Transitions: San Diego County, CA; Henrico County, VA; Greenville, NC and more

Picture of Walt Ekard

Walt Ekard

San Diego County, California (population 1,301,617): The longtime chief administrative officer for San Diego County announced Wednesday that he will step down on Dec. 1. Walt Ekard made the announcement during the afternoon session of the Board of Supervisors meeting. Ekard said he is not retiring, but will seek other challenges. He has led the county government since 1999, making him the longest-serving person in the position in modern times. Board Chairman Ron Roberts said Ekard helped make the county one of the best managed local governments in the country. Ekard, whose wife and three daughters were in attendance, said he was privileged to have led the county staff. The chief administrative officer oversees 40 departments, manages around 15,000 employees and implements directives by the supervisors. No successor was immediately announced, but the board was expected to go into closed session later Wednesday to discuss how to proceed.

Henrico County, Virginia (population 306,935): At a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday evening, John Vithoulkas was appointed as the new county manager of Henrico County, according to WRIC. Vithoulkas, who has been an employee of Henrico County since 1997, will succeed Virgil R. Hazelett, who served in the county manager position for 20 years. Vithoulkas will begin his term in January 2013. The Henrico County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Vithoulkas into the position, and explain what it entails: “As county manager, Vithoulkas will serve as Henrico’s chief administrative officer, responsible for implementing policies established by the Board of Supervisors and for overseeing the daily operations of the county and more than 35 agencies with approximately 4,000 general government employees. Duties include preparation and oversight of the county’s annual budget, which tops $1 billion in operating and capital expenditures for the 2012-13 fiscal year, and preparation of the county’s annual legislative program before the Virginia General Assembly.” Vithoulkas has served in several positions during his tenure at Henrico County, including budget analyst, Acting Director of Finance, deputy county manager, and special economic advisor. Vithoulkas’ contributions to Henrico County are numerous: during the recession, Vithoulkas introduced policies which allowed the county to balance its budget, even while absorbing revenue declines of more than $92 million. He also lead an effort which established Henrico, VA as an official mailing address with the U.S. Postal Service, garnering $5 million annually in tax revenues previously misdirected to other localities. Vithoulkas is a native of Greece, and immigrated to Virginia as an infant. He was educated in Henrico County Public Schools, and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1989. He also received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1992. He is a member of numerous organizations within the metro Richmond area, including Virginia Local Government Manager’s Association and the Richmond Association of Business Economists.

Greenville, North Carolina (population 84,554): For the first time since the resignation of Wayne Bowers left Greenville without a city manager, that critical post will again be filled as Barbara Lipscomb begins work, according to The Reflector. The new city manager comes to this community with a host of experience in several cities, strong recommendations and the unanimous approval of a rarely united City Council. This is a unique community, one anchored by a large state university, a tremendous health care infrastructure and a population eager for Greenville to fulfill its tremendous opportunity for growth and commerce. However, some persistent ills — among them crime, planning and a need for more diverse economic development options — continue to hold it back and demand Lipscomb’s concerted attention in her new post. It came as a surprise to many observers when Bowers used the occasion of the City Council’s annual planning retreat to announce his intention to resign, effective at the end of February. Though he had submitted retirement papers six months prior, the former manager’s decision became public only one week after the departure for Greenville Police Chief William Anderson. That change at the top promised a significant shift in the identities of those holding key posts in city leadership. But, if handled correctly, that potential crisis could instead represent a tremendous opportunity for Greenville to inject new ideas and fresh perspective into the process that guides decision making. The City Council moved swiftly to identify a new manager and ultimately selected Lipscomb, the former manager of Casselberry, Fla., to lead city staff. Her management experience in several Florida cities coupled with a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill education won her unanimous support from an oft-divided council. For Greenville, so lengthy a resume must translate into action quickly if Lipscomb’s term is to be judged a success. Despite its many positive attributes, the city still has its faults, and many will be accentuated by the return of East Carolina University’s student population. The new manager will need to hire a police chief and improve public safety. Growth and planning issues are a constant concern and problems are poised to worsen with the council’s recent decision to allow greater population density in already crowded neighborhoods. And other worries — parks and recreation, traffic, infrastrucutre, etc. — will command attention as well. Libscomb has a tall order ahead, but she inherits a city eager to fill its expectations. She should be welcomed with best wishes for luck in her new job.

Bryan, Texas (population 76,201): After more than a year of holding the job in the interim, Kean Register has been named city manager of Bryan, according to The Bryan College Station Eagle. The unanimous decision was made at Tuesday’s meeting of the Bryan City Council. Register was appointed interim city manager in 2010, following the resignation of David Watkins. At the time he was hired, the council said it was choosing him because he didn’t want the permanent job. Register has spent most of his career in electric utilities and indicated that he wanted to return to that job soon. Prior to his appointment as interim city manager, he was a group manager at Bryan Texas Utilities. He said he hoped to eventually be the general manager of BTU, which is owned by the city. But now, he is the general manager’s boss. During Register’s tenure as interim city manager, the city took a larger role in the oversight of BTU and clarified that the general manager reports to the city manager. Meanwhile, Register worked to make cuts in staffing and expenditures during difficult economic times. Last year, his staff reduced $2.1 million from its general operations. Much of that came from 20 job cuts, including the outsourcing of some janitorial and landscaping work. As Register’s tenure lengthened, council members began saying that they would like him to make the job permanent. Eventually, Register agreed. Register said he initially wasn’t interested in the job because of the quick turnover at the city manager position. In his 11 years at the city, four people have held the job, he said. But he has grown accustomed to the staff and enjoyed working with the council, he said, so he changed his mind. Salary information for Register wasn’t immediately available Tuesday night.

Morgan Hill, California (population 37,882): Morgan Hill city manager Ed Tewes announced to City Hall employees Monday that he will resign as of Dec. 28, according to the Morgan Hill Times. Tewes, 61, has been the city manager of Morgan Hill for 13 years. He sent a private letter to the five City Council members Friday notifying them of his intent to resign, and made the decision public Monday with an e-mail to all city employees.

Belmont, Massachusetts (population 24,729): After 10 months of searching, the Belmont Board of Selectmen approved an employment contract with David Kale to become Belmont’s Town Administrator at its Wednesday night meeting, Aug. 16, according to the BelmontPatch. Details of the contract, including salary, other compensation and duties, will be released once Kale agrees to the terms of the document. While the contract is not yet signed, Mark Paolillo, chairman of the Board, did say that Kale’s first official day in Belmont will be Monday, Aug. 20. Kale, Cambridge’s budget director and deputy finance director since 2003, was chosen in June by the Board to replace Thomas Younger who resigned in October of last year.

New Kent County, Virginia (population 18,429): New Kent County has lost its county administrator, but county officials aren’t saying why, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. G. Cabell Lawton IV resigned July 23, a little more than two years after taking the job as administrator. Previously, he had served as county administrator in Fluvanna County. The Board of Supervisors appointed Deputy County Administrator Rodney A. Hathaway as acting administrator on July 25, when the board formally accepted Lawton’s resignation. Hathaway, a Quinton native and eight-year veteran of county government, said Wednesday that he could not comment on Lawton’s resignation because it occurred in a closed session of the board that he did not attend. Supervisors C. Thomas Tiller Jr. and Ron Stiers said Lawton gave no reason for the resignation and they declined to discuss it further. In addition to deputy administrator, Hathaway has been New Kent’s planning manager and economic development director.

Holden, Massachusetts (population 17,346): Town Manager Nancy Galkowski last night announced that she will not seek consideration for a new contract, according to the Telegram. The Board of Selectmen was required to notify Ms. Galkowski before July 31, six months before the end of her three-year contract, whether it would extend her contract. The board met in executive session several times with the stated aim of discussing contract negotiations, but never entered into negotiations with Ms. Galkowski. Board of Selectmen Chairman Anthony Renzoni said town counsel is reviewing when the minutes of those meetings will be released. The board last night postponed a decision on how to proceed with the impending vacancy in the position. Ms. Galkowski made public a July 27 letter removing herself from consideration for contract renewal. Ms. Galkowski, whose contract is up in January, can leave at any time. The letter also said Ms. Galkowski was disappointed not to continue to lead the community, though she listed several accomplishments with pride, including several efficiencies she implemented. Mr. Renzoni thanked Ms. Galkowski and lauded her financial knowledge, which resulted in bringing the town budget in under the constraints the board indicated. Ms. Galkowski, a longtime Holden resident, was the assistant town manager in Arlington when she applied for the Holden position after a dispute over his contract resulted in the departure of Town Manager Brian Bullock. Selectman Mark Ferguson immediately requested that the board avoid the cost and time involved in a lengthy search and appoint assistant town manager Jacquelyn Kelly as the town manager. Ms. Kelly was one of the three finalists when Ms. Galkowski was chosen in 2008 and took office in January 2009, and continued as assistant town manager after the Board of Selectmen made her its second choice. Ms. Kelly has been assistant town manager for 13 years, and was also assistant light department manager for part of that time when the town manager position was joined with the light department manager position. Those positions were separated in 2008. Ms. Kelly also worked for the Planning Department for two years before becoming assistant town manager. Selectman James Jumonville agreed with Mr. Ferguson, arguing to save the town the expense that was incurred in previous searches, to hire a contractor to screen candidates. Mr. Ferguson also argued that, by appointing Ms. Kelly, the town would save the money spent on the assistant town manager position as Ms. Kelley could handle both. Mr. Renzoni cautioned that the town’s strong town manager form of government left the staffing decisions to the town manager, and that the Board of Selectmen was not in the business of changing the form of town government. Mr. Renzoni and Selectman Robert Lavigne argued that, with Ms. Kelly already on board, the town would not be without leadership should Ms. Galkowski leave before a decision about the next town manager is made. The board agreed to table the decision on how to proceed with the selection of a new town manager until the next meeting Sept. 4.

Dukes County, Massachusetts (population 16,535): Martina Thornton was sworn in as the new county manager on Wednesday evening, according to the Vineyard Gazette. Mrs. Thornton, who served as executive assistant to the county manager for four years, said she is pleased with the contract she negotiated with the seven-member elected commission last week in executive session. The terms of Mrs. Thornton’s contract include an annual salary of $67,709. Dukes County government has come under scrutiny in the last few years as county government has gradually been taken over by the state. But Mrs. Thornton defends the niche of county government. Mrs. Thornton, 36, a Czech Republic native, has a law degree from the University of Prague. Before moving to the Island in 2000, she worked for the Department of Finance in Prague. On-Island she worked as a paralegal for two law offices in Edgartown, and ran her own business, bookkeeping and preparing taxes for small businesses for several years. She has worked as a treasurer and clerk for Island Fuel since 2007. After spending summers here for a few years, Mrs. Thornton moved to the Island in 2001 to marry her husband. They have two children, both boys. She will hire an assistant to replace herself, but said she plans to modify the job description to make it more of a clerical position, with less responsibility in some areas. In her new post, she will work closely with county treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders and county commission chairman Melinda Loberg, as well as Sean Flynn, manager of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, and the other county and airport commissioners. She described her working relationship with the seven-member county commission as “very good.” The county commissioners have begun their discussion of priorities for Mrs. Thornton’s term. Immediate priorities include reviewing and revising the 2013 budget, as well as working with the six Island towns to create memorandums of understandings for county programs including the Integrated Pest Management program and the Vineyard Health Care Access Program. She also plans to oversee a grant-writing initiative on behalf of the county and the towns, in accordance with the county commissioners’ stated expectations during the county manager search process. In fiscal year 2014, pest management and health care access, regional programs managed by the county, will be financed exclusively by the towns. Mrs. Thornton is charged with meeting with town government leaders to figure out how they want the programs to be managed. Russell Smith, Mrs. Thornton’s predecessor, resigned from the position May 1. The search for the new county manager, which began in mid-April, was delayed when the initial pick for the position, New Hampshire attorney Katherine Rogers, declined the offer in early July, citing personal health reasons. Nineteen people applied for the position last spring.

Green River, Wyoming (population 12,515): The City of Green River will have a full-time city administrator starting Sept. 24, according to The Green River Star. On Monday, the city released a statement announcing that Martin Black of Sarasota, Fla., will take the position. According to his LinkedIn profile, he currently is the senior practice builder – project manager for Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. He also lists himself as a consultant. He previously served as the deputy city manager and city manager in Venice, Fla. He also worked as a community services manager in Longboart Key, Fla., and the utilities support manager and zoning administrator in Tallahassee, Fla. Councilman Gary Killpack said he believes Black will bring a total package in being able to deal with residents personably while handing other administrative aspects of the position. Killpack described Black as vary likable and proactive while being very direct.

Cocoa Beach, Florida (population 11,231): A government administrator from another Florida beachfront tourist town will take over as city manager this fall, according to Florida Today. Bob Majka of Panama City, who works as assistant county manager of Bay County, was picked Monday from a field of 124 applicants to succeed longtime Cocoa Beach City Manager Chuck Billias, who is retiring. Majka, who turned 42 last week, has racked up 23 years of service with Panhandle government. Hired as a Panama City firefighter-EMT in 1989, he advanced to Bay County hazardous materials program manager in 1993, emergency management director in 1995, chief of emergency services in 1998 and assistant county manager in 2006. During a special meeting Monday afternoon — after only 3 minutes of discussion — the Cocoa Beach City Commission unanimously picked Majka over three other finalists. Billias is retiring after serving at Cocoa Beach City Hall in various capacities since 1971. He earns $113,797 per year. Beeler will now negotiate salary, pension, moving allowance and other details of a proposed employment contract with Majka. Participants will include City Attorney Skip Fowler and Colin Baenziger, who heads the Wellington firm that conducted the job search. Baenziger estimated it might take two weeks to negotiate a deal. Commissioners will then vote on the contract. Beeler said he hopes Majka starts work by October. The quartet of finalists mingled during a business-casual reception Friday night at the Cocoa Beach Country Club, then attended 30-minute interviews Saturday and Sunday. Majka said it will be “bittersweet” to leave Bay County, but he seeks professional advancement. His girlfriend is originally from Brevard County and has relatives on the Space Coast. His father attended Brevard Engineering College, the predecessor of Florida Tech, during the 1960s.

St. Albans, Vermont (population 6,392): The town of St. Albans needs a new manager, according to WCAX. Gerry Myers is leaving his post to take a job in the private sector. He’ll be leaving at the end of September.

Brunswick, Maryland (population 5,870): Brunswick City Administrator Rick Weldon has resigned, making him the second city official to do so in the wake of last week’s mayoral and city council election, according to The Frederick News-Post. Weldon said Monday he has diverging views on a variety of issues, including the role of government, with Mayor-elect Karin Tome. He said he did not want to potentially make Tome’s job more difficult by going into detail. Tome takes office today. Weldon officially resigned Friday. He said he planned to put in his last day Aug. 24, though he told Tome he would be willing to stay on longer, albeit not indefinitely, while a replacement is found. The decision has disappointed some residents and city officials, including Tome. She said she had a sense Weldon might resign after speaking with him several weeks ago about the issue. During her door-to-door campaigning, many residents asked her if Weldon planned to stay on, she said. Tome said Weldon was a good mediator and will be missed. Rumors spread online and elsewhere that Tome was seeking former Frederick County Commissioner Kai Hagen to fill the slot, but they are false, she said. No definite plans for a replacement have been made, she said. Tome said there will likely be a few local candidates for the job, and she believes the city should also open up the search outside of Brunswick. Weldon has been the city administrator since January 2011, his second time in the position, he said. He also worked as the Brunswick city administrator from 1994 to 1999. Before his most recent stint in Brunswick, Weldon spent a year as Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement’s executive assistant. He represented portions of Frederick and Washington counties in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2003 to 2009, when he left a year early in his last term to work for McClement. From 2001 to 2003, Weldon served as Frederick County commissioner. Apart from his legislative duties, he worked as the executive director of the United Way of Frederick from 2008 to 2009. Although he did not specify, Weldon said plans for his future could include a role outside politics. He said he would also be interested in becoming a county executive, though he didn’t believe a county executive form of government would be approved by Frederick County voters in November. Councilwoman Angel White, who was re-elected to a four-year term last week, said she believed Weldon had the best interest of the city at heart. White said Weldon was a good person with a strong work ethic. She said she understood that some residents will be disappointed. Last Wednesday, city Councilman Tom Smith also stepped down, two years early from his position to spend more time with his family, he said. He also said Tome’s election played a role in his decision. Carroll Jones, who was packing his belongings Monday during his last day in office as Brunswick’s mayor, said Weldon brought a lot of knowledge, as well as a long list of contacts, to his position. Melanie DiPasquale, owner of Beans in the Belfry, said Weldon’s decision came as a surprise. She said she’s always had an excellent working relationship with Weldon. Weldon has been a regular customer at the restaurant, which is located within a block of City Hall, she said.

Broken Bow, Nebraska (population 3,559): Mayor Cecil Burt received a resignation letter from City Administrator Tony Tolstedt, according to the Kearney Hub. Tolstedt told the Hub he has accepted a job as city administrator in Douglas, Wyo., and begins there on Sept. 17. Until then, he will remain on staff at Broken Bow.

Cherryvale, Kansas (population 2,367): Cherokee County Attorney John Bullard has his post election plans set, according to the Cherokee County News-Advocate. Bullard, who decided not to run for a second term, will be the new Cherryvale city manager. Indeed, he’s already started. Depending upon the results of the Nov. 6 general election, either Republican Nathan Coleman, or Democrat Melanie Bingham will be the new county attorney come January. Bingham was recently hired to be special assistant county attorney by Bullard to take up some of the slack caused by his split duties. In a press release Bingham said she was looking forward to working in the office. Bullard said the Cherryvale job is a good fit for him. Bullard said he is excited about his new job, but is sad to leave Columbus.

Jefferson, Texas (population 2,106): Jefferson’s city administrator Shawn Farrell turned in his resignation — again — effective Monday morning — nearly four months after he tried to resign in March, according to The Marshall News Messenger. During that time, Mayor Jeff Fratangelo asked Farrell during a public meeting to reconsider his decision, and at least stay until the end of his contract, Sept. 5. Farrell agreed at the time, but decided on Monday that it was time to leave. Although the resignation comes a month earlier than expected, Ward 3 Alderman Carey Heaster said the city is in a good position and have already received applications in lieu of Farrell’s earlier resignation. The Jefferson City Council has been advertising for the position, posting it on various websites for a while now. Heaster noted that they have received about a dozen applications so far. He said the council is not in a rush to replace Farrell, however. Since his initial resignation, Farrell has been tight-lipped regarding his decision to leave. Farrell was hired last September, following the resignation of former city administrator Tony Williams who verbally resigned last January, a day after the council denied his recommendation to fire City Secretary Doris Hines. Williams had served in that capacity for the city for only 10 months. Mayor Fratangelo served dual roles as both mayor and city administrator until Farrell was hired.

New Buffalo, Michigan (population 1,883): After less than 18 months on the job, Michael “Mitch” Mitchell has resigned from his position as the city manager of New Buffalo, according to The Harbor County News. New Buffalo Mayor Rusty Geisler made the announcement shortly after he and three members of the New Buffalo City Council (council member Susan Maroko was absent) reconvened an Aug. 10 special meeting at City Hall following a brief closed-session discussion regarding the city manager in what was simply described as a “personnel” matter on the agenda. It was then that Mayor Geisler read aloud Mitchell’s letter of resignation, which simply stated that, “I, Michael D. Mitchell, hereby resign effective at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10.” The letter was dated Aug. 9. Mitchell’s resignation letter offered no clues as to the reason for his decision, which the mayor said was “unexpected.” Subsequent attempts to reach Mitchell by phone were unsuccessful. Asked, after the special meeting, if there were any job-related issues with the city manager that might have led to his voluntary departure, Geisler stated that, in his opinion, Mitchell had been doing “a good job.” Several weeks earlier, however, during a July 17 meeting of the council, Geisler had commented that he was “truly disappointed” by the city manager’s failure to meet a Pokagon Fund grant application deadline that could have provided $31,000 for the purchase of new turnout gear for the city’s Fire Department.(Mitchell is said to have missed the deadline by more than a month.) The mayor quickly moved on to address other matters that day. It was the first time since Mitchell’s hiring last year that the mayor had voiced dissatisfaction with something the city manager had done — or, in that case, had not done — at a City Council meeting. After returning from their closed-session meeting on Aug. 10, the council voted unanimousy (4-0) to accept Mitchell’s resignation, but also to continue his health and dental insurance until the end of the year or until he finds another job, whichever comes first. Mayor Geisler said that the search for a new city manager will probably begin at the next regular meeting of the City Council, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Hallsville, Missouri (population 1,478): Hallsville’s controversial city administrator is out of a job after city leaders voted Monday night to eliminate the position, according to KRCG. Joe Smith was told Tuesday this morning that it was his last day. Smith then resigned. The move came in a closed door meeting Monday night. With three yes votes and one city alderman abstaining the position was eliminated to save the city money. Aldermen Mickey Nichols, Hugh Carney and Darren Maher voted in favor of getting rid of the position, Alderman Carl Daly abstained. Mayor Cheri Reisch said the move will save Smith’s salary and benefits totaling around $60,000. She said the money is needed for the city’s general fund to balance the budget. That fund pays the salaries of the city’s seven other full-time employees and several part time ones. Smith has been under fire since firing Reisch last December. Reisch had served 30-years as Hallsville City Clerk. She ran for mayor and won last April. Reisch did not get to vote during the closed meeting, the mayor’s vote only breaks ties. She says the move to remove Smith was not about her, but was in the best interest of the city. The city budget, minus the administrator position will now be up for vote during the next aldermans’ meeting August 27th.

La Grange, Missouri (population 931): Mayor Ronnie Powers of LaGrange said Wednesday neither City Administrator Mark Campbell or police officer Jason Powell knew they were going to be relieved of their duties before Monday night’s City Council meeting, according to the Quincy Herald-Whig. Campbell and Powell were relieved of their duties in a decision made by the council, Powers said. Powers, who has been mayor since 2009 and a North Ward councilman before that, said economics played no factor in the dismissals. Powers also said the dismissals were immediate. Attempts to reach Campbell and Powell were unsuccessful. Campbell had been city administrator since June 2004. Campbell succeeded Drew Bontrager, who was LaGange’s first city administrator.

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Transitions: San Luis Obispo County, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; Fayetteville, NC and more

San Luis Obispo County, California (population 269,637): Dan Buckshi is the new San Luis Obispo County administrative officer, according to CalCoastNews. Buckshi succeeds Jim Grant, who recently announced his plan to retire in September. The county picked  Buckshi, who has served as the assistant county administrative officer for the past two and a half years, over four other candidates, all of whom are currently employed by the county.

Scottsdale, Arizona (population 217,385): Scottsdale City Council July 10 approved a $45,000 severance package for former City Manager David Richert and appointed Dan Worth, the city’s public works director, acting city manager, according to the Scottsdale Independent. Mr. Worth accepted the position under the presumption he would fulfill the role until a recruiting process could find a permanent replacement. Both measures were approved with unanimous votes. Mr. Worth was hired at a base salary of $180,000. Former City Manager Richert submitted his resignation at council’s July 2 meeting. He joined the city in 2008 and served the last two years as city manager. Mr. Richert left his post saying there was not sufficient support by the mayor and city council to remain effective in his position. Scottsdale City Council met with Mr. Richert Monday, July 2 as part of his annual review process. Mr. Worth has been leading the city’s solid waste, street, fleet and facility operations in addition to capital project management. He first came to the city in May of 2004 as the city engineer, responsible for administering the city’s $1 billion capital improvement program. He is 22-year veteran of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, where he was an officer in a variety of engineering and public works leadership positions.

Fayetteville, North Carolina (population 200,564): Fayetteville’s next city manager says the community’s “size, complexity and energy” appeal to him, according to The Fayetteville Observer. Ted Voorhees takes the reins of the state’s sixth-largest city in August. As a deputy city manager in Durham, Voorhees has spent the last decade helping transform Durham’s downtown from empty tobacco factories into offices, apartments and restaurants. City officials said he emerged the top choice among four finalists seeking to succeed Dale Iman, who resigned in March following a tenure of 5 1/2 years. Voorhees, 48, will manage a city with 1,500 employees and a $187 million budget.

Topeka, Kansas (population 127,473): A divided Topeka City Council voted Tuesday evening to hire Jim Colson, the deputy city manager of Glendale, Ariz., as Topeka’s next city manager, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. Council members voted 6-3 to approve a two-year contract with Colson calling for him to start work Aug. 27 and be paid a salary of $170,000 a year. Council member Sylvia Ortiz suggested residents would “scream” when they saw how much the city would be paying Colson. The annual salary of Topeka’s last permanent city manager, Norton Bonaparte, was $137,500. Colson and the city had negotiated the contract that was approved Tuesday prior to that evening’s meeting. After two years, the contract automatically renews from year to year unless either party notifies the other in writing by July 1 that its terms won’t be extended. The contract calls for the city to provide Colson 10 work days each annually of vacation leave and sick leave, with all unused vacation and sick leave carrying over from year to year. The city agrees to provide Colson a vehicle at its expense for official business use. The city also agrees to pay Colson a lump sum of $28,000 for relocation expenses. Colson becomes Topeka’s second city manager to be hired on more than an interim basis. Voters in August 2004 approved a charter ordinance switching to a city council-manager form of government from a strong mayor-council form. The new government took effect in April 2005, with Neil Dobler serving as interim manager. Bonaparte then was Topeka’s city manager from March 2006 until he left in July, 2011, under a severance agreement he reached with the council. Dan Stanley was interim manager until early last month, when he was replaced by current interim manager Pam Simecka, who plans to return next month to her former job as finance director. The city since February has been under contract with Tallahassee, Fla.-based Bob Murray & Associates to help it find and recruit a permanent manager. The city announced June 21 that the initial list of 49 applicants had been pared to two finalists: Colson, who has been deputy city manager since 2009 of Glendale, Ariz., and Margie Rose, who has been an assistant city manager since 2002 at Corpus Christi, Texas. The council conducted public interviews with Colson and Rose on June 23, then met in executive session that day to discuss the candidates. Colson, a native of Michigan, has been deputy city manager since 2009 at Glendale, which 2010 census records show has a population of about 226,000. Tuesday’s news release from the city of Topeka said Colson was responsible at Glendale for all community development services, such as planning, building safety, engineering, transportation, downtown redevelopment, community revitalization, the city’s airport and code compliance. Colson has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University, a master’s of arts in theology from Western Seminary and a master’s of urban planning degree from the University of Michigan.

Westminster, California (population 89,701): The Westminster City Council placed its city manager on administrative leave Monday – giving him two options: termination or retirement, according to The Orange County Register. After a 40-minute special closed session, Mayor Margie Rice and Councilmen Tyler Diep and Tri Ta announced their vote to place City Manager Mitch Waller on paid leave. They named Assistant City Manager Eddie Manfro interim manager. Waller, a former Westminster police chief who has worked for the city for 29 years, will be on paid leave until “he retires or is terminated,” Rice said. Last week, the city finalized the layoffs of 67 employees and continues to face a budget deficit, although that shortfall was cut from $10.4 million to $3.7 million this fiscal year under Waller’s stewardship. The “lion’s share” of the deficit was addressed and “all of our economic indicators are slowly starting to head in the right direction,” Waller said recently. City Council members declined to say after the meeting why they voted to take the action against Waller. In an interview before the closed session, Rice was critical of Waller’s management style. The mayor accused Waller of leaving the council out of the decision-making process during the recent layoffs, but did not blame him for the city’s financial budget woes. Waller sat in the council chamber until council members called him in to give him their decision, which they announced immediately afterward in open session. No one from the public attended. Earlier in the day, Waller addressed the mayor’s criticism, saying he regularly meets with her during a one-on-one weekly meeting and also whenever she is working at City Hall, at least twice a week. Waller said he was surprised by the council’s decision to call for a special closed session and said it was odd that it came soon after Diep presented a request regarding the chief of police post. Diep wanted the council, and not the city manager, to appoint the police chief, but that request never made it to a council discussion. Diep withdrew it from the council’s agenda last month. Police Chief Ron Coopman announced earlier this month that he was retiring from his job at the end of this month. Waller said Diep’s proposal to give the council more control over the police chief would create the potential for conflicts between the council and a chief who would then become “an at-will political appointee … beholden to those who appoint him.” Last week, the city finalized the layoffs of 29 full-time employees, or 12 percent of the workforce, and 38 part-time employees, or 26 percent of Westminster’s part-time staff. Fewer employees will mean reduced services to residents, including slower response to police calls and a “potential for drastic delays” in lower priority calls, officials have said. No sworn personnel were laid off but more than 20 full- and part-time civilian employees were laid off. Immediate effects have included the closure of the City Hall’s mall office and a reduction in the police department’s front lobby hours. Westminster has faced a $1.5 million annual deficit since the recession began in 2008, officials have said. This year, the picture got bleaker. The state abolished all redevelopment agencies. Since the entire city of Westminster was under a redevelopment area, the loss of redevelopment funds raised the community’s budget deficit to about $10.4 million. The layoffs will save the city $3.2 million, and city staff said it had saved an additional $4.1 million with other measures. But Westminster entered the new fiscal year with a $3.1 million deficit. City staff also has considered other measures that the council has rejected: increasing fees for services and hiring a consultant to promote a new tax for the November ballot. In another financial setback, Westminster was forced last week to pay nearly $9 million to the state for money state authorities said was due after the abolishment of redevelopment agencies. Like other cities in the same position, Westminster made the payment “under protest.”

Miami Beach, Florida (population 87,779): The ouster of Miami Beach’s long time city manager could cost taxpayers more than half a million dollars, according to The Miami Herald. Ever since Jorge Gonzalez submitted his resignation following weeks of turmoil, city officials have asked for the value of Gonzalez’s full compensation — the basis for his pending severance. The city’s human resources department has now provided an answer: $501,768.77. In a July 12 email to the city attorney, Human Resources Director and former Gonzalez chief of staff Ramiro Inguanzo attached a spreadsheet that he said “captures the aggregate compensation for 12 months for Jorge.” Among the items included in the spreadsheet: Gonzalez’s $231,000 salary; $50,000 in insurance policies; $24,000 housing allowance; $56,000 in annual paid time off; and $62,600 related to his public pension. Inguanzo said everything in the spreadsheet was pulled from the city’s payroll system, except for a list of Gonzalez memberships and subscriptions paid for by the city that Gonzalez valued at $12,654. Commissioners will discuss Gonzalez’s compensation during their Wednesday meeting at City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Dr. The value of Gonzalez’s compensation is key due to the circumstances surrounding his resignation. Gonzalez, who ran the city for nearly a dozen years, stepped down amid a push for him to resign or be fired. His contract expired in August of next year, but called for him to receive a severance of “12 months aggregate compensation” if he resigned “following a suggestion, whether formal or informal, by the city that he resign.” So questions have not been about whether he would receive a severance, but about how much he would receive. Gonzalez, however, said he has not made any demands for severance or claimed a final aggregate compensation total. He said his talks with city lawyers have not yet focused on which items — or at what value — should be part of his severance. Gonzalez officially resigned July 8. He remains on the city’s employee rolls while burning accrued time off worth more than $100,000. City Attorney Jose Smith said members of the city’s legal staff and a private attorney met Monday afternoon with Gonzalez and had a 30-minute, “very preliminary conversation.” He declined to comment on individual items on Gonzalez’s compensation list. Some city commissioners said they were surprised at the overall figure provided by human resources, even though all but Commissioner Jorge Exposito voted at least once to amend Gonzalez’s contract. It isn’t yet clear if city commissioners will vote on Gonzalez’s severance. Gonzalez said his contract calls for his severance to be arbitrated should he and Smith not agree on his package. Smith, however, said it is likely that commissioners will vote on at least some aspects of Gonzalez’s severance, or vote to send the parties to an arbitrator. Also Wednesday, commissioners also are slated to vote on an interim manager contract for Kathie Brooks, who is leaving her position as budget director to run the city while commissioners hunt for a permanent replacement. Brooks’ contract is worth $220,000 annually, though it only runs through mid-January and can only be extended by a vote of the city commission.

Troup County, Georgia (population 67,044): Assistant County Manager Tod Tentler dropped the assistant title after former County Manager Mike Dobbs retired last week, according to the LaGrange News. Tentler was unanimously approved at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting to succeed Dobbs as county manager. Tentler came from Columbus to Troup County as parks and recreation director in 1998. In July 2007 he received the additional duty of assistant county manager. Tentler said the main challenges he will face as manager is overseeing the county during tough economic times. He added that national and state mandates coming down the line are putting more pressure on local governments to “pick up the slack.”

Huntington Park, California (population 58,114): The City Council Monday night approved a three-year contract with Rene Bobadilla to serve as its first permanent city manager since last December, according to the Los Angeles Wave. Bobadilla is currently city manager in El Monte and is expected to assume his new duties the first week in September. Bobadilla has agreed to a lesser salary, $196,392, than he currently receives. Bobadilla also will receive medical, dental and vision insurance benefits. Other benefits are the use of a car leased by the city for commuting or traveling on city business. Bobadila also will have a cell phone. The City Council approved the contract on a 5-0 vote after a brief closed session on the issue. Huntington Park has not had a permanent manager since Greg Korduner retired at the end of last year. Police Chief Jorge Cisneros served as city manager for a time, followed by interim administrators Raul Romero and currently Mary Strenn. The latter two are retired administrators. Bobadilla is expected to be available at all times, the contract states. He’s also expected to “be reasonably active” in professional and civic organizations. He does not have to live in Huntington Park, but must have a permanent residence nearby, the contract states. Bobadilla may accrue sick leave at the rate of eight hours per month and accumulate vacation leave with 12.66 hours of service a month. He will be a member of the Public Employees Retirement System and may retire at age 55 with a pension of 2 percent of his final salary. He must contribute 1.5 percent of his salary toward his pension.

Port Arthur, Texas (population 53,818): Six months and one day without an official City Manager in Port Arthur, and Monday, Floyd Johnson was welcomed on his first day on the job, according to KIII TV. Floyd Johnson says he has worked as a city official from Florida to California. He was City Redevelopment Director in two Florida cities, but he was also City Manager in Fort Lauderdale. He was forced to resign in 2003 for late responses to budget issues, but Johnson says city leaders rejected a budget he felt was more responsible. Now he’s ready to start work in Port Arthur, replacing 15 year City Manager Steve Fitzgibbons. Fitzgibbons left after receiving a $220,000 severance package after threatening to sue. Johnson, a Virginia native, says that improvement begins by providing reliable services to the people of Port Arthur. Services like trash pickup after trucks broke down leaving garbage piling up, and public transit. Port Arthur bus services were stopped for three weeks because of mechanical issues causing city buses to catch fire. Now the city is leasing buses from New Orleans until Port Arthur works out a solution with their bus manufacturer. Long term, Johnson says he can see Pleasure Island becoming an attraction for tourists. Johnson’s annual salary is $155,000 a year. He received moving expenses of $12,000. He also gets a housing allowance of $1,000 a month for up to six months.

Sarasota, Florida (population 51,917): Thomas Barwin, the former village manager of Oak Park, Ill., has been selected as Sarasota’s new city manager, according to the Herald-Tribune. In contrast to their earlier vote to start a new search for better candidates, city commissioners chose Barwin unanimously this go-around, praising his record of building consensus and his history in redevelopment. Barwin has about three decades of experience leading local governments in Michigan and Illinois. He faces a tough job, with divisions lingering in the wake of the ouster of Robert Bartolotta, who was forced to resign in January amid allegations that he violated public records and computer fraud laws. Barwin also will be at the mercy of his five bosses — the city commission — who have struggled to agree on everything from whether Sarasota’s downtown should be lined with parking meters to the hiring of a city manager. Sarasota also faces another deficit year, rising retiree pension and medical costs and the specter of criminal investigations by the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For evidence of how tough his job will be, look no further than Monday’s meeting agenda. In the same day Barwin was selected, two city commissioners — Terry Turner and Paul Caragiulo — pushed for competing ballot measures that could either give Barwin more authority as a so-called “strong city manager” or make him potentially unnecessary under an elected mayor. The strong city manager amendment, which was supported by Turner and local business and pro-growth groups, gathered enough signatures to make the November ballot. Caragiulo’s attempt to get a strong mayor referendum on the ballot failed to get enough support from commissioners to make the ballot. Still, Barwin said he is not sweating. Barwin’s hire is not yet final. The city will now enter into negotiations with Barwin, who hopes to take over the helm by late August or early September. His salary could range from $150,000 to $180,000 per year. Once his contract is finalized, Barwin will move from Illinois with his wife of 32 years, Margaret. Barwin has four adult sons. In hiring Barwin, the commission snubbed the other finalist, Edward Mitchell, the longtime city administrator of West Palm Beach. In their discussions, commissioners voiced reservations about hiring Mitchell, who kept his job after a corruption and a pay-to-play-scheme occurred under his watch. A special meeting is scheduled for July 30 to finalize Barwin’s selection. If he signs a contract then, Barwin hopes to move to Sarasota within 30 days. His willingness to take the job quickly eases fears that arose after Interim City Manager Terry Lewis said he would not stay during a second search for city manager candidates. That process that could have left Sarasota leaderless until the end of the year.

Hillsborough Township, New Jersey (population 38,303): Former Hillsborough Mayor Anthony Ferrera has been named the new township administrator, according to the Hillsborough Patch. Ferrera, who served on the Township Committee from 2004 to 2011 and as mayor in 2007 and 2008, will replace Michael Merdinger. Ferrera, now serving as director of the Division of Workforce Portfolio and Contract Management in the state Department of Labor, will take over the $124,000 township post on Aug. 20. Merdinger will leave at the end of August. Ferrera, a Republican, was unanimously approved by the all-GOP Township Committee. Ferrera, who earned a master’s degree in business administration from Stevens Institute of Technology, had a 20-year career with AT&T before joining the state. Ferrera also served on the township Planning Board, the Business and Economic Development Commission, the Recreation Commission and the Cultural Arts Commission. On the Township Committee, he served as chairman of the police committee and the finance committee.

Puyallup, Washington (population 37,022): Pierce County’s third-largest city soon will be in the market for a new chief executive, according to The News Tribune. Puyallup City Manager Ralph Dannenberg apparently is leaving his post after nearly two years. The city has contacted a consulting firm to help search for an interim city manager. Dannenberg, 64, became city manager in the fall of 2010 after filling the post on a temporary basis for about six months. Before that, he was Puyallup’s parks director for nearly 13 years and worked for the City of Pullman for two decades, including as director of public services. Since Dannenberg took over in Puyallup, he’s navigated budget cuts and a new political landscape. The seven-member City Council has four news faces and a new majority this year, and has reversed several policies established by last year’s council. Puyallup’s finance director, Cliff Craig, is filling in as acting city manager.

Jackson, Michigan (population 33,534): Jackson City Manager Larry Shaffer said he’s enjoyed his 13 months as the city’s top administrator and is in no way being forced out, according to MLive.com. Tuesday night, the Jackson City Council approved a separation agreement that clears the way for his Aug. 3 departure. The severance agreement will cost $64,000. Shaffer said his decision to leave was a result of him reexamining what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Mayor Martin Griffin said Tuesday it became evident during the 2012-13 budget process that some council members had differences with the city manager. At a City Council meeting in May in which the budget was discussed, Councilman Dan Greer chastised Shaffer, saying it looked like a position the council didn’t want had been “tried to be slipped in,” although Greer later said his comments sounded stronger than he intended. But Shaffer said any issues council members had with his budget had little effect on his decision. Councilwoman Laura Dwyer Schlecte said during a June council meeting that Shaffer’s job performance review by council members “wasn’t stellar.” But council members later said that most were satisfied with his performance, and Griffin said Shaffer’s overall rating was about 3.1 on a scale with 5 being the highest. Councilman Carl Breeding said then he was dissatisfied with Shaffer’s performance, but others were not. Shaffer said he has been discussing his desire to leave with council members over the last couple of weeks. The City Council met with Shaffer behind closed doors during Tuesday’s council meeting for about 20 minutes. They returned to open session and approved a separation agreement without any discussion. Shaffer said that the city manager job is demanding and he had to consider whether he wanted to continue working a job that requires 50- to 60-hour work weeks.

Taos County, New Mexico (population 32,937): Taos County has begun its search for a new manager, and the county is keeping mum as to whether any other employees are slated for termination, according to The Taos News. Outgoing county manager Jacob Caldwell was given 45 days notice of his termination and placed on immediate administrative leave at the county commission’s July 10 meeting. No explanation for Caldwell’s termination was given at the meeting. A termination letter dated July 11 and signed by commission chairman Joe Mike Durán stated that Caldwell was being terminated “for cause” and referenced a clause in Caldwell’s contract. The contract stipulates that Caldwell could only be let go if he “is indicted for a crime, does not work, is grossly insubordinate or is unable to perform the duties of county manager.” The letter from Durán did not specify which reason the commission was citing in terminating Caldwell. Durán told The Taos News Tuesday (July 17) that the commission had a good reason for letting Caldwell go. Durán declined to go into greater detail out of concern that the county would have to pay the remaining time (until Feb. 2013) on Caldwell’s $110,000 annual contract. Commissioners Larry Sánchez and Andrew Chávez said they could not comment on the reasons for Caldwell’s termination. Commissioner Nicklos Jaramillo did not return multiple messages seeking comment. Chávez lost a reelection bid in the June primary and will also give up his seat in January. Jaramillo will term out at the beginning of next year. Incoming commissioner Tom Blankenhorn, who won the June primary in District 4, said last week he was worried that the current commission sought to fire other county employees before the end of the year. A handful of county employees have said they have heard they may be next to go, but no additional terminations had been made since last Tuesday. County administrators did not respond to questions to confirm if other employees had been let go, or if certain employees had been targeted for dismissal. The county posted the manager job July 12 — two days after Caldwell was given notice of termination. The job posting is set to close Aug. 17. The listing says a manager will “typically enter into a contractual term of employment,” meaning a new manager could be contracted to work well after the new commissioners take office. Interim Taos County Manager Barbara Martínez, who was appointed to temporarily replace Caldwell, said no one had yet applied for the manager job. The minimum requirements in the county manager job listing include a “master’s in degree [sic] public administration, political science, business administration, finance, law or a closely related field.” The listing states that candidates with eight years of “progressively responsible experience” in state or local government are preferred. It also states that “an equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered by the Taos County Commissioners.” The Taos County Commission typically interviews a final field of candidates in private before offering someone the manager job.

Monroe, North Carolina (population 32,797): Wayne Herron has resigned as Monroe’s city manager after more than three years on the job, according to WCNC.com. City officials confirmed Wednesday that Herron resigned at the end of Monroe’s city council meeting Tuesday night. Two assistant city managers have been appointed to run government operations until a replacement is hired. Herron did not give a reason for his resignation, but he had come under criticism from some Monroe residents for recommending against a $3,000 performance bonus for Police Chief Debra Duncan. In a 4-3 vote last month, the city council rejected a proposal to award the bonus to Duncan. Several council members said their vote against the bonus was based on Herron’s recommendation. Herron was hired as planning service manager in 2001 and was promoted to assistant city manager in 2008. He became city manager in April 2009. His salary was about $150,000.

Hermosa Beach, California (population 19,506): The top administrator for a popular resort town in Utah is expected to become the next city manager in Hermosa Beach, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Tom Bakaly, the city manager in Park City, Utah, was set to have his contract approved Tuesday by the Hermosa Beach City Council. More than 75 candidates applied for the open Hermosa Beach city manager’s post, and the council interviewed four of the top contenders. Bakaly, 48, will earn a base salary of $185,000, with an additional maximum 7 percent bonus awarded annually at the council’s discretion, sources said. Bakaly joined Park City’s staff as finance manager and director of capital programs in 1995, rising to the position of assistant city manager in 2001. He was named city manager in 2002 and oversees a staff of 200 full-time city workers and a $45 million annual budget. Hermosa Beach has an annual budget of about $37 million. The beach town’s former city manager, Steve Burrell, retired in March after 18 years on the job. John Jalili, a former top administrator in Santa Monica, was tapped by the council to fill in as Burrell’s interim replacement. Bakaly visited Hermosa Beach twice during the interview process, and the city paid for both trips. After Burrell’s retirement, city officials hired a recruiting firm, Teri Black and Co., for $17,500 to search for his permanent replacement. Before coming to Park City, Bakaly worked for seven years for the city of Pasadena, serving in various positions, including budget director during the recession of the 1990s, Hermosa Beach city leaders said. In Pasadena, he helped oversee the management of large sporting events held there, including the World Cup, Rose Bowls and Super Bowls. In Park City, he prepared the community for the 2002 Winter Olympics and the popular Sundance Film Festival. Bakaly, who grew up in Pasadena, earned a master’s degree in public administration with a specialization in public financial management from USC. He is married to Pam Bakaly, and they have a teenage son, Henry. If his contract is approved by the Hermosa Beach City Council, Bakaly is expected to begin his new job in early September.

Camas, Washington (population 19,355): The Mayor of Camas, Scott Higgins, has chosen to keep the current City Administrator, Lloyd Halverson, in his current position until Spring of 2013, according to the Silver Star Reporter. Camas City officials announced today that after culling through 51 applications for the position of City Administrator, and narrowing the field to two, Erik Jensen and Craig Martin, it was decided by Higgins that neither  “were the right fit for Camas’ future.” Erik Jensen of Portland is the former administration department director for the City of Hillsboro, Ore., and Craig Martin of Sweet Home, Ore. is the current Sweet Home city manager.  Both were interviewed by Higgins on Thursday, July 12. According to a statement released by the City, Higgins said he intended to pause and reflect before starting a new search. The statement also added that city officials did not “find any of the finalists as suitable to the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead for the city of Camas.” Lloyd Halverson, 65,  was hired as Camas’ first city administrator in 1989, and announced his plans at the City Retreat in January that he intended to transition toward retirement, first becoming part-time by September of 2012, and ending his employment in Spring of 2013.

Greene County, Virginia (population 18,403): Greene County Administrator Barry Clark sent out an e-mail last week announcing his resignation, according to CBS19. He simply said he was leaving his position effective November 30 and would be on administrative leave in the meantime. Some people in the county said they were shocked by the news. One county employee said that he too was worried about his job. In addition to the County Administrator’s sudden resignation, the Public Safety Director Dave Lawrence has been given a two-week notice after 12 years serving the county. His position has apparently been consolidated with others. He was told on July 13 that his last day will be July 31. No one at the County Administration Office would comment, but people in the community have some concerns. Crystal Morris, Greene County business owner, says she would like to know who will be the next County Administrator, but so far no official word on even an interim person for the position. CBS19 has reached out to the members of the Board of Supervisors but has not heard back yet from any of them. They do have a board meeting Tuesday night beginning at 5:30 p.m. The agenda was posted on the door of the County Office Building. Legal or personnel matters will be discussed first in executive session.

Longmeadow, Massachusetts (population 15,784): The Select Board voted Monday night to enter into contract negotiations with town manager finalist Thomas Guerino, but the decision did not come easily, according to MassLive.com. The board spent over an hour discussing Guerino and fellow finalist Mark Stankiewicz. There were two failed motions, one in favor of Stankiewicz that was not supported by any other members and a motion in favor of Guerino which failed 3-2. There must be a super majority for the town manager vote. Select Board Chairman Paul Santaniello said he was not willing to endorse either candidate. Santaniello said he would like to see the board hire an interim manager and begin a new search in December. The rest of the board was strongly against Santaniello’s suggestion. Members Marie Angelides, Mark Barowsky and Richard Foster favored Guerino, the town administrator in Bourne, while Mark Gold favored Stankiewicz, who is the former town manager in Plymouth. Foster and Santaniello went to both candidates’ communities last week to meet with their boards and department heads. Foster said he felt strongly that Guerino would fit the needs of Longmeadow. Angelides agreed saying he is very involved with the day to day operations in Bourne and has found creative ways to save the town money which Longmeadow also needs. Barowsky said he felt comfortable with Guerino from the first interview and felt his answers to questions were frank and honest. Gold said he has strong reservations about Guerino, but was unwilling to share them publicly with the board. He said Stankiewicz was a town manager not a town administrator and had more experience. He initially voted against Guerino. After more discussion including the possibility of delaying the vote to later in the week or the month Gold said that with great disappointment he would be willing to change his vote. Santaniello stood by his decision to not vote for either candidate. Angelides said both were good candidates and this does not rule out Stankiewicz if Guerino and the town cannot come to a contract agreement.

Brunswick, Georgia (population 15,383): Brunswick City Manager Bill Weeks has completed a six-month probationary period successfully and will get the job permanently depending on contract negotiations, according to The Florida Times-Union. The City Commission voted unanimously to make the appointment after a brief executive session during its regular meeting. Weeks, formerly assistant city manager, became acting city manager in September 2011 when Roosevelt Harris retired after 36 years on the city payroll. Weeks held the job while the commission searched for a permanent replacement for Harris, a process that saw Thompson and former Commissioner Mark Spaulding apply for the job. Thompson pulled out of the running, but Spaulding remained until the commission seemed ready to offer the job to Paul White of Riviera Beach, Fla. But in January, the commission decided to offer the post to Weeks instead. Among the biggest is the strong likelihood of a court battle with the County Commission over division of 1 cent sales tax proceeds.

Washington, Illinois (population 15,134): Bob Morris is retiring again as city administrator, according to the Journal Star. He says this time it’s for good. Morris, 60, initially retired June 22, 2011, after nine years with the city and was replaced by Richard Downey, who lasted only seven weeks. Downey resigned Aug. 15. He was given a severance package by Washington worth more than $60,000 in exchange for a promise not to sue the city or talk about his time as city administrator. He was placed on administrative leave before his resignation “to pursue pressing personal and family matters,” according to the five-sentence news release issued after a City Council meeting. City officials asked Morris to return on an interim basis and he’s served in the capacity since Sept. 12. He’s retiring July 31 because he’s approaching the 1,000-hours-per-year employment limit imposed on those who draw a pension from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and work again in government. The City Council accepted Morris’ retirement request last week and initiated a search for a full-time city administrator. Mayor Gary Manier said the council will be more actively involved in the vetting and hiring process this time. The deadline to apply is Aug. 17. If the candidate offered the job can’t begin immediately because the school year has started, Manier said, it’s possible another interim city administrator could be hired. Morris said his workload began to pick up early this year as the 2012-2013 budget and summer projects started needing attention. He was supposed to work 20 hours per week at $50 per hour. Downey was selected for the Washington job among 69 candidates. He was being paid an annual salary of $100,000, a tripling of the $33,000 salary he was making as the Rock Falls city administrator, a job he’d held since 2003. He was a finalist for several openings after he left Washington and was hired as village administrator in Kronewetter, Wis., on Feb. 6. He’s making an annual salary of $82,500.

Ontario, Oregon (population 11,366): Ontario city officials anticipate receiving a signed contract today for the person offered the city manager’s position, according to The Argus Observer. The Ontario City Council decided to offer the position to Jay Henry, the former city manager of Talent, Ore., council President Norm Crume said Monday. Crume was speaking for Mayor Joe Dominick, who is out of town. He said, as of Monday, the city had not received a signed agreement from Henry, but, if everything goes according to plan, Henry, Central Point, will start working for the city Monday. He replaces former City Manager Henry Lawrence. The City Council hired Prothman Company, a consulting firm, to conduct the city manager’s search. Out of 33 applications, Prothman brought 10 names to the council, with five considered strong candidates. Two of those five dropped out and the city’s hiring committee interviewed three final candidates for the position: Henry, Jeff Fiegenschuh, Princeton, Ill., and Jim Payne, Rio Rancho, N.M. Crume said the council initially began discussions with Fiegenschuh, but he was no longer interested in the position. Crume said it was the City Council’s unanimous consensus to offer the position to Henry. Crume said Henry’s wife, an internal medicine physician, is also moving to Ontario, and he believes she has been hired at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario. Crume said Henry is ideal because he is familiar with Ontario, having attended Treasure Valley Community College, he knows Oregon and has been a city manager in Oregon. Before becoming a city manager, Henry worked in public works and community development for Klamath County and attended Marylhurst University to obtain his masters of business administration and also attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 2007, Henry was hired as the first city manager of Polson, Mont., but he and his wife, Evelyn, moved back to Oregon after their 19-year-old son died. Henry was the city manager for Talent from 2008 to 2011, but his contract was not renewed under tense circumstances. According to June 4 article in the Ashland Daily Tidings, Henry was accused by a council member of violating his contract, and an elections complaint and a civil rights complaint were filed against Henry. Henry and city officials, however, worked out their differences. According to an article published on the Portland Tribune website in January of this year, Henry, however, was named in a $1.9 million lawsuit in which former city employee Cheryl Nicolay who claimed Henry fired her “after their working relationship bogged down following a contentious labor negotiation.” Crume said, during the interview process, Henry explained the circumstances behind his departure from Talent. He said, according to Henry, when he was hired in Talent, he dismissed a long-time city employee whom he felt was not doing her job properly, and that employee had ties with community members who were later elected to the City Council and then chose to not renew his contract. Crume said he was satisfied with Henry’s explanation. He said Henry will be paid $95,000 a year base salary, which is similar to Lawrence’s starting salary as city manager. Ontario City Councilman David Sullivan said he was pleased Henry was selected as city manager, adding Henry interviewed well, he understands budgeting and personnel issues very well and he also has a network with other city managers in Oregon, which Sullivan said is important.

Shawano, Wisconsin (population 9,305): Michael Hall is no longer administrator for the city of Shawano, according to The Shawano Leader. There had been a closed session of the Shawano Common Council on Tuesday on a personnel matter, but it had not listed anything specific regarding Hall. Hall was chosen from five finalists and hired unanimously in May 2011 by the Common Council to replace Jim Stadler, who was retiring. Hall’s first day with Shawano was June 27, 2011. Prior to taking the administrator post, Hall was the financial and technology manager in West Jordan, Utah. He also worked as a fleet manager, public works analyst and finance management analyst. Hall has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Utah. He also has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University and an associate degree in computer science from Ricks College in Idaho. At the time Hall was hired, Mayor Lorna Marquardt said she contacted a number of people in West Jordan to find out some background on him and received only positive comments. Hall said the night the council approved his employment that he was interested in being Shawano’s administrator because of the city’s good fiscal status. When the state cut about $270,000 from Shawano’s shared revenues, Hall’s ideas to fill that hole included controversial proposals such as eliminating the city taxicab service and creating a stormwater utility. Ultimately, the taxi service survived and the Common Council opted to assess a $100 annual fee for the city’s trash service. Hall also was working to reduce the amount of paper generated by City Hall. For example, he purchased 12 iPads for the mayor, aldermen and department heads to reduce the monthly packets of information for council members. Hall is the second major city figure in Shawano to resign in less than a year. Marlene Brath left in November after 20 years as the city clerk for, according to Marquardt, health reasons.

Morehead City, North Carolina (population 8,661): A new manager with 35 years experience in local government is headed to Morehead City, according to The Daily News. The town announced Wednesday that David S. Whitlow, who currently serves as county administrator for Essex County in northern neck of Virginia, has been selected as the town’s next manager. He will begin work Sept. 4. There were 91 candidates for the position and Whitlow was one of three finalists. Whitlow will follow former Manager Randy Martin, who retired earlier this year after 16 years with the town. Martin took a job as city manager in Franklin, Va. after closing out a 30-year career in local government in North Carolina. Now, Whitlow will bring his experience from Virginia to North Carolina. According to the town, Whitlow has 35 years experience in local government management and has worked in private sector planning positions. During the selection process, 91 applicants were narrowed to six finalists who spent considerable time in Morehead City being interviewed by the mayor and council. The initial set of interviews narrowed the finalists to three. Whitlow will be paid an annual salary of $95,000.

Thief River Falls, Minnesota (population 8,573): The Thief River Falls City Council accepted the resignation of City Administrator Jodie Torkelson at its meeting Tuesday, July 17, according to The Times. Torkelson submitted her resignation after it was learned 69 out of 73 employees had no confidence in her continuing service as city administrator. Torkelson had been employed as the city administrator since October 2003. Her last day will be Friday, Sept. 28. Four city employees appeared before the council at its July 3 meeting to present a resolution regarding the vote of no confidence. They were cut off by Mayor Steve “Beaver” Nordhagen, who noted the matter should be discussed in committee. Personnel matters are typically discussed in committee before being considered by the full council. The Times and Thief River Falls Radio obtained copies of the employees’ resolution. The resolution indicated that the employees were forced to have a vote of no confidence in Torkelson due to their low morale, the ongoing conflict and adversarial climate existing in city government, and the fallout of having to cope with disputes caused by Torkelson’s management and leadership style. The letter also indicated her leadership style has cost the city “considerable amounts of wasted money, time and resources, including, but not necessarily limited to, attorney’s fees and related expenses, wasted staff time and wasted City Council time, in dealing with and addressing unnecessary and petty issues and conflicts which have been caused by the city administrator’s abrasive, dictatorial, disrespectful, corrosive, vindictive, intimidating, adversarial, difficult and overly micromanaging leadership and management style.”

Georgetown, Ohio (population 4,331): The city administrator of Wells may have resigned for a personal matter, but he also has a job waiting for him back in Ohio, according to the Faribault County Register.. According to The News Democrat newspaper in Georgetown, Ohio, the council voted June 28 to hire Jeremy Germann as the town’s new administrator. Kelly Jones, who is retiring as the city administrator on Aug. 1 after serving 11 years, says he was among those who interviewed Germann on June 25. Georgetown is located 35 miles east of Cincinnati and has a population of nearly 4,500. Germann will be paid $64,000 a year, plus benefits. In all, 22 people applied for the position and the field was narrowed to seven finalists. Germann reportedly signed a contract to be presented for approval at the July 5 Georgetown council meeting. On July 9, Germann submitted his letter of resignation to the Wells City Council. He made no mention of employment in Ohio. Mayor Ron Gaines says he was not aware Germann had applied or had accepted another job prior to resigning. Germann was in the last year of a three-year contract and was being paid an annual salary of $71,000, plus benefits. The agreement called for Germann to give the city a 30-day advance notice. “We didn’t enforce it, because of his personal matter,” Gaines says. Due to four resignations, only two councilman unanimously voted to hire Germann. One council member stepped down to run for county commissioner and the other three applied for the city administrator’s position. Two council members who did not get the job have been re-appointed to their seats.

Grand Saline, Texas (population 3,136): Grand Saline resident Rex White begins work as the new city manager July 18, according to The Grand Saline Sun. He accepted the position recently vacated by Stephen Ashley who resigned and moved to a position in Spring Valley, Texas. White said he applied for the City Manager position becaus he realized that for the city council to retain the services of a search firm would have entailed a substantial fee in addition to the time it would take the search firm to find a qualified candidate. Budget planning time needs to begin immediately for the next fiscal year. White recognized that his salary would save the city a significant amount each year and further work that needs to be done here. White served as the Main Street program manager and community development coordinator for the town from January 2008 until July 2009. He volunteered in earlier years as a director of the Grand Saline Economic Development Corporation, a director of the Chamber of Commerce, a director of the Salt Museum, member and president of the GSISD Board of Trustees. He retired from a 28-year career with several divisions of Morton Salt International. When he retired in December 2007 he was the national accounts sales manager for the entire nation and Puerto Rico. In that position he planned and administered an operating budget of more than $20 million and managed sales totaling $163.7 million. He began his career with Morton Salt in Grand Saline in 1984 as an account executive. He is a 1962 graduate of Grand Saline High School. He was recently elected to a second term of service on the City Council. He now vacates that position, and the Council has decided to not fill it in the immediate future.

Myrtle Point, Oregon (population 2,514): After three years behind the wheel, city manager John Walsh is departing to take the helm of a slightly larger vessel, according to The World. Walsh will take over as city manager of St. Helens, Ore., at the end of this month, a move spurred by his desire to be closer to family in Portland. But Walsh, Myrtle Point’s city manager since 2009, said it wasn’t an easy decision to make. Walsh listed his proudest achievement as the consummation of a deal that paid for the majority of a $12.2 million wastewater upgrade the city must implement to meet environmental regulations. To pay for the project, household sewer bills were expected to skyrocket to an average of $150 per month. Thanks to grants and loans that Walsh secured, households are paying about $55 per month. Walsh said he expected to face new challenges at the city of St. Helens. The town, nestled on the Columbia River, has a population of 12,380 — about 10,000 more than Myrtle Point. St. Helens council does not have any major infrastructure projects on its plate, so Walsh expects he will focus largely on community building and improving efficiency. Myrtle Point already has advertised a vacancy for a new city manager. The council plans to finalize a short list of candidates in a meeting on Monday night. Walsh will work for Myrtle Point part-time in August to smooth the transition between city managers. The new manager is likely to begin in August.

Wells, Minnesota (population 2,343): Jeremy Germann has resigned as city administrator of Wells, effective July 27, according to The Free Press. The City Council has hired former Shorewood City Administrator Brian Heck as interim administrator. Germann is in the final year of a three-year contract paying an annual salary of $71,000. Germann, who has been involved in the transition process with Heck, told city officials he’s stepping down for personal reasons.

Miniok, Illinios (population 2,078): The City Council approved a one-year contract for a new city administrator with a starting salary of $65,000, according to pantagraph.com. Gary Brennan was scheduled to start work July 16.

Dewey Beach, Delaware (population 341): After a search that lasted more than six months to get a town manager in Dewey Beach in place in time for the summer, the town council’s top pick didn’t survive it, according to DelMarVaNOW. Town manager Bob Stickels submitted his resignation letter to the Dewey Beach town council late Wednesday afternoon, July 25. Stickels started as Dewey Beach town manager April 9, after signing an 18-month contract with the town that included a mutual option for an additional year. His salary was $85,000. Stickels replaced Diana Smith, who resigned in September 2011. Between Smith and Stickels, police chief Sam Mackert, finance director Bill Brown and property owner Jim Dedes had stints as acting town manager. Stickels came to Dewey Beach from the office of U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del., where he was the coordinator for Kent and Sussex counties. He previously spent 18 years as the administrator of Sussex County — from 1988 to 2006 — and six years as Georgetown’s town manager.