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

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

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

Juliio Fuentes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Transitions: Henry County, VA; Little Elm, TX; Mitchell County, GA and more

Benny Summerlin
1958-2012

Henry County, Virginia (population 54,151): The Henry County Board of Supervisors on Monday named Tim Hall county administrator in a unanimous vote, according to the Martinsville Bulletin. Hall, 52, who had been deputy county administrator, also was named the new general manager of the Henry County Public Service Authority (PSA). He will earn $126,184.79 for the dual roles that became vacant when Benny Summerlin, 53, of Axton, died Wednesday. Debra Buchanan, of the Horsepasture District, made the motion to appoint him to the post. H.G. Vaughn of the Ridgeway District seconded the motion, and the final vote followed an estimated 45-minute closed session meeting to fill the post. Jim Adams, chairman of the supervisors, said the board had other options, including appointing an interim administrator. The PSA Board of Directors also met Monday and took similar action. Hall was named deputy county administrator and also assistant general manager of the PSA in 2002, the same year Summerlin was appointed county administrator and general manager. Adams said only the administrator and county attorney report directly to the supervisors and noted that those are the only positions the supervisors fill. However, he said the vacant positions Hall previously held will first be posted internally to determine whether there are any interested and qualified applicants. Hall will make that determination and fill the two vacant posts, Adams said. Hall, who also served as the county’s public information officer, had served in a number of capacities in the Henry County school division, including teacher/coach and public information officer. He became news director at WMVA Radio in 1990, after leaving his nearly 10-year job as a writer/reporter and columnist for the Lynchburg News & Advance. Hall earned his MBA from Averett University in 2007; was a 1981 graduate of James Madison University and also a 1977 graduate of Martinsville High School. Hall and his family live in Collinsville.

Little Elm, Texas (population 25,898): The Town of Little Elm has selected Matt Mueller as the new town manager, according to the Little Elm Journal Star. Mueller, who has served as the city manager of Guthrie, Okla., will begin his service with Little Elm on Sept. 17 after he completes his current city’s budget. Little Elm Interim Town Manager Doug Peach described Mueller as very personable who will “only go to improve our current level of customer service.” When Mueller arrives, the town will introduce him to Little Elm ISD administration and principals and city officials in neighboring cities and within Denton County. Little Elm has been without a town manager for the last seven months. Peach, who served as the assistant town manager before the town manager’s resignation, has stepped up during that time to act as interim until the town could find a new one through a search firm. Mueller will be coming from Guthrie, a city that also has a lake and similar challenges that Little Elm has, Hillock said. The town’s emphasis has been on making customer service a priority and improving it. Mueller has also served as deputy city manager for Claremore, Okla., and the management analyst for Edmond, Okla. He currently serves as a board member for the City Management Association of Oklahoma. Mueller received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. While there, he was the president of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and was awarded the political science department’s student leadership award. He received his Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Some of Mueller’s major accomplishments have included completing a new water treatment plant in Guthrie that will serve the city for the next 40-50 years. He has also aided in providing for infrastructure needs and long-term financial needs. Mueller discovered Little Elm’s search for a new town manager through the town’s search firm’s website and through his fellow colleague, the city manager in The Colony. Mueller said he has networked with several city managers in the area, describing the Dallas Metroplex as having “really innovative governments.” Mueller described the town council as a pro-growth group that has a great vision for the community. Little Elm’s growth is very intriguing and comes with both a tremendous amount of opportunities and challenges, he continued. When he arrives in September, Mueller plans to learn and absorb the first couple of months to really get a feel for Little Elm. He expects local government to be as efficient and productive as possible. Mueller has been married to his wife Rachel for almost 10 years. They are expecting their first child early next year. The Town of Little Elm will host a public meet and greet when Mueller arrives to introduce him to the community. The date is to be determined.

Mitchell County, Georgia (population 23,498): The Mitchell County Commission has voted to dismiss its county administrator, according to the Albany Herald. In a 3-1 vote, with one commissioner absent, the commission decided Tuesday to terminate Administrator Jerry Presley, citing a clause in his contract that allowed for the dismissal, Mitchell County Clerk’s office officials say. Commission Chairman Benjamin Hayward of District 1 was the sole commissioner to vote against termination. Attempts to reach Hayward on Thursday were unsuccessful. The Albany Herald, however, did obtain a copy of the handwritten dismissal letter sent to Presley that was signed by Hayward.

“Please allow this to serve as written notice of the termination of your employment contract with the Mitchell County pursuant to paragraph 12(a) of said contract,” the letter states. “The Board of Commissioners understands that you are entitled to three months of your annual salary together with other compensation provided in paragraph 12(b) of said contract. The board of commissioners believes that you are not a good match for Mitchell County.”

The paragraphs mentioned in the letter refer to the termination clause of Presley’s contract that states that either party can terminate the contract for any reason given at least 30 days of notice. Paragraph B states that if the contract is terminated but Presley is still able to perform the duties at the time of termination, that the county should pay him three months of severance and reward him with any leave or sick time he’s accrued. Following the vote, the commission voted 4-0 to reinstate Jerry Perminter as the county’s interim administrator until a full-time replacement can be found. The decision to dismiss Presley comes less that five months after commissioners voted to offer him the job on April 25 and less than three months after he accepted on June 4.

Wilmington, Massachusetts (population 22,325): The process of finding the replacement for retiring Town Manager Michael Caira was a smooth one, according to the WilmingtonPatch. So it comes as little surprise that the ensuing contract negotiations have been met with a similar result. According to both sides of the negotiations, a contract for Jeff Hull is likely to be finalized in September, and could be announced during the next Board of Selectmen meeting, which is slated for Monday, September 10. Negotiations have been taking place throughout the summer, and continued as recently as Monday during executive session of the Board of Selectmen meeting. Board of Selectmen chairman Mike Newhouse said he, like Hull, anticipates that there will be another executive session at the September 10 meeting, and a contract could be voted on that night by board members. Newhouse said it’s likely the executive session could take place before the regular agenda so that when open session begins, the contract could be finalized. Caira’s official last day is slated for September 30, and Hull’s contract will likely go into effect on October 1 when it is finalized. Though this will be Hull’s first Town Manager position, he has served as Wilmington’s Assistant Town Manager for several decades. Hull said he knows replacing the longest tenured Town Manager in Wilmington history will be no easy task, but it is a job he looks forward to.

Snellville, Georgia (population 18,242): Snellville officials have hired a new city manager to take the city helm, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. Mayor Kelly Kautz announed the appointment of James C. (Butch) Sanders Thursday, a day after the city council voted after meeting in executive session. Slated to start on Monday, Sanders replaces Russell Treadway, who left the city earlier this year to return to his Tennessee home. Police Chief Roy Whitehead has served as interim city manager since May. Sanders, who has 25 years of experience in municipal work, resigned in February as Henry County’s manager. He has also worked for the city of McDonough and spent nearly 20 years with the city of Dalton. The Florida native received a bachelor’s degree and master’s of public administration from the University of Georgia. He and his wife Jennifer have two children. Terms of Sander’s contract have not been set.

Jasper County, Georgia (population 13,900): The Jasper County Commission voted unanimously August 14 to immediately terminate County Manager Greg Wood under terms of his contract, citing section 9.06, according to The Monticello News. The action came after a closed session lasting nearly an hour, and was applauded by many in the audience. The commissioners then agreed for Assistant County Manager/Chief Financial Officer Lorri Smith to serve as interim county manager. They also agreed to compensate Mrs. Smith $10,000 annually for the additional duties.

Washington, Iowa (population 7,266): The Riverside City Council has hired Russell “Rusty” Rogerson as its new city administrator/clerk, according to The Journal. The council voted to hire him at a special council meeting Wednesday afternoon, and less than 24 hours later Rogerson was hard at work in city hall.

Seat Pleasant, Maryland (population 4,542): After a two-year search to find its top administrative official, Seat Pleasant is once again in the market for a new city administrator, according to The Gazette. Vincent Jones announced his resignation effective Aug. 24 on Monday. He said he is departing to be the new deputy chief of staff for Richmond’s City Council. The Richmond, Va., area native served as Seat Pleasant’s city administrator since June 2011, becoming the first permanent replacement in the position since 2008. The City Council will discuss how to move forward in a closed session Monday, said Mayor Eugene Grant. Prior to Jones, the city’s last permanent city administrator was Sandra Yates who was fired in 2008 shortly after the September 2008 election. Of Yates’ exit, Grant said that personnel changes were common with new administrations coming in. Alex Rodriguez served as acting city manager during the search for a long-term replacement from December 2008 to April 2009. After Rodriguez and the city parted ways for reasons undisclosed because of a personnel issue, city treasurer Robert Ashton served as an acting city manager until Jones was hired in June 2011. Grant said he knows it will be a challenge to attract a permanent replacement because he wants a salary more competitive than the $80,000 annual one the city provides. However, with projects such as the $30 million to $50 million City Center project that includes a new City Hall and housing for seniors, he is confident the city will find a replacement that will move the city forward through its revitalization. Jones said he is proud of being able to update the city’s personnel manual and help the city develop a strategic plan that includes the city’s vision for future economic development and expanding public safety. Jones said he will miss the close working relationship he had with the Seat Pleasant city staff the most. Councilwoman Elenora Simms (Ward 1) said she wants the City Council to look through the candidates they considered when they hired Jones.

New Castle, Colorado (population 4,158): Tom Baker, former town manager for Carbondale and Basalt, has been offered the chance to do the same job for the town of New Castle, according to the Post Independent. According to a proposed “employment agreement” that will be considered by the Town Council tonight, Baker is being offered the job of town administrator, at $88,000 a year, plus benefits. The agreement, attached to the Town Council agenda for tonight’s meeting, did not indicate when Baker is expected to start work. Baker replaces former administrator Andy Barton, who left in May to take a job as town manager in Mesquite, Ariz. At the time he left, Barton was being paid $96,700 a year. The council offered the job to Baker after also considering former Snowmass Village assistant town manager Leslie Klusmire, former Venice, Fla., city manager Martin Black, and Monte Vista town manager Don Van Wormer. In addition to his salary, Baker will receive certain benefits, including use of a town-owned car for official purposes, and for commuting to and from work. Baker, who currently lives in Carbondale, also will be required to move to the New Castle area within a year, under the provisions of the proposed contract. The town has agreed to pay up to $3,500 in relocation expenses to make the move, and the contract states that “failure to do so [move] shall automatically terminate this agreement” unless Baker and the town agree to extend the deadline. Baker has logged considerable governmental work experience in Western Slope communities, having worked as a planner, assistant city manager and director of affordable housing in Aspen and Pitkin County prior to his jobs in Basalt and Carbondale. He also has run his own consulting firm, Baker and Associates, since 1994.

Fort Yukon, Alaska (population 583): Dave Richards, the former Pahrump town manager, has moved back to Alaska to take a position as city manager of Fort Yukon, a tiny community more than 100 miles northeast of Fairbanks, according to the Pahrump Valley Times. Richards was Pahrump town manager from January 2004 to February 2008 and left to become manager of Hoonah, Alaska, a community of 900 people just outside Juneau in southeastern Alaska. Richards left Hoonah in 2011 and came back to southern Nevada to live in Las Vegas. For the past year, he was seen at numerous political events in Pahrump and admitted he was looking for a job locally. Richards was appointed to the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission June 5 but was gone by this Wednesday’s meeting in which the board rejected a request for a conditional use permit by exotic animal owner Karl Mitchell. Richards was actively involved in the discussion on the Symphony Animal Foundation request at the July 11 RPC meeting. Richards said his two-year stint in Hoonah was in coastal Alaska; his new job in the interior will be quite different.