriot. Mayor Bernie Shambour Jr. confirmed the action the following day. Shambour did not share any specific reason for the termination, referring the issue to the city’s attorney. The NYA Times will be making a request for more information through the Data Practices Act. Douville had been placed on paid administrative leave following an earlier closed meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2. It was the third time he had been placed on leave this year. He was also placed on paid administrative leave from May 17 through June 3, and was placed on unpaid leave from June 12-25. The council had adopted a personal improvement plan for Douville and implemented the plan on May 31. Issues regarding his performance mentioned in the plan included a failure to satisfactorily supervise employees under his direction both in public works and in the city offices, a misappropriation of municipal funds by allowing third parties to use the community center facilities without paying the necessary fees, and storing personal data on the city’s computer system and server. He also failed to present revised personnel policies drafted by the city attorney’s office in the year 2008, according to the plan.

Transitions: Douglas County, NE; Frederick County, MD; Tuscola, MI and more

Douglas County, Nebraska (population 517,110): Douglas County Administrator Kathleen Kelley plans to retire at the end of January, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Kelley has been with the county for 24 years, 15 of them as county administrator. She started her career with the county as its ombudsman. Kelley, who will be 66 in December, said she wants to pursue other interests and spend more time with her six grandchildren. She said she would like to remain involved in public policy and be part of the political process. But she does not plan a run for political office. In particular, she said, she loves that the county deals with marginalized populations, including the mentally ill, the incarcerated, the frail elderly and the poor. Kelley said she was glad to be a main force behind two county bond issues — in 1994 and 1998 — that financed improvements to the Douglas County Youth Center and the Douglas County Jail. Both were overcrowded. County officials were able to show that to the public, and voters approved both measures by significant margins. Clare Duda, the county’s longest-serving board member, said he is Kelley’s biggest fan. That comes, he said, after having entered office 20 years ago campaigning against the ombudsman position, which Kelley held at the time. Kelley worked her way through the ranks and became interim county administrator after Dean Sykes, her predecessor, retired. Duda and former board member Kyle Hutchings paid to advertise in national publications to expand the pool of applicants for the administrator post. The board selected Kelley in 1998.

Lori Depies

Lori Depies

Frederick County, Maryland (population 233,385): Frederick County will get a new county manager as part of a major governmental restructuring, according to the Frederick News Post. The changes, announced Friday and effective Monday, do not include any layoffs, but will save the county an estimated $350,000 per year, largely by doing away with empty positions. The Board of County Commissioners signed off on the new personnel plan Thursday in a closed session. During their term, the sitting commissioners have taken aim at supervisory posts, getting rid of four director and seven deputy-director slots, according to county human resources staff. Commissioners President Blaine Young said elected officials are addressing the problem of having “too many chiefs” in county government. At about noon Friday, a press release broke the news that Lori Depies, the county’s finance division director, will replace David Dunn as county manager. The budget office, now part of the finance division, will follow Depies to the county manager’s office at her request. She said she was “thrilled and honored” when commissioners Thursday offered her the job of county manager. Dunn will step into a new position as the commissioners’ ambassador to community members, local municipalities and business groups. The post of commissioners liaison will fall under Depies’ oversight, and Dunn will take a pay cut. But Dunn said Friday that he doesn’t feel slighted. In fact, over the past two weeks, he helped Young craft the restructuring plan, he said. His efforts to reach area businesses and town and city leaders occupied much of his time as county manager, he said. As a liaison, he is more free to focus on the world outside Winchester Hall. Dunn was not reassigned because of poor performance, Young said, adding that the new role would fit his strengths. Depies will see a significant jump in her annual salary, from about $121,000 to $160,000, said Mitch Hose, human resources director. Dunn earned less as county manager, drawing an annual salary of $139,000. The difference in pay reflects that Depies will carry the added responsibility of overseeing the budget office, Young said. In addition, commissioners asked her to move to Frederick County from her home in Pennsylvania, according to Young. The shift in county manager was among a laundry list of changes approved Thursday. Not all were welcome to a couple of commissioners. Commissioner David Gray said he was in the dark about the brewing reorganization until the closed session, when the proposal was ready for a vote. Though the restructuring included some positive change, Gray said he voted against it, adding that he didn’t like removing supervisory positions. At some point, the cutbacks will result in an overburdened county staff, he said. Commissioner Paul Smith also voted against the reorganization, he said, because it eliminates a position in the TransIT services division. In the plan, TransIT moves under the umbrella of the citizens services division and will be renamed the TransIT department. Nancy Norris, assistant director of TransIT, will become acting department director, and her current position will be eliminated. Smith said he thinks citizens services is a good place for TransIT, because the move will foster collaboration. However, the Sept. 30 retirement of TransIT director Sherry Burford and the simultaneous disappearance of the assistant director post could strain the service, he said. He said he will continue to monitor the situation. The business development and retention division will be folded into the community development division and be renamed the business retention department. The division’s acting director, Helen Riddle, will man the helm at the new department. Erin White, now the accounting director, will shift to acting director of the finance division. The now-vacant post of assistant finance director will be eliminated, according to the county news release. The savings for the county comes partially by getting rid of the assistant finance director position, attached to an annual salary of $84,000, as well as the TransIT post, which came with yearly pay of more than $67,000, Hose said. Depies has headed up the finance division for the past year, and before that was the county treasurer. Dunn has served as county manager since last year. Before that, he was assistant county manager, and previously he was the Brunswick city administrator.

Tuscola, Michigan (population 55,729): Monday’s village council meeting in Milford could determine the future employment status of Caro City Manager Brent Morgan, according to the Tuscola County Advertiser. Morgan was offered the manager’s job in Milford, a village in southwest Oakland County. According to Milford’s Interim Village Manager/Clerk Deborah Frazer, the Milford Council has Morgan’s contract on their regular meeting agenda Monday. Morgan has been employed as the city manager of Caro since April 2010. After narrowing down the candidates to their top four, the Milford Village Council voted unanimously to offer Morgan the job at their Sept. 17 meeting. Frazer said the council was impressed with Morgan’s involvement with a village-to-city transition, Downtown Development Authority and the fact that he has served as an assistant city manager and then worked his way up to a city manager’s spot. For the past two weeks, Morgan and Milford officials have been in contract negotiations, as reported in several Oakland County newspapers. “The village’s original offer was an annual salary of $78,000 and 30 days severance pay, but Frazer said that Morgan counter-offered with an $84,000 salary and 180 days of severance pay,” according to Spinal Column, an Oakland County newspaper. “The Village Council answered with an offer of an $80,000 annual salary, along with 30 days severance for the first six months followed by 60 days afterwards, which Frazer said Morgan has agreed to accept.” If Morgan inks the pact that Milford is poised to approve Monday, he will fill the vacancy left by Arthur Shufflebarger, who died in June after serving as the village manager since 1990. Frazer has served as the interim manager and clerk since Shufflebarger’s unexpected death. Morgan was contacted by the Advertiser and refused comment on two different occasions. The Caro City Council’s next regular meeting is 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Newark, Delaware (population 31,454): Newark City Council on Monday hired longtime employee Carol Houck as the new city manager, according to Delaware Online. Houck has worked for the city since 1990. She began as a supervisor in the parks department, joining the City Manager’s Office in 1997 as assistant to the city manager. Raised in Philadelphia, Houck previously worked as a project and event coordinator for the Department of Defense at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Council had been deliberating between Houck and Tarron J. Richardson, a Wilmington native and current city manager in DeSoto, Texas. Issues of interest to Houck include shoring up Newark’s financial situation and improving its operations efficiency, extending UD’s electrical agreements with the city, improving security in the municipal building, increasing partnership opportunities with Newark schools, introducing technological advancements such as smart meters and developing more economic development partnerships.

Marysville, California (population 12,072): The Marysville City Council approved a contract for a new city manager on Tuesday, according to the Appeal Democrat. Walter Munchheimer, 64, director of financial management for Palm Beach County, Fla., from 2000-08, is scheduled to replace City Manager Steve Casey on Monday. The veteran administrator is a graduate of UC Davis and lists his hometown as Eureka. In addition to working in south Florida, Munchheimer previously served as deputy county manager for Fulton County, Ga., and assistant county administrator for Escambia County, Fla. Yuba County administrators conducted a national search for candidates several months ago on behalf of Marysville. County staff screened all but 10 for consideration, said Casey, who helped narrow the pool to five with help from Wheatland and Live Oak administrators. A panel of community residents selected by the council, and council members themselves conducted further interviews. Finally, they administered a written exercise. Munchheimer’s contract is nearly identical to Casey’s, including an annual salary of about $102,000. The city also will pay $4,000 in relocation expenses for the administrator to move from his home in Florida.

Henniker, New Hampshire (population 4,836): Henniker’s town administrator has resigned a year after taking the post, according to the Concord Monitor. Chuck Connell offered his resignation last week, and Selectman Kris Blomback said the administrator’s last day will be Nov. 30. Connell said he’s leaving for retirement and called his reasoning “both personal and important.” Connell joined the town staff in November after longtime town administrator Peter Flynn resigned in August 2011 to take a job with the town of New Boston. At the time, Flynn said he left with no hard feelings, but added that the job had become more stressful due to clashing personalities on the board of selectmen. The board accepted Connell’s resignation with “heavy regrets,” according to Blomback, who said the administrator had been a “consummate professional.” He said the board is in the process of establishing a subcommittee to help find a replacement, adding that Connell will be involved in the process. While Blomback hopes to have a replacement in place by Connell’s departure, he said the timeline may be difficult to meet.

Oakridge, Oregon (population 3,205): The city of Oakridge hired a new city administrator after what it calls an intense hiring process, according to KEZI. Police Chief Louis Gomez will take over the job. He’s been filling in since Gordon Zimmerman resigned at the end of last year. The city faced considerable financial issues under Zimmerman. Oakridge’s mayor says he looks forward to working with Gomez as the city works to rebuild.

Winnebago, Minnesota (population 1,437): Winnebago City Administrator Austin Bleess has submitted his resignation effective October 19th, according to KBEW.  Bless is leaving to become the City Manager in Caribou, Maine.  Austin Bleess said he really enjoyed his time in Winnebago and will miss a number of individuals that he met while being the City Administrator.  City Officials will now begin the process to fill the City Administrator Position.

Warrenton, North Carolina (population 862): The Warrenton Town Board appointed Robert Davie as town administrator during a special meeting held Tuesday evening, according to The Warren Record. Davie, who is currently a Warrenton commissioner, did not attend the meeting and had submitted a letter resigning from his elected position effective Oct. 1, the same day his new job begins. The town board unanimously accepted Davie’s resignation, but the vote was split 4-2 on his hiring. Commissioners Al Fleming and Margaret Britt dissented. Before the meeting adjourned Britt said she had nothing against Davie, but preferred another job applicant whom she felt was better qualified for the position. Fleming later said that he, too, thought someone else was more qualified. In opening the meeting, Mayor Walter Gardner said he felt the series of interviews the town board conducted, which initially included six applicants and was narrowed to three, went well. Davie’s salary is $41,208, plus benefits including health and life insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, retirement, vacation and sick days. A town vehicle currently is not dedicated for use by the town administrator, and the job has a one-year probationary status. In reading the job offer before the motion to hire was made, Gardner noted that Davie’s primary job is that of town administrator, but that he could continue with other work as long as it does not conflict with town duties. Davie has been self-employed and has an active computer software business. Commissioner Mary Hunter made the motion to hire Davie, and Commissioner Jules Banzet offered a second. Commissioners Woody King and John Mooring also voted in favor of Davie. It is up to town commissioners to fill Davie’s nonpartisan seat on the board. He took office in December 2009 and has just over a year left on a four-year term. Gardner said Tuesday night that any town resident interested in the board seat should fill out a Statement of Interest to Serve, available from Town Hall by calling 257-3315. He said this would provide commissioners with office-seekers’ backgrounds. Gardner said that two to three citizens had already expressed interest in serving. He said he hoped the board could make a decision at its November meeting. The town board, at its October meeting, could set a deadline by which Statements of Interest are due in the event the board needs to hold a special meeting to discuss those interested or conduct interviews. According to North Carolina Open Meetings Law, the board cannot “consider the qualifications, competence, performance, character, fitness, appointment, or removal of a member” of the board and may not consider or fill a vacancy among its own membership except in an open meeting. Davie said he planned to continue focusing on business development in Warrenton, which he has done as a commissioner, and hopes to help get vacant buildings leased or purchased and renovated when needed. He said he would continue to pursue grant funding, in particular for beautification projects, as well as possible alternative methods for financing some scale of renovation to the historic Town Hall building on East Market Street. Town employees earlier this month vacated the dilapidated building due to safety reasons, which include a leaking roof, mold and an interior balcony that is threatening the building’s structural integrity. Though what to do about Town Hall has been discussed off and on for some time, it has been a contentious issue that has sometimes divided the town board over the past year or two as commissioners have considered various options and price tags. Davie is currently working on a grant that would pay for an urban park in town, and said he plans to also focus on organizing the town’s human resources policies and updating ordinances. A Vanderbilt University graduate with a degree in political science, Davie has been largely self-employed since college, working in used computer sales, starting an Internet business marketplace for used computer dealers, and starting the software business he currently runs. During a three-year stint working for IBM, he was the top salesman out of 150 people in his division.

Transitions: Burbank, CA; Broken Arrow, OK; Eagan, MN and more

“A town manager’s life is precarious at best.”–Kevin O’Donnell, Town Manager, Great Barrington, Massachusetts since 2008, whose contract, which expires in April 2013, will not be renewed

Mike FladBurbank, California (population 103,340): Burbank City Manager Mike Flad announced on Monday plans to leave the Media City and take the top post at the city of South Gate, stunning city officials who expected him to retire in the city where he had spent more than two decades building his career. Flad, now 46, became the second-youngest city manager in Burbank’s history when he assumed the top job in 2008 and has worked for the city for nearly 23 years. In February, the city extended Flad’s contract for five years to December 2016, with an initial salary of $18,117 per month and an annual 3% increase after two years. The most notable of those challenges was overseeing a police department roiled by outside investigations into excessive use-of-force, and lawsuits filed by current and former officers. Flad said Tuesday that he was approached about six weeks ago by a recruiter for the position in South Gate — a much poorer city than Burbank. The hiring process included a written application and four interviews. His contract could be finalized in time for a vote by the South Gate City Council on Sept. 25, in which case he estimated his last day at Burbank would be Oct. 26. The terms of the contract, which are still being negotiated, are very similar to his current contract with Burbank, Flad said. If the move comes to pass, it will be a much different landscape — from movie studios and a solid economy with low crime rates to a South L.A. bedroom community sandwiched between Lynwood and Cudahy. South Gate, with a population of 94,396, is similar in size to Burbank, but different in demographics. South Gate is 94.8% Latino — compared to Burbank’s roughly 24% Latino population — and has an unemployment rate of 11.4%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If the contract with South Gate is finalized, Flad would be replacing George Troxcil, who was appointed to the post just eight months ago after a nearly year-long stint as the interim city manager. Troxcil had taken on the dual interim role while also serving as the city’s police chief — a post he held for two years after a 30-year career with the department. The news of Flad’s move comes as Burbank continues the process of finding a permanent police chief, meaning the city may have to fill two top executive jobs at the same time. And since the city manager supervises the police chief, that recruitment could be difficult, city officials said. That’s just as well for Gordon, who had been advocating holding off on the police chief recruitment. Burbank also has a City Council election coming up in the spring, with three seats up for contention.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (population 98,850): The search for a city manager is over, according to the Tulsa World. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to offer the job to Greenville, N.C., Assistant City Manager Thom Moton, who was a finalist for the position along with Branson, Mo., City Administrator Dean Kruithof. Moton was appointed city manger in an unofficial capacity until salary negotiations are complete. City councilors interviewed Moton and Kruithof individually on Friday, and the finalists met with city staff and school representatives on Thursday. The final interviews and feedback from those groups tipped a close race to Moton’s favor, city councilors said. Moton would take over for Human Resources Director Russell Gale, who was appointed acting city manager in April after the City Council fired David Wooden amid controversy over a proposed Indian casino. Although both Moton and Kruithof are qualified for the position, Moton’s enthusiasm and knowledge made him stand out, city councilors said. He served as interim city manager of Greenville for five months after its previous city manager retired in March, and his previous positions include assistant city manager of University City, Mo., and Corsicana, Texas. Officials have said his expertise includes downtown and economic development — both of which are priorities for the city. Councilor Jill Norman said she believes the city would also benefit from the “visionary qualities” he has demonstrated during past jobs. Moton and Kruithof were recruited by Affion Public LLC, a management consulting firm that also recruited Broken Arrow’s current police and fire chiefs. The firm has been discussing salary and benefit expectations with both candidates, and it appears that the city could afford either one, city attorney Beth Anne Wilkening told the City Council. City spokeswoman Stephanie Higgins said the city would not immediately say how much it planned to offer Moton. His salary would be public record once he is hired. City councilors voted to draft an employment agreement for their next meeting Oct. 2.

Eagan, Minnesota (population 64,206): After plenty of jokes and a few emotional moments, longtime Eagan City Administrator Tom Hedges—widely considered one of the city’s most influential leaders—announced at Wednesday’s Eagan City Council meeting that he plans to retire in early 2013, according to the EaganPatch. Hedges, Eagan’s first and only city administrator, was hired in 1976 at the age of 27 and has served for 36 years as the city’s highest appointed official. Before coming to Eagan, he was employed as the city administrator of St. Peter. After accepting Hedges’ retirement notice, the Eagan City Council approved a $12,900-plus-expenses contract with recruitment firm Brimeyer Fursman to assist in the search for a new city administrator. Hedges told council members at the meeting that he plans to continue in his role as adminstrator until Feb. 1, 2013. A handful of elected officials expressed sadness at Hedges’ announcement, including Eagan City Councilors Paul Bakken and Cyndee Fields, who jokingly discussed voting to reject Hedges’ retirement letter and keep him working as a city employee. Hedges, 63, said he is looking forward to having more flexibility in life, and plans to travel following his retirement as city administrator. He may continue to work limited hours as a consultant, he said. The city administrator is one in a long list of top Eagan officials who have recently retired or announced their intent to retire. Eagan’s longtime public works director, Tom Colbert, retired earlier this year, and Eagan Director of Administrative Services Gene VanOverbeke is expected to retire in December. A number of veteran police officers have also turned in their badges this year. Earlier this year, in the city’s annual “State of the City” address, Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire identified the turnover of aging city staff as one of Eagan’s challenges in the near future. Hedges, who received an applause following his announcement on Wednesday, thanked past and present elected officials, the community and his wife, Debbie.

Upson County, Georgia (population 27,153): During a press conference Monday afternoon, Upson County Commission Chairman Maurice Raines confirmed suspicions that County Manager Kyle Hood is in fact resigning from his post effective September 28, according to the Thomaston Times. Hood has accepted a similar position as the Town Manager of Tyrone, Georgia and will begin his new job the first of next month. The rest of the board echoed Raines’s sentiments and wished Hood the best of luck with his new venture. Hood announced that he would be releasing a formal statement at the next Board of Commissioners meeting, but the short version is he agrees it has been a good four years and the decision to leave was not one that he took lightly. He also noted that until his departure he plans to continue to serve the citizens of this community. Beginning on September 28, Pam Fuentes will be appointed Interim County Clerk and the board plans to move quickly to fill the position of County Manager.

Stoughton, Massachusetts (population 26,962): After interviewing the three finalists for the position of permanent Town Manager and then voting on which finalist was their top choice, the Stoughton Board of Selectmen are now one step closer to naming Stoughton’s next chief municipal employee, according to the CantonPatch.The Board voted unanimously, 5-0, Sept. 18 to express interest in Canton resident Michael Hartman becoming Stoughton’s next permanent Town Manager, pending a background investigation and contract negotiations. Hartman is the current Town Manager in Jaffrey, New Hampshire (2007-present). Prior to his job in Jaffrey, he worked in municipal government in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Iowa and Illinois. Selectman Cynthia Walsh nominated Hartman. No other Board member made a nomination, with all five selectmen – Walsh, John Anzivino, Steve Anastos, Bob O’Regan and Chairman John Stagnone supporting the nomination of Hartman. Paul Shew of Franklin and Kenneth Fields of Boca Raton, Florida were the other finalists Selectmen interviewed, along with Hartman, on September 13. If the background investigation and initial negotiaions do not result in a formal job offer and contract for Hartman, Stagnone said the Board can look at one of the other finalists or start the search process over again. At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Stagnone said the five-member Town Manager search committee (appointed by selectmen) and the consulting firm, Municipal Resources, Inc. (MRI), were charged with the task of finding a highly qualified and experienced candidate. Selectmen were looking for someone with a graduate degree in public administration or a related field; 7-10 years of local government experience; a willingness to commit to the job for more than five years; strong public speaking skills; experience in downtown revitalization; long-range planning experience; collective bargaining and human resources experience; and strong finance and analytical skills. Prior to fielding nominations, selectmen discussed their take on the September 13 interviews with the three finalists and what they were looking for in a Town Manager. O’Regan said the town needed a focused, professional, hands-on manager – someone willing to get his knuckles dirty; someone dedicated to making systems work more efficiently and effectively; and someone committed to capital planning with strong budgeting and management skills. Anzivino said having an experienced manager with a “good strong background in municipal government” was key. Walsh didn’t support the process or cost of hiring a consulting firm (about $20,000), but said she could not argue with the results. She said the decision to select a final candidate “has to be a leap of faith; there are no guarantees.” When it came time for the nominations, Walsh put her faith in Hartman, and when no other nominations were made, it became clear he was the candidate Selectmen felt best fit their criteria. There were 55 applicants for the position. Less than 30 were sent essay questions. Telephone interviews were conducted with the final 13 candidates. Then, on September 12, a final group of seven candidates were interviewed by three separate panels – the Town Manager Search Committee; Stoughton Department Heads; and a group representing MRI. Following these panel interviews, which were not open to the public, the field of seven was narrowed down to three – Hartman, Shew and Fields. Each of the three finalists have held management positions in multiple communities, but Stagnone said that to call any of the candidates “retreads” was an “unfair characterization of town managers in general.” During the September 18 meeting, held in the Yaitanes Room on the third floor of the Town Hall, selectmen held a conference call with Don Jutton of MRI prior to making their nomination. Jutton said the position of Town Manager has been “nomadic in nature” with the average tenure about four years when the economy was stronger and now about six years with a struggling economy making it more difficult to relocate. He said Town Managers might seek a job in another town because they want to manage a larger community or because the complexion of the town’s elected board has changed. Jutton said people “should not draw negative conclusions based on the number of jobs they had.” MRI will assist the town and the selectmen in conducting a background check and with contract negotiations. Stagnone and Anzivino will represent the Board during this process. A finite date for Selectmen to make a formal job offer to Hartman has not been set, although the contract of Interim Town Manager Joesph D. Feaster Jr. expires November 30. Feaster became the interim Town Manager on April 1 of this year and was sworn in on April 3. Feaster was one of the final seven candidates, but was not one of the three finalists selectmen interviewed on September 13. Feaster succeeded Crimmins who had served for two years as Stoughton’s Town Manager, before announcing his resignation in January 2012. Crimmins’ last day in office was March 31.

Wilmington, Massachusetts (population 22,325): During Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, members officially approved the contract of incoming Town Manager Jeff Hull, who currently serves as Assistant Town Manager, according to the WilmingtonPatch. Hull’s starting salary will be $133,200 with scheduled increases of 2.5 percent slated for the second and third years of the agreement. As a part of the agreement, Hull waived an early retirement incentive and agreed not to require longevity payments.

Las Animas County, Colorado (population 15,507): Leslee Fresquez resigned from her position as Las Animas County administrator late Tuesday afternoon after, she says, the county commissioners told her they wanted to demote her to the position of manager of the county airport, even though that position is currently filled, according to The Trinidad Times Independent. In a written statement issued Thursday, Fresquez said commissioners told her they wanted someone who had more experience than she did to fill the administrator’s position. She admits that she had no experience as a county administrator before taking the job, but cited her 14 years of experience working in government as being enough to qualify her for the administrator’s job. She had held the position since being unanimously appointed by the county board of commissioners in December 2011. She took over from former county administrator Bill Cordova, who resigned in October 2011. In her statement, Fresquez said she couldn’t understand why a dedicated civil servant like Cordova would have resigned. She said that after what happened to her recently as Cordova’s successor, she now understands why he quit. Fresquez’s resignation notice gave a two-months notice to the county commissioners, who then placed her on two-months paid administrative leave. Fresquez wrote that during her six years working for Las Animas County, she was never formally disciplined or reprimanded for her work efforts, even though the county has such disciplinary procedures in place. She said she was not treated in the same way as other county employees in regard to her work performance. Fresquez said that when she was hired, she was expected to perform all her previous duties as deputy administrator, with the additional tasks of being county administrator. She said she had to do all this while being paid $30,000 less per year than her predecessor. She said that as a woman, she was not treated as fairly as her male predecessor had been. She said that after she became administrator, the frequency of county meetings was increased from two to four per month, thus increasing her workload without providing her with more professional office support until late in her tenure. Fresquez said she twice requested a formal evaluation process from the board to identify areas where she might need to improve, something she said is required under county policy. She said the board did not honor her requests. She said the board members told her she needed to make herself more accessible by phone, but said she felt the weekly meetings were sufficient to discuss all relevant county issues. Fresquez said current commissioners preferred to rely on e-mail communication with her, but she felt that was an inadequate form of communication, leading to disjointed discussion of policy questions, and insisted that the weekly meetings were a better means of communication. Fresquez said commissioners never established a “standard of expectation nor laid forth goals and objectives I was to achieve as county administrator, and not for my lack of asking for such. I had no defined charge except to ‘get it done.’” Commissioner Jim Vigil said Fresquez resigned by her own choice. Vigil said he wished her good luck in the future. Commission Chairman Gary Hill said that on legal advice he would have no comment on Fresquez’s resignation, other than to say he wished her well with her future plans. Commissioner Mack Louden could not be reached for comment Thursday. Leeann Fabec, county finance director, said she was appointed by the board to act as interim county administrator while the hiring process for a new administrator moves forward. Fabec said she wished Fresquez all the best for her future plans.

Callaway, Florida (population 14,405): Commission members extended a job offer for a new City Manager of Callaway, according to the News Herald. After rounds of questions, the three-hour interview process produced a candidate the board could agree on: Marcus Collins. In Collins’ application to the city, he listed his experience as Public Services Director in Mount Dora for five years before becoming City Manager of Crescent City for around four years. His most recent occupation was as president of the council in Williston until he retired in 2011. Collins said budgeting and economic development were among his strong suits. Four other applicants answered questions before the board and public in the commission chambers of the Callaway Arts and Conference Center. During the interviews, commissioners asked questions in regard to CRA experience, opinions of the four-day versus five-day work week and economic development opinions. However, the more pertinent issue which commissioners addressed directly after the meeting was of salary. Commissioners held a vote after the meeting to set the manager’s salary at $70,000, the lowest figure the board advertised.

Whitewater, Wisconsin (population 14,390): The Whitewater City Council has selected Cameron L. Clapper to serve as city manager, according to The Janesville Gazette. The unanimous choice was made Saturday after interviewing five candidates for the post, according to a news release from the city. Clapper has served as interim city manager since the departure of former City Manager Kevin Brunner. Brunner left to become director of public services in Walworth County. The decision comes after two days of interviews, tours, a reception and public forum. The other candidates included village administrators/clerks and a city manager. Clapper started work with the city in April 2010 as assistant city manager. He previously worked as assistant to the administrator in the village of Waunakee. Clapper has a master’s degree in public administration from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He also has a bachelor’s degree in international studies. The council is working on an employment agreement and will vote on that agreement at its Oct. 2 meeting. Clapper and his family live in Whitewater.

Oneonta, New York (population 13,901): Oneonta swore in its first city manager at a special meeting of the Common Council, according to The Daily Star.  Michael H. Long, 56, city administrator of Poughkeepsie, will start the $115,000-a-year position by Oct. 1. The post was created by the city charter that voters approved in November and took affect Jan. 1. The city’s Common Council Human Resource Committee, chaired by Maureen Hennessy, worked with a national recruiter and city personnel director Kathy Wolverton, to narrow the 50 applicants for the post to three finalists. They were interviewed by a group that included council members, department heads and representatives from the community. Long will take over the day-to-day operations of running the city, Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said. This leaves Miller to serve as the head of government for all official and ceremonial purposes, preside over the Common Council, and other duties spelled out in the charter. Long serves at the pleasure of the council and Miller will be his principal liaison and work with the council to establish performance objectives for the manager. Long holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in landscape architecture from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science at Syracuse. He holds a Master’s of Arts in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He has served in his current position since 2008. Before that, he held positions of increasing responsibility in the Cayuga County Planning Board and for the city of Auburn over a 28-year span, according to a city media release. After he was sworn in, Long thanked the council for its vote of confidence. Long said he took the new position because he was ready for a new challenge and noted the community spirit that he said will be helpful in tackling such issues as improving downtown. His first step will be orienting himself to the position and spending time with council members and department heads to identify what each sees as important issues. In his first 30 days, he said, he expects to be able to set an action plan. Long said that he is seeking an apartment in the city and will decide later on long-term living arrangements. The city charter does not require him to live in the city. He was joined at the meeting by his wife, Diane Long, who is chair and associate professor of the department of occupational therapy at Ithaca College. Miller said he was confident that Long will help the city achieve savings in operations and will help secure grants.

Ogdensburg, New York (population 11,128): Ogdensburg has a new city manager, according to the Watertown Daily Times. City Council members unanimously appointed John M. Pinkerton as city manager at a special meeting last week. Mr. Pinkerton will start his new role Oct. 15 under a three-year contract. He was chosen out of 41 applicants after a seven-month search. Mr. Pinkerton, an Ogdensburg native, has 31 years of experience in private enterprise, and currently works as a business adviser at CITEC, a business development company based at Clarkson University, Potsdam. He is also co-owner of Adirondack Professional Cleaners and has worked as a consultant and manager for Newell-Rubbermaid. Mr. Pinkerton said he counts his past and current business experience as one of his greatest assets as city manager. During the hiring process, the council was impressed with Mr. Pinkerton’s knowledge of the city’s issues, Mayor William D. Nelson said. Mr. Pinkerton said his first goal as manager will be to establish a vision for the city. Mr. Pinkerton said he is looking forward to helping the city commercialize and develop its waterfront. Mr. Pinkerton will earn $84,000 a year as city manager. He declined the use of a city vehicle.

Tomah, Wisconsin (population 9,093): Tomah city administrator Jim Bialecki will retire Dec. 5, according to the La Crosse Tribune. Bialecki, who has been the city administrator since 2008 and is the former mayor of Onalaska, Tuesday announced plans to retire. Bialecki submitted his 90-day notice to the Tomah City Council Sept. 4. Bialecki said he  has enjoyed his time as administrator, largely because the council has remained above partisan politics and united in working in the best interests of the city. Bialecki, 62, has been in the workforce for 46 years.  His administrative career began in 1976 in the hospital field. He worked at long-term care, assisted living, independent living and Catholic charities in Lincoln, Portage and La Crosse counties before he began his career with the city of Onalaska in 1985. Bialecki was the president of the Onalaska City Council from 1985 to 2000 and the city’s first full-time mayor from 2000 to 2008. Bialecki’s plans include taking some time to visit his family in southern California.

Great Barrington, Massachusetts (population 7,104): Following two consecutive failing job performance evaluations, the Board of Selectmen last week informed Town Manager Kevin O’Donnell that they have decided not to renew his contract when it expires next April, according to The Berkshire Eagle. Multiple members confirmed that the board arrived at its decision while discussing the matter in executive session last week. But the information didn’t come out until this week after O’Donnell met privately with representatives of the board. Those representatives, board chairman Sean Stanton and vice-chair Deborah Phillips, reportedly gave O’Donnell the option of resigning prior to the vote on his contract, but O’Donnell declined the offer. O’Donnell said he was disappointed by the board’s decision. None of the board members who spoke with The Eagle agreed to speak publicly about their decision because they said they wanted to respect the confidentiality of what was discussed during executive session. But the board has made clear publicly in the past that they it hasn’t been thrilled with O’Donnell’s performance. In June, O’Donnell received his second subsequent negative employment evaluation in nine months when he was given only 64 of a maximum 125 points. Those numbers resulted in a rating equivalent to 51.2 percent, which is lower than the 67 percent O’Donnell received on his previous evaluation in September 2011. The lowest mark on O’Donnell’s most recent evaluation was in customer satisfaction where he received 10 of a possible 25 points. In the anonymous comments included in this year’s evaluation, board members stated that O’Donnell groused about the board’s decision, feeling the Selectmen were an impediment to his job. Comments also stated that O’Connell disregarded the Selectmen’s role, and doesn’t follow through on the board’s direction. O’Donnell pledged to improve his relationship with the Selectmen and indicated that he would focus on better communication. Last week, O’Donnell said that he had followed through on those issues, and lamented that the board hadn’t given him more concrete criteria to focus his efforts. O’Donnell was hired by the town in 2008. He signed his current contract in 2011 following performance reviews with scores equivalent to 90 and 84 percent. Those scores were submitted by a board with a significantly different makeup than the current one. O’Donnell said he ís proud of what he has achieved in his years as town manager. He said he managed to get the town’s bond rating increased during a severe recession, and reduced borrowing costs by about $60,000 annually. No matter what happens, O’Donnell said that he plans to continue working through the end of his term, and intends to wrap up the major projects currently facing the town, which include planning for the reconstruction of Main Street, and closing the sale of the old firehouse on Castle Street.

Tyrone, Georgia (population 6,879): Tyrone is about to get a new Town Manager by way of Upson County, according to The Citizen. The Town Council approved the hire of Upson County Manager Kyle Hood, who is expected to begin his new job next month. Hood’s arrival will mean that interim Town Manager and Tyrone Police Chief Brandon Perkins can return to his full-time duties with the police department. Hood has served as Upson County Manager since July 2008 and has also served as project manager for the Wilkinson County Commission and as a research and teaching assistant in Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. The 28 year-old Hood earned a Master of Public Administration from GCSU in 2008 and, in 2011, earned a certification as a local government official from the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia. Hood is expected to begin the job in early October. Mayor Eric Dial said Hood’s job as county manager in Upson County is one where he managed approximately 100 employees. Dial in his comments Thursday was quick to acknowledge the work of interim Town Manager Brandon Perkins who, for nearly a year, has functioned in that position while maintaining his responsibilities as Tyrone Police Chief. Dial’s comments are noteworthy because few in municipal management or law enforcement administration are ever called on to take on the responsibility of a dual administrative function. Though his first calling is law enforcement, Perkins was the exception to the rule when he stepped forward in November 2011 to take on the responsibilities of town management to help out in a time of need.

Normandy Park, Washington (population 6,335): Normandy Park City Manager Doug Schulze was selected Wednesday night, Sept. 19 to become the city manager of Bainbridge Island, according to The Highline Times. The town has a population of 23,000, considerably larger than Normandy Park’s 6,000. While Schulze is going west to Bainbridge Island, Burien Community Director Scott Greenberg is headed east to another island, Mercer Island where he will be Development Services director. Schulze denies that Normandy Park’s financial woes led him to bail out of the city. Instead, Schulze noted, that after managing smaller cities for the majority of his career, he was looking to head a larger organization. He said he has been admiring the 26 square-mile city for a number of years. Pending successful negotiation of a contract, the Bainbridge Island City Council is scheduled to formally hire Schulze at its Sept. 26 meeting. If so, Schulze is planning to give his 30-day notice on Sept. 27 with Halloween, Oct. 31 being his last day on the job in Normandy Park. Schulze admitted there were “gloomy faces around city hall,” the day after the Bainbridge Island council announced its pick. He said he is leaving with “mixed emotions” after developing many positive relationships in his six years with the city. Schulze is leaving Normandy Park at a time when the city is facing a severe financial crisis. This summer the tranquil town was rocked by reports from news media of Normandy Park’s possible demise as a separate city, either through disincorporation or annexation to Burien or Des Moines. Schulze responded that city officials had not considered those drastic options but the City Council did place on the November ballot a property tax levy lid that would raise residents’ tax rate from $1.31 per 1,000 of assessed value to $1.60. The city manager said property tax restrictions had particularly hit the city hard because the taxes account for about 60 percent of its tax revenues. The city also does not have a lot of room along First Avenue South, its commercial district, for large tax revenue raising businesses. In 2008 when the recession hit, “it was like falling off a cliff for the city’s revenues,” Schulze said. Normandy Park’s general fund reserves have been depleted to the point where they are projected to be gone in three years without serious action, he noted. City staff has been reduced by 33 percent and Normandy Park has deferred maintenance and replacing equipment, Schulze reported. Before coming to Normandy Park in 2006, Schulze was city manager in another affluent Seattle suburban city, Medina, home of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He was also city administrator in Sandstone, Minn. from 1992 to 1996. According to the Kitsap Sun, Schulze will also face daunting challenges in Bainbridge Island where roads are failing and the city does not have funds to maintain them. Schulze will also need to hire a new Bainbridge Island police chief after the current chief quit two weeks ago. On Sept. 1, Schulze announced Chris Gaddis as Normandy Park’s permanent police chief replacing long-time chief Rick Keiffer, who retired. Schulze will replace a former city manager, who was ousted in March, according to the Sun.

Russell, Kansas (population 4,506): City Manager Ralph Wise has accepted a position as administrator of Hebron, Ohio, according to The Hays Daily News. While the community has fewer than 5,000 residents, slightly smaller than Russell, it’s home to the Central Ohio Industrial Park. There are 32 manufacturing operations in the industrial park, and that opens up possibilities for his wife, Wise said. Notably, Hebron doesn’t have its own electric generation plant, something Russell does have. Wise, who has been Russell city manager since 2008, also admits a side benefit is Hebron is only 15 minutes away from his grandchildren. Wise tendered his resignation from the city manager’s spot at Russell nearly two weeks ago, but had kept his future job a closely held secret. He announced where he’ll be heading at last week’s Russell City Council meeting, after Hebron officials confirmed his appointment. He also was waiting for confirmation Hebron would reimburse Russell for expenses already paid for Wise to attend a conference this fall. The Russell council voted to name Russell Police Chief Jon Quinday as interim city manager while a search for a replacement is under way. But providing the opportunity for his wife to get back in her field of expertise was a strong draw.

Mulberry, Florida (population 3,817): After interviewing two candidates Wednesday night, city commissioners in Mulberry gave top ranking to a Dundee city commissioner with a background as a corrections officer and no experience in city management. But Richard Johnson said he’s confident in his ability to run the city, despite his limited experience. Mulberry commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday to begin negotiating a contract with Johnson, 52. Commissioner Terry Evers opposed the motion, but not because he didn’t think Johnson would make a good city manager. He wanted the opportunity to ask the candidates more questions. During Wednesday’s interviews, candidates fielded prepared questions that commissioners had previously approved. Evers, however, wanted to know whether the new manager would review each employee on the city’s payroll to determine whether he or she is working to his or her potential, and what would happen to those who weren’t performing well. Commissioner Collins Smith cast the other opposing vote, saying he supported the other candidate, Larry Strickland of Valrico, a management analyst for the city of Zephyrhills. A third finalist for the job, Judith Jankosky of Lady Lake, the interim city administrator in Arcadia, withdrew her application Wednesday morning. Johnson, who’s been a commissioner in Dundee since 2005, said he already had decided not to seek a fifth two-year term on the commission in April. Mulberry’s charter requires the city manager to move into the city, which would mandate that Johnson resign from Dundee’s governing board. Johnson completed his master’s degree in non-profit management and public administration last year at the University of Central Florida. He’s currently working as an employment specialist with the deaf service bureau in Polk County. He spent 20 years with the Connecticut Department of Corrections, rising to the rank of lieutenant before retiring in 2001. Mulberry commissioners will begin negotiating a contract with Johnson, to include salary and benefits, which must be approved before he can start working. Commissioners have budgeted $63,000 for the job. If he’s hired, Johnson would replace Frank Satchel Jr., who was fired in May following his arrest on forgery charges. He was accused of altering employee time cards.

Troutman, North Carolina (population 2,383): After Ann Bailie graduated from Syracuse University in 1974 with a dual degree in English and photojournalism, she first spent a semester abroad in London taking graduate courses in English and photojournalism, then went to work for a newspaper in Florida, according to The Charlotte Observer. Becoming town manager for a small North Carolina town was about the furthest thing from her mind. Life is full of twists and turns, however, and in the mid-1990s, when her husband, photographer and historian Bob Zeller, got a job with the Greensboro News & Record covering NASCAR, they moved to North Carolina. Bailie then became involved with the successful effort to incorporate a small Guilford County community called Pleasant Garden. In 1997, when Pleasant Garden officially became a municipality, Bailie was its first (and for several years only) employee: town clerk, finance officer and budget officer. That sparked her interest in local government administration and prompted a career change to public affairs. Since 2002, all her jobs have been working for government, including almost nine years as the top executive in Trinity. She’s already started to apply that experience as Troutman’s new town manager, with an annual salary of $86,000. As for the town itself, she sees great potential. Bailie said the town’s population had been expected to increase significantly until the economy took a downturn in 2008. She said town leaders have used that time wisely. She cites the town’s participation in the state Department of Commerce’s Small Town Main Street program, which provides on-site technical assistance for downtown development and promotion, as a major plus. In addition, the town’s self-funded façade program, which provides grants to downtown property owners for sprucing up storefronts, is another town initiative Bailie likes. The 60-year-old Illinois native has some big shoes to fill. Former town manager David Saleeby was a hands-on manager, involved in all aspects of the town’s operation. Bailie suggested that her style may be a little different. After Saleeby retired in February, the town Board of Aldermen began an exhaustive search for his replacement, working with the Centralina Council of Governments. Spath believes Bailie has done a good job thus far, even as she continues to evaluate the major issues facing the town. One of those major issues involves the town finances. She’s also been very impressed, even somewhat surprised, with the level of civil engagement in the town.

East Jordan, Michigan (population 2,351): The historic cottage filled up with city officials and residents and the group chatted over appetizers prepared by East Jordan Public Schools cooks, according to The Northern Michigan Review. “I’m so excited to welcome my new team members,” said Mary Faculak, East Jordan Chamber of Commerce director. The team she is referring to is “Team EJ” a long standing partnership between the chamber, schools, city and community. Chris Yonker is the new East Jordan city administrator. He started the new job Aug. 20 and is responsible for the administration of all city affairs. Yonker is a native of west Michigan and graduated from Spring Lake High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and land use planning from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Ill. Before becoming the East Jordan administrator, Yonker served for two and a half years as the city manager of Wayland, 15 years as the city manager of Fremont and 10 years as the capital budget officer for the city of Evanston, Ill. Yonker recently relocated to East Jordan with his wife, Diane, who was the director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce for 17 years. The couple has three children.

Oakboro, North Carolina (population 1,859): Oakboro’s Board of Commissioners met on Monday at 8:15 a.m. in a special meeting, according to The Stanly News and Press. Part of the reason the Board needed to meet was to discuss what to do with the office of Town Administrator. Ross Holshouser, previous Town Administrator, was let go over the weekend. The first order of business was to appoint a new Town Clerk. Taffy Smith, previously acting as Deputy Town Clerk, was raised to the position by Commissioner Georgia Harvey. It is believed that Smith’s appointment will help alleviate some of the pressure placed on the offices of Oakboro Town Hall in the wake of Holshouser’s dismissal. The next item on the agenda was in regards to finances. In the Town Administrator’s absence, the Board voted to have any financial expenditure exceeding $500 be brought before the Town Board before it can proceed. Beginning Oct. 1, Doug Burgess will act as Interim Town Administrator until a more permanent candidate can be located.

North Topsail Beach, North Carolina (population 743): North Topsail Beach Town Manager Steve Foster is headed for a new job but won’t be going too far, according to the Jacksonville Daily News. Foster submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday and will be taking a job as manager for the Town of Oak Island. His last day with the Onslow County town will be Oct. 25. Mayor Daniel Tuman said Foster has a permanent residence in Oak Island, making the move a good opportunity for him personally and professionally. But he will be missed. Tuman said Foster worked well with the town board as well as the town staff. Foster has worked for the town since February 2010 and has served in municipal management off and on for more than 35 years. According to a report in the StarNews of Wilmington, the Oak Island town council selected Foster as town manager at its Tuesday night meeting by a 4-1 vote. He will be paid a salary of $95,000. Tuman said Oak Island will be gaining a good manager. Foster said he leaves grateful for his time in North Topsail Beach. Tuman said North Topsail Beach will immediately begin a search for a new manager.

Transitions: Bartow Co., GA; Cape May Co., NJ; Jefferson Co., WV and more

Peter Olson

Peter Olson

Bartow County, Georgia (population 100,157): Bartow County Commissioner-Elect Steve Taylor announced Thursday that Cartersville Attorney Peter Olson will serve as the next county administrator, according to The Daily Tribune News. As Taylor prepares to take office in January, Olson will fill the role of retiring County Administrator Steve Bradley. After 19 years in the role, Bradley will retire in January alongside Commissioner Clarence Brown. In his stead will be Peter Olson, an attorney of 18 years focusing in the areas of zoning and land law, local government law, real property and business litigation. Olson has worked regularly with the county in recent years and serves as city attorney for Kingston and Resaca. Taylor looked to name an administrator quickly after the election to afford the necessary time for transition. Olson has already begun conversations with Brown and Bradley and will be involved with budget preparations in the coming months, but many of the position’s responsibilities will coincide with tasks Olson has performed as outside counsel. Olson was born outside of Chicago and raised near Montgomery, Ala., before receiving his bachelors degree from Vanderbilt University in 1989 and a juris doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992. A summary of professional accomplishments was included in a statement released Thursday. Taylor interviewed local and outside candidates for the position, but said he kept returning to Olson for his skill and experience along with his knowledge of local government. Just as Olson has, Bradley too came from a background in law, serving as co-counsel for the county at a local firm before stepping into the role of county administrator. After 16 years in Cartersville, Olson stepped out on his own earlier this year to begin a new firm. Taking the role as administrator, he will now begin the process of closing his practice and helping clients through the transition. Olson and his wife, Ellyn, have two children: Grey, 7, and Eden, 4.

Cape May County, New Jersey (population 97,265): Edmund Grant Jr. will remain as director of operations for Cape May County indefinitely, said Freeholder director Gerald Thornton, according to The Middle Township Gazette. Grant replaced county administrator Stephen O’Connor, who left to become the interim executive director of the South Jersey Economic Development District. Grant came on board in May after retiring as the county’s treasurer earlier this year. In May, Thornton said putting Grant into the position would give freeholders time to decide what duties the county administrator position should have. As director of operations, Grant oversees the day-to-day workings of county government. He directs a staff of management, professional and administrative personnel and puts in place orders and policies of the Cape May County Board of Freeholders, strategic planning and policy oversight. Since Grant assumed administrator duties, some lingering issues in county government were discovered and taken care of, Thornton said. Thornton put it down to having a “new set of eyes” heading county government. One of the issues was having around the Cape May Airport in LowerTownship cleaned up. That work included cleaning around the Fare Free Transportation buses, he said. Grant also started a wellness program in an effort to reduce county government costs, Thornton said. Employees will learn about living healthier lifestyles, nutrition and more. Thornton did not know how much would be saved. He said county’s insurance company is on board with the idea. The program was expected to kick off Tuesday, Sept. 11. Middle management training will also be started, which will include some employees getting a review of managing and of budgets in a classroom setting, Thornton said. Grant was Cape May County’s chief financial officer for 17 years and county purchasing agent from 1986 until 1994. He also used to be a mayor in Wildwood and council president.

Jefferson County, West Virginia (population 53,498): Debbie Keyser, Jefferson County’s interim administrator since May, moved to permanent status Thursday following a unanimous vote by all five county commissioners, according to the Herald-Mail. Keyser was hired in April as the county’s first full-time human resources director. Less than a month later the commissioners named her interim administrator to replace Sandra Slusher McDonald in the temporary slot. McDonald was chosen in January to take over the duties after County Administrator Tim Boyde resigned. Keyser worked for more than 20 years in human resources administration for two private firms. According to McDonald, Keyser was one of 35 applicants for the Jefferson County job. Three were interviewed. Noland said Keyser’s human resource experience is a plus in her duties as county administrator. Keyser plans to move to Jefferson County after she sells her house in Berkeley County. She will be responsible for an annual county budget of $26 million and 1,870 county employees. Her salary as interim administrator, $97,750, won’t change with her new permanent status.

Fulton County, Illinois (population 37,069): Fulton County Administrator Mike Hays is out, according to the Journal Star. A last-minute attempt to extend his contract until Nov. 30 resulted in a 9-9 vote at Tuesday’s County Board meeting. That means the measure was defeated, and Hays’ last day is Thursday. The “challenging environment” was the topic of discussion more than once Tuesday night. Board member Del Parson had pointed questions for finance committee chairman Neil Williams about a request to hire a part-time administrative clerk. Williams said the hiring freeze means the board will “scrutinize” a vacant position and determine whether it is necessary. The money is in the budget for an administrative clerk, who will be even more necessary if Hays is gone. Nevertheless, that position was approved before the request to extend Hays’ contract was shot down. And the extension request itself raised similar concerns. Even the roll call was puzzling, since board member Roger Clark’s name was not called. He did, eventually, vote, and cast one of the votes in favor of Hays’ extension. The other yes votes were Conklin, Garry Hensley, Vicki Hoke, Ed Ketcham, who introduced the motion to extend the contract, Rod Malott, Doug Manock, Terry Pigg and Larry Taff. Voting against the extension were George Hall, Helle, Linda Hudson, Ed Huggins, Parson, Merl Pettet, Doreen Shaw, John Taylor and Williams. While it would appear Fulton County is in the somewhat unusual position of approving a position to be hired by a county administrator who no longer exists, Fulton County Clerk Jim Nelson said that is not a problem. He explained that those duties had been handled by elected officials before Fulton County hired its first county administrator in 2007. He anticipates the elected officials will redistribute the work again.

Hazleton, Pennsylvania (population 25,340): Hazleton City’s administrative department will soon have a new leader, according to the Standard Speaker. Mary Ellen Lieb notified the mayor of her intent to retire as acting director of administration, a position she has held for the past four years.

Swansea, Illinois (population 13,430): Village Administrator John Openlander has resigned to take a job as a city administrator in another state, according to the News-Democrat. Mayor Jim Rauckman said Openlander turned in his resignation letter Wednesday. In his resignation letter, Openlander said he has accepted a city administrator position in another state. Openlander’s contract with the village was set to expire in April at the end of Rauckman’s current mayoral term. The village administrator’s appointment runs concurrent with the mayor’s term. The contract requires Openlander give the village 60 days notice upon his resignation. His last day with the village will be Nov. 9. Rauckman said he and village trustees will discuss how the village should proceed with filling Openlander’s position. Swansea Village Board is likely to formally accept Openlander’s resignation during its board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Swansea Government Center.

Lampasas, Texas (population 6,681): Llano City Manager Finley deGraffenried will serve as the new Lampasas city manager, according to KWTX. DeGraffenried takes the place of Michael Stoldt, who was fired just over a year ago for “in-house reasons.” In June, the city selected David Vela as a finalist for the position but he turned it down after failing to come to terms with the city council on salary and other terms of employment. Interim City Manager Stacy Brack has been filling the position temporarily since last August. DeGraffenried will give the City of Llano about a month’s notice before working in Lampasas full-time October 15. The city says deGraffenried’s experience with various management projects and his social skills make him a good match for the city.

Bulverde, Texas (population 5,478): Bulverde City Councilmembers unexpectedly voted four to one Tuesday to terminate City Administrator John Hobson’s contract effective immediately, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Mayor Bill Krawietz said the action to fire Hobson, which came after an executive session, was a surprise to him after Councilman Kirk Harrison asked weeks ago to put a personnel matter on Tuesday’s agenda. Shane Reynolds was the only councilman to vote against the motion. However, Krawietz said, council members reviewed Hobson’s performance during Tuesday’s executive session and concluded they had to terminate his contract. Hobson was hired as the city administrator in June 2006. His current base salary is $88,155 plus a monthly $400 car allowance, according to City Finance Director Ginger Hofstetter. City Attorney Frank Garza said Hobson’s contract was for an indefinite term. Including sick leave and vacation pay, Hobson’s severance will amount to $78,000 before taxes. Harrison said the council did not make the decision lightly. Hobson said council’s action Tuesday was unexpected. Krawietz said Hofstetter will assume Hobson’s duties until the city hires a new administrator.

Scandia, Minnesota (population 3,936): Kristina Handt, former village administrator of Luck, Wisc., will be Scandia’s city administrator, according to the Forest Lake TimesHandt will start work on Monday, Sept. 17. At their Tuesday, Aug. 28 work session the council voted to hire Handt at a salary of $70,000 per year. Current Administrator Anne Hurlburt will retire the first week of October. Handt has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, training from the Minnesota Paralegal Institute, and a master’s degree in advocacy and political leadership from the University of Minnesota. She held the Luck job from September 2008 to July 2012, supervising nine full-time and 33 part-time employees. At Luck, Handt said, there are only 11 miles of road to care for, compared to 90 miles in Scandia.  Funding for roads doubled while she was the village administrator, including grants. She has experience with city septic systems.  In Luck, she said, one system serves most of the village, but there are others around the lake, installed to improve lake quality. Before working in Luck, Handt was a legislative assistant for MN State Sen. Gary Kubly for four years. She had internships at the city of Minnestrista  in 2007 and Grassroots Solutions, a consulting firm, in 2006. In 2002 and 2003 she worked for Kohl’s Department Stores, as a personnel/operations area supervisor and then as a district auditor. In 1999 and 2000 she interned for U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar and State Sen. Steve Murphy.

Goliad, Texas (population 1,908): The Goliad city administrator is resigning, pending acceptance of a city manager position in Guthrie, Okla, according to the Victoria Advocate. Goliad City Council is set to discuss the pending resignation Tuesday, but Sereniah Breland said it is not official until the Guthrie City Council votes to hire her, also on Tuesday. Mayor Jay Harvey said the Goliad City Council has plans to name an interim city administrator at Tuesday’s meeting. Breland has been with Goliad for almost two years. Harvey said she has many accomplishments, such as implementing code enforcement and building inspections in Goliad. He said Breland also tried to create a municipal court for Goliad. Her last day will be Oct. 9, according to her resignation letter. Guthrie, which has a population of about 10,000, is in central Oklahoma.

Transitions: Santa Clarita, Ventura, and Chico, California and more

Ken Pulskamp

Ken Pulskamp

Santa Clarita, California (population 176,320): Ken Pulskamp, who helped shape the city of Santa Clarita in its infancy and later served a decade as city manager, announced Monday he will retire in December from his $251,000-a-year job, according to the Contra Costa Times. Pulskamp outlined his plans in a three-page letter to Mayor Frank Ferry and the City Council in which he lauded the commitment of community leaders and public officials. Pulskamp was recruited in 1988 as the No. 2 to then-City Manager George Caravalho, for whom he’d worked in Bakersfield. Santa Clarita had incorporated the year before, and the two collaborated in developing the new city’s roads, trails, parks and transportation systems, along with a municipal government. Pulskamp’s letter noted that Santa Clarita has had to deal with 11 federally declared disasters, most notably the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. In a phone interview, Pulskamp expressed pride in how city leaders responded to the 6.7-magnitude temblor. The City Council promoted Pulskamp in 2003, after Caravalho took a job in Riverside. Pulskamp was honored last year by the League of California Cities, and he was also the only city manager to serve on the National Homeland Security Consortium, a public-private task force. Retiring at age 56 will allow Pulskamp to spend more time with his family and pursue hobbies – activities that were previously overtaken by meetings at City Hall and throughout the community. However, he relishes the years spent in the public sector and said he hopes his successor has a similar experience.

Ventura, California (population 106,433): Rick Cole, Ventura’s city manager since 2004, will leave his job Sept. 15 after parting ways with the City Council, according to the Los Angeles Times. Cole came to Ventura after serving as city manager in Azusa and 12 years on Pasadena’s City Council. He was Pasadena’s mayor from 1992 to 1994. In Cole’s years as Ventura’s top appointed official, the city undertook a number of controversial measures. Parking meters were installed downtown and a popular library branch was shut. Officials enforced building and safety codes more stringently, but Cole’s critics said enforcement was arbitrary and unreasonable. Cole also guided the city’s government through the recession, eliminating nearly 100 city positions. In a statement, Mayor Mike Tracy, the city’s former police chief, praised Cole for “making the hard choices that have ensured that Ventura has lived within our means during tough economic times.” Cole offered to resign after receiving a negative performance review earlier this summer. He said he plans to stay in Ventura.

Chico, California (population 86,187): Regularly described as dedicated, Dave Burkland has meetings scheduled up until he leaves his third-floor office — and his position as city manager — at 5 p.m. Friday, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record. Burkland, 60, is retiring after five years as city manager and a total of 20 working for the city of Chico. At 5 p.m., he will head to a barbecue in his honor. Once Burkland has said his thanks and farewells, he plans to go on a road trip northwest with his wife, Joanne Reinhard. Brian Nakamura, who was Hemet’s city manager, will take over Chico’s top job. Anastacia Snyder, the executive director of Catalyst Domestic Violence Services, said Burkland was one of the nonprofit’s biggest advocates since it started and played a big role in getting a new facility built in 2010. Mayor Ann Schwab said she feels like she and Burkland complemented each other well, representing the city together. Schwab said Burkland is calm and approachable but he stands up for what is right. She said it has been reassuring to work with someone who doesn’t let their emotions get in the way of finding the best solution. As city manager, Burkland said he was proud he and staff presented the Chico City Council with a balanced budget during rough economic times. Burkland said one of the most challenging issues he faced during his career was medical marijuana, with the pressure from dispensaries, patients and the federal government. He said it was also difficult dealing with employee issues and the number of complaints from residents and visitors. Burkland said during his career at the city, he learned to not “overpromise,” to instead say he will try to do the best he can. Senior Councilman Scott Gruendl said he feels the city was lucky to have Burkland. Gruendl thinks Burkland’s expertise helped the city build a lot of low- and moderate-income housing bringing economic stimulus to Chico. He also thinks the good relationship Burkland had with employees paid off when almost all of the unions agreed to take salary and benefit cuts in order to close a deficit, Gruendl said. Though Burkland has had a number of job offers, he plans to take about six months to a year before deciding what his next career path will be, he said. Burkland will have more time to play volleyball, ride his offroad motorcycle, learn how to fly fish and more, he said. He said he is encouraged that he is seeing signs of economic recovery.

Troy, Michigan (population 80,980): After weeks of reviewing resumes and interviewing applicants for the Troy city manager’s job, the City Council needed just seven minutes to make a final decision Thursday, Mayor Janice Daniels said, according to the Detroit Free Press. Councilman Dave Henderson initially voted for Farmington City Manager Vincent Pastue, then changed his vote to show unanimous support for Kischnik, according to a recording of the meeting. Other finalists included Oakland Township Manager Jim Creech and Troy Director of Community and Economic Planning Mark Miller. Daniels called the choice of Kischnick “a wonderful fresh start,” on the heels of Troy being named one of the top 100 places to live in the country by CNN/Money magazine. If Kischnick accepts Troy’s offer, he will replace interim City Manager Mike Culpepper, who held the position following the resignation of John Szerlag in May.

Coon Rapids, Minnesota (population 61,476): Public Services Director Steve Gatlin has moved into the city manager position in Coon Rapids, a month after Matt Fulton’s resignation, according to the Star Tribune. Gatlin, 62, came to the city as public works director in 1998. Since 2005, he’s served as public services director, with responsibility for community development, engineering and public works. In an interview Friday, Gatlin said he’s committed to preserving and improving neighborhoods and to encouraging redevelopment along Coon Rapids Boulevard. In the coming months, he said, the north metro city of 63,000 likely will be considering Phase 2 development around the Coon Rapids Ice Arena, some iteration of the long-held community center concept. The city also will be completing its master plan for parks and recreation. Gatlin said the city is strengthened by the stability of its longtime residents, and the surprising small-town feel for such a large city. A strong infrastructure, he said, also has the city primed for redevelopment.

Jefferson County, West Virginia (population 53,498): During its meeting Thursday, the Jefferson County Commission unanimously voted to appoint Debbie Keyser to the position of county administrator, according to The Journal-News. Keyser had been serving as interim county administrator since late April after being hired as a part-time human resources consultant last year. Before coming to Jefferson County, Keyser worked as the HR director for a large private company and was involved in setting strategic goals and directions for the company. She said the transition from the private sector to the public sector has gone smoothly to this point. While the county still has to finalize Keyser’s job description, Jefferson County Commission President Patsy Noland expects the county administrator position to handle most HR duties the county has. It also was beneficial for the commission to be able to work with Keyser over the past months and see her perform in an interim capacity, Noland added. Keyser’s pay rate will be that of a “Grade A Step One” employee, or $97,764 per year, according to Noland. The County Commission previously advertised twice for applicants to fill the county administrator position vacated by Tim Boyde in January. Deputy County Administrator Sandy Slusher McDonald served as acting county administrator from Jan. 13 until Keyser’s appointment to the interim position.

Stanton, California (population 38,186): The choosing of a new city manager who is a familiar face is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the Stanton City Council, according to The Garden Grove Journal. In the wake of the resignation of Carol Jacobs as the city’s top executive effective Sept. 6, the council is expected to hire James “Jim” Box to fill that post. Box is the current assistant city manager and director of parks and recreation. Jacobs will become city manager of the Riverside County city of Eastvale. That city is located near Corona, was incorporated in 2010 and has a population of around 53,000 people, compared to Stanton’s 38,000. Stanton does not have its own police and fire departments, instead contracting with county agencies for those services.

Brentwood, Tennessee (population 37,163): For the past 22 years, Brentwood City Manager Mike Walker has led the city through multiple zoning, budgetary and infrastructure issues, according to The Tennessean. Come January, Walker will retire, he announced at Monday night’s City Commission meeting. He began work at Brentwood in May 1990, said City Recorder Debbie Hedgepath. A 1977 graduate of the University of Tennessee with a master’s degree in business administration, he came to Brentwood after fulfilling the role of temporary city manager for Oak Ridge. The Tennessee City Management Association named Walker Manager of the Year in 2005 and he served as chairman of the University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service Advisory Committee this year. In a letter announcing his retirement, Walker said he’d leave the city manager position on Jan. 25. No one has been selected yet to fill his position, Hedgepath said. The year Walker arrived, Brentwood had a property tax increase but there has not been one since that time. Brentwood is among only 2 percent of local governments in the country to receive an Aaa rating from Moody’s Investors Service and AAA ratings from Standard and Poor’s, which makes the city attractive to investors and allows Brentwood to receive favorable interest rates.

Hobbs, New Mexico (population 34,122): Former Wilkes-Barre Administrator J.J. Murphy has landed a new job as city manager in Hobbs, N.M., according to The Citizens’ VoiceMurphy said he will leave Wilkes-Barre and move almost 2,000 miles away to New Mexico, where he will earn $140,000 a year. He will replace Eric Honeyfield, who retired in June. Murphy, 41, a married father of five daughters, said he plans to move to Hobbs right away to find housing. He said his children are his No. 1 priority and his family will move there after the school semester is over. Murphy said he was chosen following a national search with more than 50 candidates. Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday. Murphy said Hobbs is a similar city to Wilkes-Barre in some ways, such as its size. Hobbs has a population of about 43,000, while Wilkes-Barre has a population of more than 41,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Murphy served seven years as city administrator under Mayor Tom Leighton and two years as deputy administrator under former Mayor Tom McGroarty. He was the center of controversy on some city issues, such as being paid $300 an hour as a consultant for the Wilkes-Barre Parking Authority and recommending the city hire the Fox Rothschild law firm to put together proposals and oversee the process. One of the firm’s partners is his brother, Patrick Murphy. Murphy also faced criticism after the city spent more than $14,000 to install security systems at his home and in Leighton’s home. In February, state prosecutors threw out four private criminal complaints about the matter, and the state Attorney General’s Office determined that Leighton and Murphy would not face criminal charges. Murphy called the complaint a “campaign issue” during an election year and would not comment further. Murphy is a 1993 graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He earned his masters degree in public administration from Marywood University in Scranton in 1998. He served in the United States Air Force and was deployed to Africa in 2008 and Haiti in 2010. He continues to serve in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He and his wife Colleen live in Wilkes-Barre with their five daughters, Katie, Erin, Emma, Ryan and Reese. Murphy’s accomplishments as city administrator include technological advances in city hall. He was project manager for a $3 million initiative to install more than 250 surveillance cameras throughout the city. The cameras have been used to catch criminals, Murphy said. He said he hopes the cameras will help bring closure to the family of hit-and-run victim Rebecca McCallick, who was killed July 24 on Hazle Street. Murphy also coordinated the Healing Field at Kirby Park in 2004, which consisted of more than 4,000 flags which honored people who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and military members who have died fighting since.

Winter Haven, Florida (population 33,874): Winter Haven City Manager Dale Smith announced Monday night that he will retire as city manager at the end of January, according to The Ledger. Smith, a 34-year city employee who has been city manager for about 2 1/2 years, recommended that Assistant City Manager Deric Feacher take his position, but he deferred to the commission to make its own decision. Smith’s announcement was met with a loud applause from commissioners, staff and others at the meeting. It is unclear Monday night when or how the process to hire a new city manager would begin. Mayor J.P. Powell said after the meeting that he would get with Smith to get the ball rolling. Powell lauded Smith for his leadership of the city during a time when falling housing prices have drastically cut the city’s revenue. Smith, 64, said after the meeting he looks forward to spending more time at a home he and his wife own in the Smoke Mountains and work on hot rods, specifically the 1965 Chevy Nova SS that Smith left a skid mark with when it was the first car to officially use the city’s new downtown parking garage. Smith told commissioners he recommended Feacher because of the time Feacher has served as assistant city manager. Feacher was promoted to the position in February after having held the title of assistant to the city manager. Feacher started his career with the city 10 years ago as the supervisor at the Winter Haven Recreation and Cultural Center. He has been the assistant to the city manager for about four years. Smith became city manager on Jan. 25, 2010, when a single motion accepted then city manager David Greene’s resignation and promoted Smith all at once. Smith, 61, was hired in 1978. He began his career with the city as director of engineering. He became the public works director in 1980. He served as interim city manager in 2000. In 2001, Smith became special projects manager and about 2004 was named assistant city manager.

Peachtree Corners, Georgia (population 31,704): The Mayor and City Council saved the best for last at Tuesday night’s Peachtree Corners City Council meeting with the announcement that a new City Manager had been named, according to the GwinnettPatch. Julian Jackson, the former City Manager for the City of Monroe has been tapped to lead Gwinnett’s newest city. Shortly after reconvening from a short executive session, Mayor Mike Mason made the announcement. Julian Jackson, a 14-year veteran with the City of Monroe, said he was delighted to be selected for the position. Jackson will officially begin on Oct. 1, 2012. The new City Manager will join Diana Wheeler, who was hired as the Community Development Director. Wheeler officially began her duties on Aug. 27.

Clermont, Florida (population 29,359): Clermont has hired its new City Manager — and he’s a familiar face, according to CFNEWS13. Darren Gray will leave his job as Lake County Manager to take over the top spot in Clermont beginning October 15. Gray was Clermont’s assistant city Manager until last year. Clermont’s City Council approved a package Tuesday night that will pay him $150,000 a year — similar to the pay he was receiving from the county. The city also changed its retirement agreement with outgoing City Manager Wayne Saunders. Saunders was set to retire in January and receive one year’s pay for consulting services. Now, he’ll retire after 27 years in October and be paid until May. Saunders announced his retirement after protests of his handling of the police department. The city’s police chief has since been suspended and the Council will meet Wednesday night to hire an independent consulting firm to investigate the police department.

Door County, Wisconsin (population 27,785): The Door County Board agreed with the Administrative Committee’s recommendation Tuesday officially hiring Maureen Murphy as the county’s new Administrator, according to the Door County Daily News. Murphy says she’s looking forward to getting started and meeting lots of people. Murphy will start work October 1st with an annual salary of about $87,000. She replaces former county administrator Michael Serpe in the position. Murphy comes to Door County from six years as village administrator in Slinger, WI.

Wentzville, Missouri (population 27,070): George Kolb, who has 40 years of city management experience around the country, has been picked as Wentzville’s new interim city administrator, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Kolb’s resume includes work as city manager for Wichita, Kan. Until earlier this year he was assistant city manager in Surprise, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb. Kolb will serve until the Board of Aldermen hires a new permanent administrator. Aldermen have been unable for the past year to decide on someone to succeed the former administrator, Dianna Wright. Since Wright left last August, Dennis Walsh, the assistant administrator and city finance director, has filled in as interim administrator along with  his regular duties. The hiring of Kolb will allow Walsh to focus more fully on his finance and budget work, according to a city news release. Kolb was hired through Interim Public Management LLC. Under a contract with the company approved by aldermen last week, the firm forwarded several candidates for the interim post and aldermen picked Kolb. Under the deal, the city will pay the company $3,100 per week plus business and lodging expenses and provide a city vehicle for use on city business. Kolb will be considered a city consultant. At its meeting last week, aldermen also hired another company, Mercer Group, to help find a permanent administrator.

Kent County, Maryland (population 20,197): The Kent County Commissioners have engaged Ernest A. Crofoot to serve in a dual capacity as Kent County Administrator and in-house County Attorney upon the retirement of County Administrator Susanne Hayman in December 2012, according to The Chestertown Spy. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University (A.S., Accounting) and the University of Baltimore School of Law (J.D., cum laude, Heisler Honor Society, 1982), Mr. Crofoot started his legal career in Denton, Maryland, serving as law clerk to The Honorable Marvin H. Smith, Associate Judge, court of Appeals of Maryland (July 1982 – August 1983). Thereafter, until 1992, Mr. Crofoot practiced with two large Baltimore law firms, concentrating in tax, municipal finance, business, corporate and transactional matters. Following a brief time in solo practice, Mr. Crofoot was appointed in 1993 as County Attorney for Harford County, where he was responsible for all civil legal affairs of that jurisdiction. In November 1998, he joined the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office, where he was responsible for contract review, represented procurement and information technology departments, and served as legal counsel to the Montgomery County Revenue Authority. In June 2000, he served as General Counsel to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, the water and wastewater utility serving Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. From September 2002 to February 2005, Mr. Crofoot served as Chief Solicitor in the Baltimore City Department of Law, where he managed a number of significant matters, including renegotiation of a major cable franchise, claims against the City’s Police Department, and representation of certain boards and activities, including the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. In 2008, after four years of service as a partner in the law firm of Funk & Bolton, P.A., he was appointed in-house County Attorney for Caroline County, where he serves currently. Mr. Crofoot is admitted to practice law in Maryland, and in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States Supreme Court, and the U.S. Tax Court. He is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association and former Chair of its State and Local Government Section. He also served two years as the state representative for the International Municipal Lawyers Association. He is active in the Maryland Association of Counties and its County Civil Attorneys Affiliate. Mr. Crofoot presently serves as an Academy Advisor and ethics lecturer of the University of Maryland Institute for Governmental Service and Research in its Academy for Excellence in Local Governance. Current professional service also includes membership in the Peer Review Panel of the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission. Mr. Crofoot is a former adjunct professor of law at the University of Baltimore Law School and at Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University). His public service has included extensive service for the non-profit Relay Children’s Center in BaltimoreCounty and the United Way of Caroline County.

Fort Walton Beach, Florida (population 19,992): The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to hire Michael Beedie as the new city manager, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News. Beedie has served as the acting city manager since May 8. Just before the council was set to discuss which of four finalists for the post to interview, Councilman Trey Goodwin proposed giving the job to Beedie. Councilman Bobby Griggs agreed and said he’s been pleased with Beedie’s leadership. Beedie has worked for the city for seven and a half years. He started as a staff engineer and worked his way up to city engineer and engineering and utility director. Beedie was one of four finalists that included Anthony Matheny, director of planning and community development in Quincy; Matthew Schwartz, former city manager in Bay Village; and Robert J. Bartolotta, former city manager in Sarasota. Beedie’s hiring was met with a round of applause at the meeting. Beedie replaces former City Manager Bob Mearns, who was abruptly fired in early May. Some council members said they were unhappy with Mearns’ management style and had received complaints from employees about his attitude.

St. Helens, Oregon (population 12,883): John Walsh has been named city administrator, according to the Coast River Business Journal. He replaces Chad Olsen, who left in January to become city manager position in Carlton, Ore. Walsh was Myrtle Point’s city manager for the past three years. He was chosen from a pool of 71 applicants. Walsh is a graduate of Western Washington University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in geography and urban planning. He is studying for a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University.

Fortuna, California (population 11,926): The Fortuna City Council will welcome new City Manager Regan Candelario, according to the Times-StandardCandelario comes to Fortuna from Guadalupe, a small city in northern Santa Barbara County, where he served as the city administrator.

Cedartown, Georgia (population 9,750): A reception was held Tuesday afternoon at Cedartown City Hall for departing City Manage Robbie Rokovitz, who has accepted a position with the City of Hiram, according to The Cedartown Standard. City employees, elected officials and representatives from a variety of local businesses and public agencies stopped by to wish Rokovitz well. Also on hand for the event was incoming Cedartown City Manage Bill Fann, who has been promoted from the position of city public works director and assistant city manager to the city’s top salaried position. Cedartown City Commission Chairperson Dale Tuck said the city is in the middle of some complicated planning tasks, including preparation of the next year’s budget. Commissioners decided to promote from within the city’s ranks, with confidence that Fann has the expertise and on-hand knowledge needed to lead the city going forward. Fann’s new position pays a salary of $75,000 a year, which commissioners said is competitive for the northwest Georgia region and also comparable to the private sector. The position includes managing a workforce that is currently at 106 city employees. Rokovitz has been with the city for nearly two years. He was hired in October 2010 at a starting salary of $79,000. Fann has been with the city for about eight months. He was hired as public works director after previously serving as police chief and in the city administration in Piedmont, Ala. for many years. Fann’s promotion officially takes place Friday, which is also the effective day of Rokovitz’s resignation.

Monmouth, Illinois (population 9,444): The top employee in the City of Monmouth is stepping down and moving to Iowa, according to WGIL. Eric Hanson announced in a press release Tuesday that he’s resigning at City Administrator in Monmouth, to become City Manager in Indianola, Iowa, beginning October 15th. Hanson became City Administrator in Monmouth for five years, and a press release touts things like the development of areas including the new Walgreens store, the Monmouth Crossing retail area, and new police and fire stations, a new wastewater treatment plant, and other things. In the press release, Hanson calls the move bittersweet, but one that allows him to work in another growing area. Hanson, a graduate of Monmouth College, was formerly an employee of the local University of Illinois Extension area, and a former mayor of Cambridge in Henry County, among other tasks. Indianola, Iowa has a population of about 15-thousand people, and is south of Des Moines. His salary will be 134-thousand dollars a year. Hanson did not return calls seeking an interview on his move. A City statement doesn’t say when his last day will be with Monmouth.

Delta, Colorado (population 8,915): The Delta City Council has offered the city manager position to Justin Clifton, former town manager of Bayfield, a community of 2,300 in the southwest corner of the state, according to the Delta County Independent. Council is in the process of final negotiations with Clifton and, if successful, will consider adopting an employment contract at a future city council meeting. Clifton, 35, is a graduate of Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins and attended Fort Lewis College in Durango. He earned a bachelor of science degree in political science and philosophy, then pursued a master of arts degree in public policy from the University of Colorado at Denver. Council member Mary Cooper said she was struck by Clifton’s enthusiasm. Clifton does not have a great deal of experience, which was a focus of “long, hard” discussion among council members. Ultimately council was unanimous in its decision to offer the position to Clifton, Cooper reports. Clifton resigned his position in Bayfield in March 2011 to travel the world with his girlfriend. During his tenure as town manager, according to the Durango Herald, Clifton oversaw the improvement of the town’s water treatment infrastructure, the town’s takeover and overhaul of the Bayfield Sanitation District, the construction of a new town hall, senior center and public works building, and helped the town secure more than $8 million in grants. Because Clifton is currently unemployed, council members anticipate he’ll be able to start the job soon after contract negotiations have been completed.

Middlebury, Vermont (population 8,496): Middlebury Town Manager Bill Finger stepped down from his job on Friday, Aug. 31, and was succeeded by Assistant Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay, according to the Addison County Independent. It’s an administrative transition that was scripted by the Middlebury selectboard a year ago. That’s when Ramsay returned to Middlebury to the same post she had vacated in 2007 in order to become Pittsford town manager. In 2008, she became Killington’s top administrator. Knowing that Finger was getting close to retiring, Middlebury officials talked to Ramsay about a 2011 return with a promotion to town manager in 2012. She accepted, and the metaphorical changing of the guard occurred last week, after the selectboard formally offered her a three-year contract. Ramsay and Finger have worked closely to make for a smooth succession. Ramsay, 47, has attended many municipal subcommittee meetings, such as those dealing with municipal gym repairs, proposed new town offices and a soon-to-be hired business development director — issues at the forefront of the selectboard’s agenda. A long tenure would continue a tradition of longevity enjoyed by her most immediate predecessors, Betty Wheeler and Bill Finger. Finger, now 67, was hired as town manager in 2000 after having served in that same capacity in other Vermont communities, including Shelburne. Meanwhile, town officials are crediting Finger with some stellar stewardship during his tenure in Middlebury. It’s been during Finger’s administrative watch that Middlebury built a new downtown bridge and a new police station; the town is currently developing plans for a community center that would include new town offices. Middlebury’s two fire stations are currently being dramatically improved. It’s also a period during which the town has caught up on a lot of deferred maintenance on infrastructure, such as road, sidewalk and water system improvements. At the same time Finger, at the direction of the selectboard, has tried to keep the municipal tax rate in check — freezing it at one point for three consecutive years. Finger quickly points out that the aforementioned accomplishments were the product of many people and organizations working together. George served on the Middlebury committee that interviewed and recommended Finger for the town manager’s job back in 2000. He said he will look back on his time in Middlebury with fond memories. He leaves Middlebury with one major project still on the drawing board: A new municipal building/community center. Several ad hoc committees, an architect and the selectboard continue to hash out ideas for the new structure that could someday be built on the site of the current municipal building at the intersection of College and South Main streets. Finger believes the town is giving the proposed center a fair discussion and he is optimistic the project will come to fruition. Though he is stepping down as town manager, Finger won’t be leaving the area. He plans to remain a resident of Lincoln “for the foreseeable future.” There, he will tend to various home improvement projects while staying involved in local and regional nonprofit causes — such as the Weathervane United elderly housing complex in Lincoln and the Friends of West Rutland Town Hall. He is also receptive to fielding occasional assignments that the Middlebury selectboard might throw his way in the future. But following his last day on the job, he plans to take a breather.

Avon, Colorado (population 6,447): The Avon Town Council this week made the final move to hire a new town manager, according to the Vail Daily. Virginia Egger, now the top administrator for the city of Sun Valley, Idaho, will start work in Avon Dec. 1. The council Tuesday approved an employment agreement with Egger that calls for annual pay of $143,000 per year, plus $1,000 per month for a housing and auto allowance. Egger was one or more than 100 people who applied for the job. The top five candidates were interviewed in Avon, and all spent time with town employees, other town managers and, of course, town council members. This is Egger’s second stint working in Sun Valley, where she also worked between 2004 and 2007. She was also town manager of Telluride from 1986 — 1994. She has also worked in for private and non-profit organizations in Colorado, Idaho and New York. She was executive director of the Telluride Mountain Film Festival and was first head of the Telluride Mountain School.

Indian Hill, Ohio (population 5,907): In the coming year, a new era will begin in Indian Hill, as City Manager Mike Burns announced he is retiring after more than 20 years with the village, according to The Community Press & Recorder. During the Indian Hill Village Council meeting Aug. 27, Burns announced he plans to retire Jan. 18, ending a 23-year career as city manager for Indian Hill. Burns said he notified council previously, but wanted to make it official during the meeting. He is only the fifth city manager in Indian Hill’s history, and served the longest tenure of anyone. Mayor Mark Tullis suggested council vote on the retirement notice, soliciting laughter from councilmembers. Despite the announcement, Burns pressed on with council business, noting he would have more to say as Jan. 18 approaches. Tullis said the village has hired a search firm that will narrow the field of potential candidates to 10 to 15, at which point the candidates will be interviewed by a group of three council members. He said that process will lessen the field of candidates to three to five, at which point the entire Village Council will interview the candidates before choosing a successor. Tullis said the village hopes to have a new city manager in place by November, to allow the new hire to work alongside Burns for approximately two months before taking over the position.

High Springs, Florida (population 5,350): After a debate that stretched over the course of several months, the High Springs Commission decided on Thursday, Aug. 16, in a 3-2 vote, to begin advertisements for a new city manager, according to Alachua County Today. Vice Mayor Bob Barnas previously proposed moving forward with advertising at an earlier meeting on Aug. 9. During Thursday’s discussion, the motion to advertise passed with Barnas, Commissioner Linda Gestrin and Mayor Dean Davis voting in favor of the measure. According to the ad that will be placed in several newspapers and web sites, the City is looking for a new city manager until a closing date of Sept. 26. Applicants should have three to five years experience, as well as preferred experience in finance. Current City Manager Jeri Langman said she does not intend to apply for the position because she doesn’t think her application would be accepted. However, she did send a letter to the commission to correct what she believes are misconceptions spoken about her on the dais. Langman also states that when the commission made her a permanent manager, she acquired certain rights afforded to her by the High Springs City Charter. She claims that her termination and the removal of the rights must occur pursuant to the charter guidelines. Langman wrote in her letter that the rift between her and the commission started after she issued a press release calling for Barnas to resign because of several alleged charter violations on his part. Subsequently, the vice mayor appeared on radio talk shows stating he wanted Langman terminated, as well as trying to rally support for the action, Langman said. During the meeting on Aug. 9, Barnas announced in the final moments of the meeting that he wasn’t happy with Langman, and he claimed the memorandum of understanding, which outlines her terms of employment, stated that she was a temporary employee helping High Springs until a permanent manager could be brought on. However, there seems to be some disagreement among the commission on that point as Davis said during Thursday’s meeting that Langman was not temporary, but had been voted in as a permanent city manager. In an unannounced move by the commission at the Feb. 9, 2012 meeting, Langman made the transition from interim to permanent city manager. Commissioners Sue Weller and Scott Jamison take issue with the process the other three commissioners are taking to effect Langman’s removal from office, characterizing the action as unethical.  Weller has stated that the special meetings, originally scheduled as budget workshops, are not the place to discuss the future of the city manager. The matter should instead be placed on an agenda during a regular commission meeting. Citizens do not expect the future of their city manager to be discussed during a budget meeting, Weller said. Jamison argued that seeking a new hire for a position which an employee is currently occupying is wrong. In her letter, Langman detailed that the commission majority has left the City unable to balance the budget, especially in the face of grave economic times. The majority of the commission refuses to increase taxes, yet the City is struggling with sewer debt, the cost of bringing back a city run emergency dispatch enter and draining contingency funds.

Tisbury, Massachusetts (population 3,949): Tisbury selectmen, at their weekly meeting Tuesday, announced the departure of town administrator John Bugbee, according to The Martha’s Vineyard Times. Mr. Bugbee’s contract was to expire on June 30, 2013, but he will leave by the end of this year. The only indication of the town management shakeup was a notation on the agenda under new business, “Contract Negotiations.” Chairman Tristan Israel, the only current selectman who served on the board when Mr. Bugbee was hired in 2004, announced the change. A heavy silence followed Mr. Israel’s statement. Mr. Bugbee said nothing and appeared tense and uneasy. Selectman Jon Snyder made no comment. Selectman Jeff Kristal was off-Island and absent. The selectmen moved quickly to other business. The meeting, which began at 5 pm, ended a few minutes later, just before 6 pm, record time for Tisbury selectmen, whose meetings often last for hours. Tisbury selectmen chose Mr. Bugbee to be the town administrator on February 24, 2004. He assumed his duties on March 29 of that year. Prior to arriving in Tisbury, Mr. Bugbee had experience in public service as a former mayor’s aide in Newburyport and a legislative aide for former state Rep. Kevin Finnegan. A native of Sandwich, he completed his master’s degree in public administration from Bridgewater State College, after taking the job as Tisbury’s town administrator. His current contract runs from July 20, 2010, through June 29, 2013. Mr. Bugbee’s salary for fiscal year 2013 is $116,134.56 which is Step 7, the top step of the town’s managerial pay scale. Under the terms of the agreement, selectmen may terminate Mr. Bugbee at any time for any reason, without cause, in which case the town must pay him “through the balance of the contract term, but for not more than 60 calendar days.” For many of those sitting in the Katharine Cornell Theater Tuesday, and regular close observers of town affairs, the announcement was anti-climatic. News of the selectmen’s decision not to renew Mr. Bugbee’s contract and his early departure had circulated around town for days. Selectmen asked Mr. Bugbee to leave, and the only question was when, according to one source close to the discussions. Mr. Bugbee listed as pending projects the first round of Green Community grant purchases, the completion of the town’s ground-mounted solar array project, and the opening of the town’s new emergency services facility. Asked if he was surprised by the selectmen’s request that he leave before his contract expired, or if it had been under discussion some time, Mr. Bugbee declined to comment. Mr. Bugbee praised his co-workers. But it has not all been smooth sailing. In March, Tisbury’s board of registrars accused Mr. Bugbee of perjury and fraud after he claimed Tisbury residency in order to register to vote at the same time that he claimed residency in Fall River. Mr. Bugbee said it was a mistake. As the town’s chief personnel officer, Mr. Bugbee’s relationship with members of the police department was further strained following the selectmen’s decision to fire veteran police Sergeant Robert Fiske, at the conclusion of an internal investigation and review of the officer’s actions on July 23, 2011, when a young babysitter was left alone, following a domestic assault, and later raped. Asked to what extent recent events may have affected the selectmen’s decision to ask him to leave early, Mr. Bugbee had no clear answer. One of the projects Mr. Bugbee said he hopes to complete has to do with the town’s recent designation as a Green Community. Mr. Bugbee spearheaded Tisbury’s efforts last year to meet the five criteria required for a Green Community designation by the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The town was named a Green Community in July by Governor Deval Patrick, for which it received an energy efficiency grant from the state for $140,925. Tisbury and Edgartown are two of seven Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) member towns on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod where the cooperative will install solar PV systems. Tisbury plans a solar array at the site of its old landfill off State Road. The solar photovoltaic system will be constructed on 10 acres of town land near the Park and Ride lot, a project that mirrors those under way in many Massachusetts towns, to use capped landfills.

Park Rapids, Minnesota (population 3,709): Park Rapids City Administrator Bill Smith has resigned after accepting a position in Providence, Ky, according to the Park Rapids EnterpriseSmith has been city administrator in Park Rapids since June of 2008. His last day is Wednesday, Sept. 5 and he will start work as CEO of Regional Healthcare Affiliates in Providence, Ky. Monday, Sept. 10. Smith plans to formally announce his resignation at the Tuesday, Aug. 28 Park Rapids City Council meeting. The council will then need to figure out how it wants to proceed in filling the position.

Mansfield, Pennsylvania (population 3,625): A Tioga County official is retiring after more than three decades of service to his town, according to WETM. Ed Grala served as Mansfield Borough Manager for 25 years, and he worked for the Borough for 32 and a half years. Reflecting on his accomplishments as Borough Manager, there are few things Grala is particularly proud of:  Acquiring a new municipal building, expanding Mansfield’s sewage treatment plant, and turning the old armory into a YMCA. After today, no one will actually hold the title “borough manager.” His successors are Shawn Forrest, who will become Codes and Public Works Director, and Lynnette Hoyt, who will take over as Director of Finance and Administration. Together, they’ll have most of Grala’s responsibilities. The three of them, along with colleagues and friends, enjoyed a luncheon together celebrating his retirement. Colleagues say they’ll miss Grala, too. Grala worked on packing up his office Thursday afternoon. He says leaving is bittersweet.

Lanesboro, Massachusetts (population 2,496): Wellfleet’s Town Administrator Paul Sieloff has accepted the same post in Lanesborough, according to iBerkshires.com. The Board of Selectmen agreed to hire Sieloff as the town’s first full-time town administrator pending negotiations and a background check. The board interviewed three candidates but unanimously agreed on Sieloff. Sieloff has been Wellfleet’s town administrator since 2008. He was hired to work three days a week while commuting from his Albany, N.Y., home but that grew to four days a week. Earlier this year, he announced he was leaving Wellfleet to avoid the lengthy commute. His resume includes working as a budget analyst with the Albany County Office of Budget Analysis, village manager in Northport, N.Y., and Valley Stream, N.Y. Sieloff is a a licensed attorney in New York and has a master’s degree in political science with a concentration on state and local government. Sieloff was the unanimous pick of the board. Selectman Robert Barton said he contacted references and did a background check and all three candidates were consistent. Sieloff was up against Ashland’s Director of Community Development Matthew Selby and former West Springfield Mayor Edward Gibson. The town has budgeted between $60,000 and $70,000 for the position. Interim Town Administrator Joseph Kellogg said he will be available to help Sieloff transition into the position. The board also had his praise for his work on the search committee that narrowed 41 applications down to the final three candidates. The town’s last administrator, Paul Boudreau, was part time and resigned after 13 years earlier this year. Kellogg was appointed on a part-time interim basis. After a committee examined the town’s needs, the group suggested bumping the position up to full time. Voter approved the full-time position at a special town meeting in July.

Oxford, Georgia (population 2,134): Oxford city manager Clark Miller plans to retire this year, according to the Newton Citizen. He recently informed Mayor Jerry Roseberry and the council of his plans to retire until the city can find a replacement in the coming months. He said he’s dealing with some health and stress issues, so his doctor has suggested a change of lifestyle. Miller will be working on a limited schedule in the meantime. Oxford mayor Jerry Roseberry said Miller has been “a tremendous asset” to the city of Oxford. Miller became the city’s first city manager, when it changed its form of government in July 2011. Miller originally was hired as Oxford’s Chief of Police in 2008 and served in that position until being appointed the interim city clerk administrator and then city manager. He had retired as an administrative from the DeKalb County Police Department after 12 years before coming to Oxford. Roseberry said he anticipates that the city will have a new city manager in place within the next couple of months.

Glade Spring, Virgina (population 1,456): A mysterious string of events has led to the termination of Glade Spring’s town manager, Joshua Jones, and Chad Stanley, a maintenance worker. On Aug. 6, after nearly three hours in closed session, the town council voted to fire both men. It is not known whether the dismissals are connected. Personnel issues were not on the published agenda, but added after the council recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Jones’ termination appears to be abrupt, considering that he worked closely with Glade Spring Mayor Lee Coburn on numerous projects until his departure. However, Jones made a recent gaffe that could have serious consequences. In the spring, People Inc. submitted an application to the town for a conditional-use permit, seeking to construct a building in Glade to support the Head Start program. Jones approved it instead of redirecting it through the planning commission and the board of zoning appeals. Construction began in early summer without the required permissions. Jones apologized for his hasty approval at a council meeting July 2, and since then town has been trying to backtrack the building through the process. The planning commission voted to recommend approval of the building to the board of zoning appeals, but the zoning board has yet to approve it, because membership on the board has been in flux. Three of its five members’ terms are up, and Nancy Williams cannot continue on the BZA since winning a council seat. That gaffe, though, seems to have little to do with Jones’ departure from town. Councilman Joel Rudy said the situation with the People Inc. building was not discussed in the closed session pertaining to Jones’ employment. Mostly, though town officials are keeping mum on the firings, citing a Virginia law that allows personnel issues to be discussed in closed session. However, goings on around town are anything but business as usual. Coburn ordered the drug testing of all town employees, including those at the police department, on July 31. Testing ran for one week, and results were returned to the mayor on Aug. 16. Coburn also ordered the locks changed on all town property on Aug 3. Coburn would not say whether any refusals had been made to his testing request or if any tests returned positive for illegal substances.

Transitions: Lehigh County, PA; Henderson, NV; Blount County, AL and more

Lehigh County, Pennsylvania (population 349,497): Bill Hansell keeps landing in jobs no one elected him to, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t qualified to do them, according to The Morning Call. The new Lehigh County executive is a veteran of local government who vows to depoliticize the office during his short tenure, which will begin with his swearing-in Tuesday. His ascent, onlookers joke, makes him the Gerald Ford of local government. Hansell, a Democrat, was appointed a Lehigh County commissioner and later chose not to run for the seat. Less than a year later, on Aug. 8, the commissioners named him county executive to replace Don Cunningham, who resigned to run the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. Ford famously became vice president and then president without benefit of the ballot box. That Hansell, who is 75 and declares himself an unapologetic New Deal liberal, managed to garner that appointment speaks to his ability to deliver despite the ideological rift between him and the board’s most conservative members. That may be his key strength. Vic Mazziotti, a member of the board’s conservative reform slate, was absolute in his opposition to Hansell because of that deep political divide. Over two weeks, Hansell flipped Mazziotti, who joined in on what would be a unanimous vote. Hansell said that in conversations with Mazziotti, he stressed their shared vision of how government should be run. For the next 16 months, Hansell pledges to be a manager, not a politician. Early in his career, Hansell was borough manager in Catasauqua and then South Whitehall Township manager. He’s served as business administrator for Allentown and worked for 20 years with the International City/County Management Association. Commissioners have praised him for his encyclopedic knowledge of local government rules, structure and obligations. He helped write Northampton County and Easton’s home rule charters. Hansell was raised by deeply Catholic, Great Depression-era parents. He attended the University of Pennsylvania on a full scholarship based on merit and a disability — he has little vision in his left eye. His mother stayed home while his father worked three jobs, including as a firefighter for the security of a pension. In Mazziotti’s initial opposition to Hansell, he warned that the candidate’s philosophical positions are “diametrically opposed” to his and other members of the board, which is 7-2 Republican. As a commissioner, for example, Hansell voted for the 16 percent tax increase in the 2011 budget that energized the board’s new conservative slate to unseat commissioners who supported that plan. Rolling back that tax increase would be the centerpiece of their campaigns. Hansell, however, reassured Mazziotti that to the extent possible, “99.9 percent,” he would function as a county manager, not a politician. A manager doesn’t attempt to dominate the board or fight partisan battles, but rather serves at the pleasure of the board. Still, at least one observer says Mazziotti and other commissioners can take Hansell’s word that he will eschew politics for policy. Given Hansell’s short stint — he doesn’t intend to run for executive next fall — that’s the appropriate emphasis, said Commissioner Dan McCarthy. A Democrat, McCarthy also applied to be county executive. Until recently, you couldn’t tell a Democrat from a Republican on the Lehigh County board. Traditionally, county government is more about efficiently delivering services than partisan absolutism. As McCarthy points out, there’s really no Democratic or Republican way to run a prison or a coroner’s office. But Cunningham, a Democrat, said the fall election ushered in a board he described as the most politicized of his tenure. This board has butted heads with the administration over pass-through grants, bridges, staffing contracts and the reassessment. Hansell will take office in that context of conflict. That may assist him in brokering deals with the Republican commissioners and won’t elicit the same automatic responses from the Republicans that a more partisan Democrat might. There’s also a certain amount of loss in that, as a Democratic voice is muted. But if taken like a scoreboard, Democrats aren’t really handing it over to the Republicans, because Cunningham wasn’t winning many either. Commissioners rejected the pass-through grants, haven’t agreed to fix the Reading Road Bridge in Allentown, turned down the staffing agreements and overruled him on the reassessment. Hansell will present the budget his first day in office, but he said it’s a spending plan he can support. He said it doesn’t include a tax increase. Despite an expected push from the conservative slate to roll back taxes, Hansell said he stands by the 16 percent tax hike. That support, he said, is based on his belief that the tax rate could stand for several years and would give taxpayers some stability. If the board wants to make more sweeping changes to the budget, Hansell hopes they’ll wait till next year when he and freshmen members are more versed in the budget and have a chance to implement changes to the budget format. Hansell will introduce new performance measurement standards and at the board’s behest pursue a new system of priority-based budgeting, which could require county departments to rank their programs by singling out the 20 percent they consider of least priority. Mazziotti said a candidate’s willingness to explore priority-based budgeting was a factor in his choice for executive. After the vote, he said the board was hiring someone to manage the county, and Hansell is “head and shoulders” the most qualified. And if there are disagreements, he added, the Republican supermajority can overcome any divide.

Henderson, Nevada (population 257,729): When he was the general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, people could sometimes find Jacob Snow riding on buses to experience the public transit system firsthand, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. With his new position as Henderson city manager, his experiences as a Henderson resident will influence his leadership in the city and vice versa. Instead of bus rides, Snow might be found frequenting the recreation centers or even plopping down in an employee’s cubicle to get to know him – if he isn’t busy signing paperwork or attending meeting after meeting. As the city manager, Snow is responsible for directing city policy and strategic planning and overseeing all the departments and divisions. Snow’s story with Henderson didn’t begin in April with his appointment but with his parents in the early ’50s. Henderson had just been incorporated and didn’t have much of an appeal to the family, Snow said. Instead, they settled in Boulder City. Henderson was often the topic of discussion at the dinner table growing up, he said. After college, he and his wife moved back to Boulder City. Snow said his wife liked the way Henderson was developing and wanted to be part of the community. After high school, Snow went to Brigham Young University. Snow fell in love with the subject and pursued a bachelor’s degree. He went on to get his master’s in geography with an emphasis in urban planning. Snow started at the Clark County Department of Aviation, where he worked for 10 years. By the time he left, he was the assistant director and oversaw McCarran International Airport, the Henderson Executive Airport and the North Las Vegas Airport. Snow landed at the Regional Transportation Commission in 1999. He went on to help with projects such as the Las Vegas Beltway. Of all the projects Snow takes pride in, his favorite is the Henderson Spaghetti Bowl, which is the intersection between U.S. Highway 95 and the Las Vegas Beltway. Since his time at the Clark County Department of Aviation, Snow’s wife would point out how great it would be if he worked for the city of Henderson. After former city manager Mark Calhoun announced his retirement, Snow submitted his resume. He was hired in April. City Council members have said that Snow’s hiring has created a dream team of the city staff. Many of the council members knew and worked with Snow when he was with the transportation commission. Councilwoman Debra March began working with Snow when she was the vice chair for the Urban Land Institute. Snow was on the board. After she was appointed to the City Council, March joined the transportation commission board and continued to work alongside Snow. March added that Snow’s background will help the city continue finding creative solutions to problems. Adding to the pressure of a new job, Snow was tasked with finding a new chief of police after former chief Jutta Chambers retired. March was impressed by Snow’s ability to jump in. His search led to the recommendation of Patrick Moers, who was sworn in in July. A few months into the job, Snow said he is still learning. Snow believes the city is primed to emerge from rough economic times and begin redeveloping. As his wife originally suggested, Snow does ride his bicycle to work. And on occasion, he will even get back on a bus to take a ride.

Blount County, Alabama (population 57,322): The Blount County Commission voted 3 to 1 Tuesday morning to terminate Ralph Mitchell from the position of county administrator, following a 65-minute executive session, according to The Blount Countian. A hearing date of Sept. 6 was set in compliance with the employee manual to allow Mitchell to defend himself from charges or allegations.

Northglenn, Colorado (population 35,789): After four years with the city of Northglenn, city manager Bill Simmons is retiring, according to Our Colorado News. City Council unanimously approved by an 8-0 vote a retirement agreement for Simmons during its regularly scheduled meeting Aug. 13. Ward III Councilwoman Susan Clyne was absent. Simmon’s retirement is effective Dec. 31. He was hired by the city in November 2008. No council member commented on the retirement plans during the meeting. Simmons, however, thanked council for approving the agreement. Simmons will receive severance payments through May 3, 2013, totaling $57,000. He will also receive a lump-sum payment for any unused and accrued vacation time up to Dec. 31. As part of the agreement, Simmons will be available through May 3, 2013, to assist with any issues related to the transition of a new city manager. Mayor Joyce Downing said council wasn’t expecting the retirement. Simmons filled the vacancy left when former City Manager A.J. Krieger resigned. Krieger, who was hired in October 2006, left the city in May 2008.

Churchill County, Nevada (population 24,877): When it came to being selected Churchill County manager, the second time indeed did prove to be a charm for Eleanor Lockwood, according to the Lahontan Valley News. Lockwood’s 15 years of service in the Churchill County Planning Department was the deciding factor Monday morning when county commissioners selected her as the new county manager. Lockwood, who has been planning director since 2000, was bypassed when she applied for the county manager’s position in 2004. This time, she got the nod by a 3-0 vote in a decision over two other finalists, Dan Holler and Michael McMahon. Lockwood is due to take over in her new role on Sept. 4. She replaces Brad Goetsch, who resigned on May 3.

South Lake Tahoe, California (population 21,403):  At the conclusion of Tuesday’s City Council closed session, the council unanimously voted and offered the full time permanent City Manager position to Nancy Kerry, according to KRNV. The terms of the two-and-a-half year contract are still being negotiated. Ms. Kerry has been with the City of South Lake Tahoe since 2008 working in various departments. She worked alongside the previous City Manager to develop a comprehensive Strategic Plan with meaningful performance measures later operationalized into an effective City Business Plan linking priorities to measurable outcomes throughout the organization. Ms. Kerry has 12 years in government and more than 15 years in private business started in Southern California. Prior to moving to Tahoe, she worked for the City of Solana Beach, San Diego County, San Diego Association of Governments and San Diego District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Kerry also has a background in the private sector as Vice President of her father’s manufacturing company for many years and providing private consulting services to organizations. Ms. Kerry earned her Bachelor’s Degree from San Diego State University where her GPA garnered a rare Summa Cum Laude with distinction award. She continued her education by earning a Master of Public Administration degree, also from SDSU, where her grades and participation were recognized when she was named the Outstanding Graduate Student of 2001 by the School of Public Administration.

Artesia, California (population 16,522): After serving the City of Artesia for more than 18 years, City Manager Maria Dadian says she plans to retire and will step down from her post in late October, according to the Cerritos-ArtesiaPatch. When asked about her decision, Dadian said it was simply the right time. Dadian, a California State Los Angeles graduate, has served the city since January 1994, when she was hired as the Assistant City Manager. She was appointed to City Manager in 2000, and has been the driving force, alongside the City Council, behind many of Artesia’s projects, including the redevelopment projects and other city improvement projects. Mayor John P. Lyon, who has worked with Dadian for most of her tenure, said her service to the community has been commendable and that Artesia won’t be the same without her. Prior to her work with the City of Artesia, Dadian began her career in municipal government working for the City of South El Monte in 1975. In March 1982, she accepted the position of Parks and Recreation Director with the City of Hawaiian Gardens, and after four years was promoted to Assistant to the City Administrator. After 11 years of continuous service with the city, she was named interim Executive Director of Hawaiian Gardens’ newly established non-profit organization called the Coalition for Youth Development. During her municipal career she has been contracted by both public entities and private businesses to organize and implement public safety and recreation programs. Dadian has not yet revealed what she plans to do after retirement. Her last day as City Manager is slated for Oct. 19. The City of Artesia will be entering into a transitional period, and during this time the City Council plans to provide considerations to selecting a new city manager. The City Council will convene on Monday, Aug. 27 to commence this work, according to the city.

Longmeadow, Massachusetts (population 15,784): The Select Board has chosen Bonnie L. Therrien to serve as Longmeadow’s new town manager, according to The Republican. The town is currently in negotiations with Therrien, who interviewed for the position on Aug. 15 and was one of five finalists. The board voted unanimously on Aug. 17 to select Therrien, the interim town manager in North Branford, Conn. During her interview Therrien described her management style as open, fair and objective. Therrien has more than 25 years of experience working with municipal government. She is the former town manager of Hebron and Wethersfield, Conn., served as the deputy city manager for Hartford, Conn., and most recently in North Branford. Therrien has a master’s degree in public administration and criminal justice from American International College. Asked about her communications plan for her staff and the public, Therrien said she meets with department heads twice a month and strongly believes in public forums and hearings to keep the public informed. Therrien said every year before residents vote on the budget she asks to be invited to their homes, where she meets with groups of 15 to 20 people and answers any questions they might have about the budget process. During the interviews the board said it would offer the candidate a salary between $105,000 and $115,00, a reduction from the original $115,000 to $135,000 range. This is the second attempt to hire a town manager in the past month. The town originally entered into contract negotiations with Thomas Guerino, the town administrator in Bourne, but they could not come to an agreement on the contract. Therrien was selected from an original list of 33 applicants narrowed down by the Collins Center for Public Management.

Reedsburg, Wisconsin (population 10,014): For those who haven’t met new Reedsburg city administrator Ken Witt, Thursday night is a good chance to do so, according to the Reedsburg Times-Press. As part of the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Five program, a meet-and-greet gathering is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Common Council chambers, 134 Locust St. Hors d’oeuvres will be served. Witt was hired in June and started working July 23. City officials said at the time he was hired for his budgeting expertise and ability to work well with department heads and personnel, as well as a history in aiding economic development. Witt comes from Sparta, where he was city manager for eight years.
Southborough, Massachusetts (population 9,767): At a meeting early on the morning of August 22, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to offer the job of Southborough town administrator to Mark Purple, current interim town administrator in Ashland, according to mysouthborough.com. For all three selectmen the right choice was Purple. Chairman John Rooney pointed to Purple’s experience in municipal administration as being key to his decision. Purple has been the assistant town administrator in Ashland since 2006. Prior that he was an assistant town manager in Framingham. Rooney also commended Purple’s leadership style. Calling him “very impressive,” Selectman Dan Kolenda said Southborough could benefit from Purple’s experience implementing costs savings in the communities in which he has served. He also said he was swayed by the fact that Purple began his early career working as a truck driver and laborer. While they were unanimous in their top pick, selectmen said all three finalists for the position were well qualified. Purple, along with fellow finalists West Boylston Town Administrator Leon Gaumond Jr. and Lincoln Assistant Town Administrator Anita Scheipers, was interviewed by the board on Monday night. Rooney said hiring a strong town administrator like Purple will allow the Board of Selectmen to focus on “bigger issues and community goals,” instead of being mired in the day-to-day operations of the town. The Board authorized Rooney to begin negotiations with Purple on a contract immediately.

Warren, Maine (population 8,589): Longtime Town Manager Grant Watmough will be stepping down as town manager after nearly 17 years, according to the Bangor Daily News. Watmough turned in his letter of resignation to selectmen at their Wednesday night meeting. He will continue on through Nov. 26. He declined to comment on his reasons for retiring this year beyond what was stated in the letter. Watmough has been town manager since January 1996, succeeding Christine Savage. He served four additional years previously as the town’s code enforcement officer. Doug Pope, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Watmough’s announcement will accelerate the search for a new manager. He said Watmough had planned on retiring next summer but decided he would begin retirement earlier. Watmough was reappointed to his post in April for another year, but by a close vote by selectmen. The vote was 3-2 with the two members opposed to his reappointment saying in April that the town needed to go in a new direction and that some long-term problems have not been addressed. The majority of selectmen, however, voiced support for Watmough and cited his service to the community. Pope said selectmen are considering hiring a company that specializes in recruitment of municipal managers. Watmough also is serving as code enforcement officer following the resignation of the code officer earlier this year.

Aransas Pass, Texas (population 8,204): The city council accepted City Manager Reggie Winters resignation during executive session, according to The Aransas Pass Progress. Winters submitted his letter of resignation last Friday and the affectivity [sic] is immediate. In accordance with his contract, Winters will continue to be paid through September 19, 2012. According to City Secretary Yvonne Stonebraker, an interim city manager is expected to be named next week.

Aberdeen, Mississippi (population 5,612): Greenwood Springs resident Michael P. King has been named the new Monroe County administrator, according to the Monroe Journal.
King ran his own business as a residential contractor for eight years. Before that he was an industrial engineer with Glenn Enterprises. King has a degree from Mississippi State in industrial technology. He lives in Greenwood Springs with his wife and two sons.

Russell, Kansas (population 4,506): At Tuesday’s Russell City Council meeting, City Manager Ralph Wise announced his resignation from the office effective October 1, 2012, according to KRSL. Wise will continue his current duties until that date, and official word has not been given on an interim or permanent replacement.

Soldotna, Alaska (population (4,163): The council offered Mark Dixson, of Soldotna, a position as city manager, added the city manager’s position back into the state’s Public Employee’s Retirements System (PERS), according to the Peninsula Clarion. Larry Semmens, current city manager, said there was about a week of overlap planned between his exit and Dixson’s entrance Oct. 1 but that he planned to leave the city ahead of his Oct. 31 final date. Semmens, who technically retired last year, continued to work for the city after the council decided to cut the position of city manager from the PERS system and hire him as a contract employee. At the time, Semmens said the move saved the city money as it was no longer liable for his family’s medical costs, just his. Dixson, however, wanted to earn PERS credit, so the council agreed to put the position back into the system in a move Semmens said would again save the city money. When the position is out of PERS, Semmens said the city still pays 24.16 percent of the city manager’s salary into the system in what’s known as unfunded liability, essentially back payments into the system as it is currently underfunded. When Dixson starts, the city’s share will be reduced to 22% of his salary, he said. Dixson’s starting salary will be $120,000 a year and it will go up in $5,000 increments for the next two years. At that time it will then be determined by the council as part of its annual budget process, according to city’s employment offer.

Hiram, Georgia (population 3,546): Hiram City Council approved the hiring of Robbie Rokovitz as city manager at a special called meeting earlier this week, according to Neighborhood Newspapers. Rokovitz was chosen from six candidates, whose names were announced by the council earlier this month. Rokovitz comes from the city of Cedartown, where he served as city manager. The vote was unanimous, and Mayor Doris Devey said she thought Rokovitz would “bring a lot to the city of Hiram.” Rokovitz has accepted the position and will be sworn in as city manager Sept. 4, according to Devey. The city manager started his career in Alpharetta, where he served as a police officer. He has also worked at Lanier Technical College, where he taught criminal justice classes, served as a financial manager with Gwinnett County, was city manager for the city of Holly Springs and also served as assistant city administrator at the city of Alpharetta before working in Cedartown. Rokovitz will replace interim City Manager Billy Beckett, who has worked at the city of Hiram since early June.

Overton, Texas (population 2,554): Overton City Council, in a special meeting Thursday with Mayor John Welch, chose its former city manager Joe Cantu to return to the post, according to the Kilgore News Herald. In a telephone exchange with Acting City Manager Deana McCasland, Friday morning, Cantu stated he would accept the job. Assembled at City Hall, Welch and Councilmen Pat Beets, Philip Cox, C. R. Evans Jr. and John Posey went into executive session for about 15 minutes, returned to the meeting chamber and Welch nominated Cantu for city manager. Cox motioned for approval of Cantu and Evans seconded. All four members next voted in favor. Councilman Jimmy Jennings was absent. The other witnesses were McCasland, as city secretary, and Police Chief Clyde Carter. Cantu was Overton city manager for less than two years in the mid-1990s. He was also CM at Shenandoah, Peñitas and Elsa – all in Texas. Originally from McAllen, he studied at University of Texas Pan-American in Edinburg. Cantu has 43 years in law enforcement is now a patrol officer for the La Joya Police Department. He is married and has two grown daughters.

Hampton Falls, New Hampshire (population 2,236): Town Administrator Eric N. Small is retiring from the town of Hampton Falls, according to SeaCoastOnline. The public is invited to join the Board of Selectmen and town employees at the Hampton Falls Town Hall, 1 Drinkwater Road, for an open house Tuesday, Aug. 28, from 1 to 5:30 p.m., to thank Small for his service to the town of Hampton Falls over the past 26 years. Small, a Seabrook resident, will retire effective Aug. 31. .

Swansboro, North Carolina (population 1,902): The new manager for the Town of Swansboro is new to town but not to the area, according to The Jacksonville Daily News. David Harvell, who is currently serving as assistant city manager in Havelock, has been named Swansboro’s new manager by a unanimous vote of the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners voted to hire Harvell Tuesday night, concluding a five-month search to fill the position vacated in March by former Manager Pat Thomas, who took a job as city manager in Southport. Retired local government manager Tommy Combs has served as interim manager for the town and guided the town board in its search for a replacement manager. Mayor Scott Chadwick said the process was a thorough one as the board reviewed all 98 applicants, narrowed the field to 30 or so and then reviewed them further to get down to the 10 finalists they interviewed. Chadwick thanked Combs and Town Clerk Paula Webb for the work they put into assisting with the process and commended commissioners for their commitment to the process. Chadwick said Harvell stood out among a strong field of candidates and described Harvell as “very personable and professional” and able to make a quick transition to his new duties thanks to his familiarity with the area and the town. His experience also includes time as town manager in Atlantic Beach. He resides in Carteret County in nearby Pine Knoll Shores. Harvell said he’ll bring with him a knowledge of the area and the region and his first task will be to get to know the community at the local level. And he’s impressed with what he already knows about the small seaport town and its history. Harvell is to begin work on or before Sept. 17. He will receive an annual salary of $78,000, as well as a monthly allowance of $100 for cell phone and $450 for vehicle. Commissioner Junior Freeman said that from their review of the applications, Harvell has the experience and background the town is looking for. Harvell’s experience in Eastern North Carolina impressed Commissioner Jim Allen. While several of the commissioners took part in the previous manager search, it was a new experience for the others. Philpott said there was also full participation of the board, with every commissioner having the opportunity to review all the applications. Commissioner Gery Boucher said that in his previous job as dean of Craven Community College’s Havelock campus he got to observe Harvell’s ability to communicate with a diverse population of people. And during the interview process, Harvell showed he had gotten to know the town.

New Buffalo, Michigan (population 1,883): Mayor Rusty Geisler’s days on New Buffalo’s City Council may be numbered, but only because he’s been offered the job of City Manager, according to The Harbor County News. It happened during the regular monthly Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 21, during a discussion of what course of action to take following the unexpected resignation of City Manager Mike Mitchell on Aug. 10. Council member Warren Peterson started the discussion by stating that it was important to replace Mitchell as soon as possible. He also noted that one of the problems that has plagued past city managers in the current economy is the difficulty they have relocating here. Often, they have a hard time selling the homes they are living in when they are offered (and accept) the job here, he said. Council member Susan Maroko suggested taking advantage of the resources available through the Michigan Municipal League, which offers free assistance finding both interim and permanent employees for positions in city government. That’s when Council member Ray Lawson spoke up to suggest what he thought was a better idea: Offer the job to Mayor Geisler. Council member Migs Murray concurred, and after reminding all present that Geisler grew up in the city, knows just about everything there is to know about the city and on that basis alone is the likely best choice for the city, it was she who made the motion to do precisely that. The offer was contingent upon Geisler’s acceptance of a “letter of understanding” (essentially, the terms of his employment), which had yet to be written, as well as his resignation from the City Council if he should accept the city manager’s position. During continuing discussions preceding the vote, Maroko said she had “no problem” with Geisler serving as interim city manager, but it was her opinion that the city’s residents deserve what she called “a professional search” for a qualified replacement. Maroko also pointed out that, just as Assistant to the City Manager Ryan Fellows had previously been disqualified from seeking the city manager’s job because he didn’t have a masters degree, Mayor Geisler doesn’t meet all of the qualifications either. That didn’t matter a whit to Lawson, who ventured that Geisler “is probably a better choice than all the past city managers we’ve had.” When it came to a vote, the motion passed 3 to 1, with Maroko voting no and Geisler abstaining after recusing himself from the entire discussion. Acting in her role as mayor pro tem, Murray proposed holding a special meeting as soon as possible to prepare the letter of understanding. The meeting was scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at City Hall. As advised by City Attorney Harold Schuitmaker, Geisler stated for the record that, if he finds the terms of the letter of understanding to be acceptable, he will promptly submit his resignation from the council. After the meeting, Geisler said he had no idea that he was going to be offered the city manager’s position, and he expressed gratitude for the votes of confidence that his colleagues delivered on his behalf.