Transitions: Arcadia, CA; Cass County, MI; Arlington, MA and more

Arcadia, California (population 56,364): La Palma City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto will become Arcadia’s next administrative chief pending City Council approval next week, according to the Pasadena Star-News. Lazzaretto, who is replacing Arcadia’s City Manager Don Penman, is expected to start on March 26. He has worked with the city of La Palma in Orange County for nine years, including six years as city manager. Lazzaretto, a Glendale resident chosen from a field of over 80 applicants, will have a base salary of $199,650 annually. Lazzaretto is also knowledgeable about public safety issues. His brother, Charles, was a Glendale police officer killed in the line of duty in 2007. La Palma was twice listed among the “Top 100 Small Cities in the United States” by Money Magazine during his tenure, according to city officials. Penman officially retired in November after nearly 14 years with the city, including four years as the city’s top administrator. He has been working as a contractor in recent months.

Cass County, Michigan (population 52,293): Cass County commissioners Thursday night accepted Administrator Charles H. Cleaver’s resignation “with regret,” according to the Niles Daily Star. Cleaver, who started in March 2011 as the county’s third administrator, on Valentine’s Day sent his resignation to Chair Minnie Warren.

Arlington, Massachusetts (population 42,844): A retirement party was thrown Thursday night at Town Hall honoring outgoing Town Manager Brian F. Sullivan, according to the Arlington Patch. Sullivan worked as Arlington’s top administrator for eight years of his 37 year career in municipal government, and is set to retire later this month. Attendees arrived at Town Hall at 5:30 for a cocktail hour, followed by speakers honoring Sullivan. After a light dinner, incoming Town Manager and current Deputy Adam Chapdelaine spoke on Sullivan’s behalf. Chapdelaine will replace Sullivan beginning Feb. 24.

Cohasset, Massachusetts (population 7,542): Six months after leaving his job as Westport town administrator, Michael Coughlin has been fired from his new job as town manager of Cohasset, according to South Coast Today. Coughlin’s three years in Westport culminated in a confrontation with the elected highway surveyor, Jack Sisson. Coughlin brought in the state inspector general to investigate the Highway Department, and the resulting report was sharply critical of Sisson. The report says Sisson improperly gave $10,000 worth of paving materials — chip seal, cold patch, gravel and rock — to the Westport Excavation Co. of Tiverton. The firm does snow plowing for the town and installed a septic system at Sisson’s home, for which the contractor said he was paid between $1,400 and $1,600. The report alleges that Sisson failed to follow proper bidding procedures when buying equipment and materials and when awarding contracts for vehicle repairs. Coughlin forwarded it to Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, and Sisson threatened to sue Coughlin for slander. Sisson was re-elected in April 2011 with 55 percent of the vote.

More than 70 people packed the selectmen’s room at town hall Wednesday night to watch a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes, according to The Enterprise. Unlike most of the selectmen’s meetings over the past six months, Cohasset Town Manager Michael Coughlin did not sit at a table next to the board members. Instead, he stood next to his wife a few feet in front of the first row of spectators. In a unanimous vote, the selectmen stated their intent to dismiss Coughlin after just six months as town manager. Coughlin has been suspended with pay until the selectmen take a final vote whether to fire him, which will take place in at least 30 days. Coughlin is not allowed on town hall property without prior notice. The selectmen, in accordance with the Town Manager Act for Cohasset, signed a resolution to remove Coughlin without cause. The board cited a difference in communication styles as the reason for Coughlin’s termination. The selectmen and Coughlin “do not share in common the same views as to how important manners should be communicated or as to the most effective manner in which those matters should be handled,” the resolution states. Selectman Diane Kennedy was the only member of the board to elaborate on the decision, implying that Coughlin tried to sully the reputation of other town officials. After the selectmen’s meeting, Chairman Edwin Carr met with dozens of residents and town employees in the town hall’s auditorium because some people wanted to voice their displeasure with the resolution to remove Coughlin. Coughlin and other residents will be able to address the issue during a public hearing March 13. The Town Manager Act allows the outgoing official to request a public session before selectmen make a final decision. Douglas Louison, Coughlin’s attorney, said his client Tuesday filed a request for a leave of absence under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. However, Louison said Coughlin’s request – which gives employees 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave – will not be accepted by the town because federal law requires that the person making the request must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months.

Osceola, Iowa (population 4,614): Osceola Mayor Fred Diehl signed a separation agreement with City Administrator Bill Kelly Thursday night after a closed special session, according to the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune. Kelly was placed on administrative paid leave, earlier this week, by the council for disorderly conduct after Kelly acted in a disruptive manner during a recent budget meeting, said council members. However, Diehl said some council members had some prior concerns with Kelly that led up to their decision. Kelly served as city administrator for five years. City Clerk Ty Wheeler will be filling in temporarily as administrator. According to the agreement, the employment contract, entered into with Kelly in November 2007, will be terminated without cause. The city’s 60-day notice of termination will be issued effective Feb. 17 and the date of termination will be April 17. The agreement states that after the April 17 date of termination, “the city shall issue to the employee payment of severance equal to six months salary, six months of insurance benefits and accrued vacation less any applicable employee insurance contributions.” In addition, the city agrees to allow Kelly to reside at his home through Oct. 17 under the pre-existing agreement reached in November 2009. However, the city won’t compensate Kelly for the rental value of the residence in the event Kelly moves prior to Oct. 17. The agreement states the employee agrees to waive any and all legal claims against the city.

Swansboro, North Carolina (population 1,902): The search for a new town manager will be one of the next tasks of the Swansboro Board of Commissioners, according to The Jacksonville Daily News. Pat Thomas, who has served as the town’s manager for nearly four years, has announced his resignation effective April 10. He’ll be staying in Eastern North Carolina but heading down the coast to serve as city manager for Southport, according to a Tuesday announcement from the city. Thomas was selected from a pool of 60 applicants for the job and will begin work there on April 16. Swansboro Mayor Scott Chadwick said Southport’s gain is Swansboro’s loss. Chadwick said the town is in good shape financially and Thomas has led the town well during difficult economic times. In his Feb. 10 letter, Thomas said it was a privilege to contribute to the accomplishments the town has seen while he has been manager. With agendas already set for the work session and Saturday’s planning retreat, the mayor said any detailed discussions of how to proceed with a search for a new manager will likely come during the board’s regular monthly meeting on Feb. 21. During the previous search, Swansboro hired an interim manager and worked with organizations such as the N.C. League of Municipalities and the Eastern Carolina Council in recruiting candidates and selecting finalists to interview for the job. Chadwick and Commissioners Jim Allen and John Lister were serving on the board during the last search process, which drew approximately 30 applicants. Both the mayor and Allen said they were satisfied with how the process worked. But with a new search to begin, Allen sees an opportunity to bring some savings to the town. Allen, who was re-elected to the board in November, said during his campaign that he feels the town has been paying too high of a salary for the manager. He said Thomas’ current salary is $93,500, which he feels it too high for a town with a budget of less than $3 million and not having to manage its water and sewer service. Commissioner Gery Boucher, who was elected in November to a first term on the board, has only worked with Thomas for a short period but said he has always shown his professionalism. Boucher said it’s not often that a new board member has the opportunity to select a new manager and he hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the search process.

Turbeville, South Carolina (population 766): The town of Turbeville made an offer Thursday morning for town administrator of city council, according to SCnow. Rodney Johnson of Florence is slated to become the new town administrator pending the results of a background screening. Johnson beat out a total of six other candidates for this position.

 

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Transitions: Long Beach, NY; Rockville Centre, NY; Ashland, OR and more

“I think the most important part of this job is being able to use the resources available to you, and in my police career I’ve had a lot of experience with that.”–Keith Spadaro

Long Beach, New York (population 33,275): Officials said the details of a contract between Long Beach and City Manager Jack Schnirman should be finalized by March after the City Council passed a resolution last week allowing the city to enter into a contract with Schnirman, according to Newsday.The two-year agreement will provide security for Schnirman and clear guidelines for his responsibilities to Long Beach, said Councilman Scott Mandel. Mandel said having a contract “puts the position on a level that’s outside of political influence to some extent.” Former City Manager Charles Theofan did not have a contract, council members said, but former City Manager Glen Spiritis did, and so have others. Council president Fran Adelson said the council would follow past guidelines, but that this contract would have fewer privileges. “There was a provision in a contract that gave the city manager a car, and that provision has been stricken,” Adelson said, citing costs of gas, insurance and wear and tear. Council vice president Len Torres said the city hopes to auction off the black, eight-cylinder Chrysler 300 that Theofan drove during his tenure. Schnirman said this contract won’t have “executive days,” and that he would be entitled to only as many leave days as other management employees. According to the International City/County Management Association, more than 89 percent of city managers have contracts. The contract will reflect Schnirman’s annual salary of $157,988 and will be made available to the public once finalized, council members said.

Rockville Centre, New York (population 24,023): After a four-month search involving more than 30 applicants, Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray and the Board of Trustees have chosen a former New York City police inspector to be the new village administrator, according to the LI Herald. Keith Spadaro will replace Frank Quigley, who was removed from the position in October, Murray announced at a special Monday-afternoon Board of Trustees meeting. The board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Spadaro, 50, who has been a village resident for 19 years. He and his wife, Stacy, have three children, Katie, 19, Keith 16, and Caroline, 14. Though Spadaro will not begin his new job until March 19, Murray and former village consultant Anthony Cancellieri will bring him up to speed on village affairs in the coming weeks. Murray removed Quigley from the position four months after he was elected, as he assembled his administration. Spadaro held a variety of positions in his lengthy career with the NYPD. Most recently, he was the commanding officer of its Office of Information Technology, where he oversaw the 1,400 members of the Communications Division. Spadaro graduated from Buffalo State College with a business degree in 1983, and then joined the Air Force for officer training and flight school, but his military career was cut short because of an injury he suffered in college. For several years he worked as a stock trader for a number of corporations. In 2001, while serving as an NYPD lieutenant, he earned a law degree from New York Law School.

Ashland, Oregon (population 20,255): Six months after being fired as Deschutes County administrator in a split vote of county commissioners, Dave Kanner was named Thursday as Ashland’s new city administrator, according to KTVZ. Mayor John Stromberg made the announcement in a news release. The position is appointed by the mayor, with the city council expected to confirm the appointment at its Feb. 21 meeting. Most recently, Kanner served as the County Administrator in Deschutes County, Oregon. Previously, Kanner served as the deputy county administrator in Jackson County, assistant to the city manager in Wilsonville and senior public affairs specialist at Metro in Portland. Kanner will begin work on Monday, February 27. Larry Patterson — former Bend city manager — has been serving as Ashland’s interim city administrator, managing operations of the city since October. Kanner will succeed former city administrator Martha Bennett, who left to accept the position of chief operating officer at Metro in Portland. Last August, commissioners Tammy Baney and Tony DeBone voted to fire Kanner. In written evaluations, the pair and colleague Alan Unger, who wanted to keep Kanner, highly praised his fiscal management, honesty and integrity. But Baney felt Kanner was not conveying her voice on county policy, and DeBone wrote that Kanner did not provide enough feedback to the managers of county departments.

Gautier, Mississippi (population 11,280): Gautier’s new city manager said she is ready to help make this city a thriving place to live, work and enjoy, according to WLOX. City council members hired Samantha Abell after firing former manager Sidney Runnels late last year. Samantha Abell is the new woman in charge of the day to day operation in Gautier. She said it’s a job she said requires a strong vision. The new city manager is no stranger to the city. She was formerly the economic director and plans to use those skills to entice more businesses to move here. Abell said creating a more walkable downtown and building a town center are also some of the big projects in the works. Abell said promoting the natural areas and building upon the riverfront will also enhance the quality of life in the city. Changing the aged signage in the city to make it more welcoming for visitors is also on the to-do-list. With help of the mayor, city council and citizens, this new city manager believes Gautier will be a better place to live, work, and enjoy.

Mathews County, Virginia (population 8,978): Melinda Moran, manager of the Town of Clarksville for the past 18 years, has been appointed Mathews County Administrator, effective April 16, according to the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal. The announcement was made following a procedural vote at a special meeting Saturday afternoon by the Mathews County Board of Supervisors. Moran will replace Steve Whiteway, who retired on Jan. 31 after serving more than 11 years in that post. Moran began her tenure as manager of the Town of Clarksville in May of 1994. According to a release from the county board, during Moran’s time in the lakeside Virginia town, she “led administrative efforts to establish a lasting shift from a traditional agricultural and manufacturing-based economy to tourism and service-based economy.” Moran holds a bachelor’s degree in human resources and a master’s in urban affairs and planning from Virginia Tech. As the new county administrator, Moran will earn $90,000 a year. Clarksville, the first incorporated town in Mecklenburg County, is located on Virginia’s southern border. With a population of 1,139, according to 2010 U.S. census figures, Clarksville is situated on Kerr Lake. Each July, the town hosts the Virginia Lake Festival, attracting approximately 80,000 visitors during the three-day event. The search for a replacement for Whiteway began last summer, attracting a “substantial number of candidates,” Burns said. Several of those candidates were called back for follow-up interviews.

Cohasset, Massachusetts (population 7,542): Wednesday night Cohasset Selectmen unanimously adopted a resolution to remove Town Manager Michael Coughlin effective immediately, according to WATD. Coughlin has the right to a public hearing which could reverse the decision. Attorneys for the town and Coughlin have agreed to hold the hearing March 13th at 7 p.m. The town will continue to pay Coughlin his salary until the hearing and final resolution. Coughlin began the job last August 1. When they hired him, selectmen lauded his “consensus-building style.” In his first week on the job, he asked all department heads for their goals and objectives. Many department heads attended the brief Selectmen’s meeting and subsequent informal question and answer session with Chairman of Selectmen Ted Carr. A former JAG Army Captain and youth sports coach, Coughlin frequently communicates in sports analogies, calling himself coach and town employees the team. He says he spoke and emailed Carr daily. Carr said the became friends. Selectmen voted to remove him without cause, referring only to “communications with the board.” Coughlin formerly served as Town Administrator in three other towns, leaving each after three years. Selectman Diane Kennedy read a statement during the meeting. No other selectman spoke. She stressed the board’s action was not the result of a pending bid by the town’s  water commissioners. Coughlin said the bid, or RFP (request for proposals), lay at the heart of the dispute. The town manages 90 percent of its water system. A private water company, Aquarion, manages the system in the north section of town. Aquarion also manages the water systems of neighboring Hingham and Hull. Hingham has discussed terminating its relationship with Aquarion because of annual rate increases. Chairman of Cohasset’s Water Commissioners Peter DeCaprio has proposed the town ask for bids from private water companies to manage the entire water system. DeCaprio is managing director of the Crow Point Partners hedge fund of Scituate and New York City. The fund received a $15 million investment from Aquarion’s parent company, an Australian holding company. Coughlin has publicly objected to the water commissioners’ bid, saying only he, as the town’s procurement officer, can manage the provision of goods and services to the town. Selectmen will meet Friday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m. to plan for interim management of town government.

Pleasant View, Utah (population 7,482): The city has hired a new chief administrator, according to the Standard-Examiner. At a recent special meeting, council members approved, with a 4-1 vote, an employment agreement for Melinda Brimhall to take on the duties of city administrator. Brimhall’s contract with the city began Feb. 8. Her salary is $78,000 a year, with benefits that include three weeks of vacation, sick leave and holiday leave. She also will receive health and retirement benefits and a travel allowance of $300 per month, using her own vehicle. The city administrator position will be evaluated annually. Mayor Doug Clifford said the city is happy to have Brimhall on board. The previous city administrator, J.J. Allen, accepted a job with the city of Clearfield, necessitating the new hire. Brimhall grew up in Utah County and graduated from Weber State University with a double major, earning degrees in psychology and criminal justice. She also has a master’s degree in administration from Brigham Young University. Brimhall is coming to Pleasant View from Grand County where she worked as council administrator for two years. Before that, she was was a management analyst for three years in Casa Grande, Ariz., and a management assistant in Chandler, Ariz., for three years. Brimhall said she has family in Pleasant View and is pleased to start working in the area. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and her puppy, Flynn. She also enjoys biking and other outdoor activities. Brimhall was sworn into office Tuesday night by Judge Patrick Lambert.

Corning, California (population 7,093): A packed house watched Tuesday evening as the City Council chose Public Works Director John Brewer to take on additional duties as city manager, according to the Daily News. Brewer, who begins his new position March 1, starts at $6,689 per month, according to the staff report. In one year, Brewer would be eligible for a raise to $7,041 per month followed by eligibility for another raise the following year to $7,412 per month. Brewer will be filling the shoes of City Manager Steve Kimbrough, who went to part time while taking retirement in 2011. Kimbrough is unable to keep the position due to Assembly Bill 1028. Effective Jan. 1, a retiree under PERS cannot work for more than a year without his retirement being affected. Councilman John Leach, the lone no vote, said he objected to the contract for Kimbrough because it has an indemnity clause and automatic renewal. Kimbrough’s duties under contract would be limited to assisting with the budget and training Brewer and other staff to prepare the budget. He would remain covered under the city’s indemnity, which protects him in case he is sued in the scope of his work for the city, City Attorney Michael Fitzpatrick said. Kimbrough would be paid $4,500 a month from March to June, with a 30-day notice of termination. The contract would renew for an additional year if not canceled. Former Councilman Ross Turner questioned whether the position of consultant was to be opened up with request for proposals or had just been created with one person in mind.

St. Clair, Michigan (population 5,485): With City Superintendent Scott Adkins heading to a new job with Roseville in two weeks, the city council will have to act swiftly to replace him, according to The Times Herald. Adkins said he submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday to Mayor Bill Cedar Jr. If the council accepts his letter, Adkins’ last day will be March 1. The Roseville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Adkins as city manager with a one-year, $94,000 contract. Adkins said he’ll start March 6. Adkins said he asked for a one-year contract with Roseville so both parties could evaluate if they were a “good fit” for each other. He said he has created a list of transition items he plans to discuss with St. Clair department heads and council members. One of the things Adkins was working on was bidding out city services, per the council’s request. Adkins said he started searching for a job in another city because of the council’s openness to privatizing city services. He said he didn’t want to wait for the council to put his job out to bid as well. He’s served St. Clair since 2006 as superintendent and makes $81,177 per year. Adkins’ contract with St. Clair was to expire in mid-2013. There is a clause in the contract that allows him to submit a resignation and attempt to give 30 days notice, but it isn’t mandatory, Adkins said. If the council fires Adkins, the contract states the city must pay him a six-month severance package, he said. St. Clair City Clerk Janice Winn said the council has directed her to assume some of the superintendent’s duties for an interim period when past superintendents have left. The Michigan Municipal League has a list of qualified people who can serve as interim city managers, Adkins said. He said he notified the mayor and some members of the council more than 30 days ago he was seeking employment elsewhere. Adkins also applied for the city manager position in Algonac on Jan. 31 and was offered the job, as Algonac City Manager Karl Tomion is retiring March 11. Algonac City Council voted Feb. 7 to accept resumes for the position. According to a schedule set by the Michigan Municipal League, it will take about 10 weeks before Algonac is ready to make an offer to a new city manager. Tomion said he’s trying to expedite the process, and has already received some resumes. He makes $72,000 per year.

West Peoria, Illinois (population 4,414): John Carlson, the city administrator in West Peoria for the last nine years, will leave at the end of April, according to the Peoria Journal Star. Carlson, who is 60, has worked in government for 32 years, coming to West Peoria in 2003 after retiring from the Peoria City/County Health Department as director of administration. Carlson said he had no hidden agenda behind his decision to leave West Peoria. Carlson cited several accomplishments in his letter of resignation and thanked the council and Dillon, who has been mayor all of the Carlson years, for the opportunities they provided him. Carlson, who told Dillon of his intentions at the end of January, will stay on until April 30, the end of the city’s fiscal year. Dillon said the search for a replacement will likely be done locally, in the hope of landing a home-grown professional like Carlson. He said he has been bursting with the news of the impending resignation since the end of January. Dillon hopes the hiring process ends up with a new administrator ready to take Carlson’s place the day his resignation takes effect.