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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Transitions: San Francisco, CA; Henderson, NV; El Cajon, CA and more

San Francisco, California (population 805,235): San Francisco’s first female black city administrator was sworn in at a ceremony at City Hall February 7, according to KRON. Naomi Kelly was nominated last month by Mayor Ed Lee, who swore her in to the post after the city’s Board of Supervisors confirmed the appointment by a unanimous vote this afternoon. Kelly is replacing Amy Brown, who left in January to become city manager in Campbell. Brown had herself replaced Lee, who served as city administrator before being appointed mayor in January 2011 and then being elected in November to stay in office. Lee called Kelly’s appointment “historic,” saying “it’s not lost on me” the significance of swearing in the first black woman to the position during February, which is Black History Month. He said Kelly is “extremely qualified” for the job, having served as deputy city administrator for the past year and as city purchaser and executive director of the city’s Taxicab Commission before that. Kelly said, “We have plenty of work ahead of us” and said she was “very grateful” for the appointment. Kelly, a San Francisco native, has two sons with her husband, Harlan Kelly Jr., who is the assistant general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Henderson, Nevada (population 257,729): Henderson City Manager Mark Calhoun will step down in May, three years after he was appointed to the top administrative position and nearly three decades after he went to work for the city, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Calhoun said the decision was a long time coming. Calhoun in his email said he would work with Mayor Andy Hafen and the City Council as he prepares to leave the position. In 1983 he was hired as the city’s engineer. From there he served as the public works director for 12 years during a time of intense growth. Calhoun was an assistant city manager from 2001 to 2009. In that position he managed the fire, police, public works and utility services departments, according to his biography on the city website. He also managed the city’s economic development and neighborhood services departments. According to the website Transparent Nevada, Calhoun received a base pay of $225,000 in 2010, the latest year figures are available. He replaced Mary Kay Peck, the city’s first and only female city manager. Peck challenged her termination, and the case went to arbitration. She prevailed, winning a settlement worth nearly $1.3 million on Feb. 15, 2011. The city has several options in seeking Calhoun’s replacement because the city manager is an appointed position, according to communications director Bud Cranor. The City Council could conduct a national or local search or hire from within, as was the case with both Calhoun and Peck. One potential candidate is Jacob Snow, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. Cranor said Mayor Andy Hafen has had conversations with Snow regarding the job. Tracy Bower, a spokeswoman with the Regional Transportation Commission, confirmed Snow has been in discussions with Hafen about the job.

El Cajon, California (population 99,478): Douglas Williford, who worked for the city of Santee for 24 years and recently held jobs in Orange County, has been named El Cajon’s city manager, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Williford was chosen from more than 60 applicants nationwide, including acting city manager Rob Turner, El Cajon’s public works director who has been running the city since Kathi Henry’s retirement Aug. 26. Williford, who lives in San Gabriel and got his master’s degree in Urban & Environmental Geography at San Diego State, worked for the city of Santee from 1982 until 2006. He was that city’s deputy city manager and development services director. He will start in El Cajon March 22. In Orange County, he worked as the city of Irvine’s community development director and he currently serves as Deputy Executive Director for the Southern California Association of Governments. The El Cajon City Council voted unanimously to appoint Williford after a closed session Tuesday afternoon to discuss the appointment. City Attorney Morgan Foley said the employment contract for Williford will be similar to Henry’s, who worked in the City Manager’s Office for 30 years and retired with a salary of $240,572. Williford’s salary will be $219,500. He also will receive a maximum of $15,000 to cover moving costs, $120 per month for cellphone service, an automobile allowance of $550 per month, a maximum $2,500 biennially for laptop computers or other equipment, and benefits. Mayor Mark Lewis and the four El Cajon City Council members heaped praise on Turner for his dedication and work for the city over the last few months, including the recent tumult when city redevelopment agencies were axed statewide. El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick, who is from Santee, said Williford made great strides for that city. Santee Mayor Randy Voepel said Williford wrote a book about Santee’s history on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Reading, Pennsylvania (population 88,082): Carl E. Geffken, the city’s managing director credited with helping clear out numerous City Hall problems, on Tuesday afternoon resigned effective March 15 to take over Berks County operations, according to the Reading Eagle. Geffken, 47, has been named the county’s new chief operating officer, at an annual salary of $100,000. Commissioners Chairman Christian Y. Leinbach confirmed Tuesday night that he and the two other commissioners earlier in the day unanimously agreed to offer Geffken the post, which has been vacant since May, when interim chief Ken Borkey Jr. left. By the end of the workday, Geffken had met with Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer and submitted his resignation, news of which quickly got around City Hall. Leinbach said the county has dealt with Geffken on such issues as the Fire Training Center and the new radio towers that the county needs on city land. Geffken was hired as city finance director in April 2009, was named interim managing director in March 2010, and was approved to the permanent post early in 2011. He said he loved the managing director’s job, but what he called the interest and intrigue of the new post led him to apply. Spencer said Geffken’s resignation is a loss to the city. He credited Geffken with implementing the beginnings of the Act 47 financial recovery plan, and lauded him for numerous projects – among them cutting the cost of the planned new sewage treatment plant by hundreds of millions of dollars. Geffken said he was successful only because a number of decent people worked hard to make the city a success. City Council President Francis G. Acosta also said the move will be a loss for the city. Acosta said Geffken was holding city government together with his knowledge and expertise.

Roseville, Michigan (population 47,299): With a 7-0 vote, members of the Roseville City Council approved a one-year contract Tuesday evening with new city manager Scott Adkins,  according to the Detroit Free Press. Adkins has been superintendent of the City of St. Clair since 2006, and he was one of seven finalists — including the city manager of Grosse Pointe Shores and village manager of Beverly Hills — interviewed by Roseville officials about two weeks ago. Beverly Hills manager Chris Wilson was offered the job first but turned down the contract, Roseville Mayor John Chirkun said after Tuesday night’s meeting. Then Adkins accepted the post for $94,000 a year — $8,000 less than outgoing Roseville City Manager Steve Truman. Adkins is to start March 6, replacing Truman, who has been a city employee for 30 years, officials said.

Manassas, Virginia (population 37,821): The city of Manassas announced a new city manager this week, according to The Washington Post. After a nationwide search, weeks of interviews and dozens of candidates considered for the job, the City Council plans to hire state official John A. Budesky to succeed former longtime manager Lawrence D. Hughes. Budesky, 39, will take over the job March 5. Pat Weiler, who heads the city’s finance department, is serving as interim manager. Budesky is currently the executive director of the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission, which administers and oversees the state’s compensation benefits. Budesky has been a local government administrator for 16 years in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. He is the former county administrator for New Kent County, Va., an assistant city administrator for Hagerstown, Md., and a department head in Washington County, Md. City council members said Budesky was chosen for his local government experience and his enthusiasm to be a part of Manassas. Budesky, who has two young children and plans to move to the city as soon as possible from Mechanicsville, said that he looks forward to getting to know and understand the city’s departments and personnel. He said immediate priorities are public safety and ensuring a good education for city children.

Montville Township, New Jersey (population 21,528): Belleville’s township manager has been selected as Montville Township’s next administrator, according to  the Belleville Patch. Victor Canning, a Montville Township resident, officially starts in the new position March 15, although Belleville Mayor Ray Kimble said late Wednesday morning it was “premature” to comment because Canning had not yet submitted a resignation letter. Canning told the Montville Patch he is looking forward to working in the town where he has lived for the past 10 years and is raising his family. Montville Mayor Tim Braden said Canning’s references were impeccable. Before moving to Montville, Canning lived in Belleville, where he served as a councilman and as mayor before becoming the township’s manager. The former Belleville Police Department officer has served in recent role for about seven years. The Montville Township Committee approved his appointment Tuesday night and welcomed him to the position. Committeeman Scott Gallopo said he fully supports Canning as township administrator, but cast the lone “no” vote on the resolution because he thought out of principle the search process should have been more thorough. Canning is a member of the Montville Township Planning Board, but won’t be able to serve in that capacity once he is in the town’s top management job. The township had 34 applicants and conducted five interviews after former administrator Frank Bastone retired in December, Committeewoman Deb Nielson said. The selection process was unanimously approved by the Township Committee, Braden said. Township management specialist Adam Brewer has taken on the township administrator’s responsibilities on an interim basis since Bastone’s retirement while the search was conducted.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire (population 21,233): The new town administrator was officially sworn in Monday night at the town council meeting, taking his place as the third administrator in Portsmouth’s history, according to East Bay Newspapers. John C. Klimm, most recently town manager in Barnstable, Mass., was sworn in by Town Clerk Kathleen Viera Beaudoin after the council voted unanimously to ratify his appointment. He replaced interim administrator David Dolce, who has served in the position since late August. Mr. Klimm’s predecessor, Robert Driscoll, held the administrator job for 21 years. The town’s first administrator, John O. Thayer, served from 1973 to 1990. The council also voted unanimously to accept the employee agreement between the town and Mr. Klimm. Under the agreement, Mr. Klimm is contracted to the town for three years (with the option of either party terminating the agreement with 60 days notice) with a starting salary of $126,000 per year. In July the council set a $110,000 salary limit for the new administrator (when Mr. Driscoll left he was making $105,044 plus $10,504 longevity), but negotiations raised that amount while cutting spending in other contract aspects, said President Joseph Robicheau. Moving from Barnstable, Mr. Robicheau said that the salary increase had to do with “how he’ll maintain himself here.” Overall the new contract should be cheaper than that of Mr. Driscoll, he said. For one, no longevity will be paid to Mr. Klimm. He will also be in a defined contribution plan (such as a 401k) rather than a defined pension plan. He has been granted three weeks of vacation and 15 sick days per year, but vacation days are not allowed to accrue, and sick days can only carry over to the next year by 60 days. No time can be sold back to the town. This would equal a savings because under the previous administrator contract, a portion of his unused days could accrue year to year and at the end of his term be sold back to the town, said Finance Director David Faucher. When Mr. Driscoll retired, his 21 years of unused days equaled a payback of $41,714 ($25,047 for accrued sick leave and $16,667 for accrued vacation leave). During the evening, the council recognized Mr. Dolce, returning now to his position as tax assessor, for his service over the last six months. Mr. Dolce thanked the council and town hall staff for having patience and cooperation during his tenure, especially the tax staff who took on extra responsibility during that time.

Dixon, California (population 18,351): Months of searching ended Tuesday for the city of Dixon, which now has a city manager at the helm, according to The Reporter. The Dixon City Council voted unanimously in favor of hiring Jim Lindley, who will leave his current position as city manager in Dunsmuir to fill the post in Dixon on March 12. Councilman Dane Besneatte said a unanimous decision from the council is “significant” and hopefully an end to a “revolving door” at City Hall. Mayor Jack Batchelor said Lindley is an “outstanding person to come in and move this city forward.” Lindley admitted that while Dunsmuir is sad to see him go, this is the best step for him. Lindley said he was impressed with the thorough job by the council and the city in the recruitment process. It will cost Dixon $159,796 per year to have Lindley on board. The four-year contract allows Lindley a $126,000 base salary, a monthly $400 auto allowance, 104 hours of leave time that includes 80 hours of vacation, inclusion into the city’s furlough program, which will reduce his base salary by 4.6 percent, and a severance clause that gives him six months of pay and benefits should he be terminated without cause. The total compensation package, according to the city, is $169,911 per year. However, minus his state retirement contribution, that figure drops to $159,796. Lindley will fill the position left by Nancy Huston, who took a job as Solano County’s assistant county administrator in June. In the interim, Dixon Police Chief Jon Cox stepped up to temporarily serve as the city’s top administrator. Batchelor lauded Cox for his service as interim city manager. During the interim, the empty city manager position faced scrutiny from the community, staff and council. Everything was up for discussion, including the qualities the new leader should possess to salary and benefits. Additionally, a recruitment firm was hired, and then an 11-member citizens committee confirmed to interview finalists. After interviewing several candidates, Lindley, with his depth of experience, humor and candor, rose to the top. Lindley spent 20 years in the private sector, later served as a mayor and a city councilman in Hesperia and worked in various facets of government administration in San Bernardino County. For the last 20 months, he has been Dunsmuir’s city manager. He’s knowledgeable on water and wastewater issues, and the city’s proposed Sunshine Ordinance, a policy to make local government more transparent to the public.

El Segundo, California (population 16,654): A few months after he was hired as El Segundo’s city manager, Doug Willmore learned that his efforts to force Chevron, the town’s oldest employer, to pay higher taxes had made him some enemies, according to the Los Angeles Times. He found a note on his car reminding him this was a Chevron town. “Beat it,” the note concluded. Last week, a divided City Council took that advice and fired him, less than 10 months after appointing him to the job. Willmore said that the council gave no reason for his dismissal but that he felt the council had fired him “in retaliation about Chevron.” Willmore is entitled to half his annual salary of $218,000 as severance, if he signs an agreement not to sue. On Tuesday, his attorney, Bradley Gage, said he was about to file a claim against the city, the first step toward a lawsuit. Late last year, Mayor Eric Busch asked Willmore to examine the acreage tax Chevron paid on its refinery, the largest in the state. Willmore found that for decades Chevron had paid millions of dollars less in taxes than did other refineries in the state. After taking preliminary steps to place a measure on the ballot to increase Chevron’s tax, supporters didn’t have the four council votes they needed to send it to voters. Instead, the council and Chevron agreed to negotiate. Rod Spackman, Chevron’s manager of policy, government and public affairs for the L.A. Basin, denied that the oil company was involved in Willmore’s ouster. Councilman Carl Jacobson, one of three council members who voted to fire Willmore, said the city manager’s dismissal was not related to Chevron. Councilman Don Brann, who supported increased taxes on Chevron but voted to get rid of Willmore, said he had other reasons for wanting the administrator fired. Because of the potential lawsuit, he declined to go into details. The Chevron issue, he said, “may have been the final straw” for some of his colleagues. He gave Willmore credit for attracting businesses to town. Willmore’s relations with Chevron got off to a rocky start after he arrived in April from Utah, where he had been chief executive of Salt Lake County. Gage, Willmore’s attorney, said his client was covered under the state’s whistleblower law.

Red Bluff, California (population 14,076): City Manager Martin Nichols, whose last day will be Friday, is satisfied that he is leaving the city better than he found it, according to the Red Bluff Daily News. Helping the city through the recession is his biggest accomplishment, but it’s an accomplishment but in a negative sense, Nichols said. It’s hard to be proud of laying off people and reducing services. Mayor Forrest Flynn said he has worked with every city manager since the early ’80s, but none of them surpass Marty Nichols. Nichols said though he has done plenty it never feels quite done. He’s leaving behind a long list of projects for incoming City Manager Richard Crabtree. The list already contains more than 40 items, but on the top of the list is the acquisition of the Red Bluff Recreation Area for an off-highway vehicle park. Continuing to develop a relationship with the Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber of Commerce is a priority. The city and chamber need to really define what the chamber is doing for the city when the city gives the chamber money, he said. The community has not always seen Nichols as the best leader, but those working closest to him say otherwise. Nichols said the bad public image is something that comes with being city manager. The city manager is the messenger of bad news, he said. Being the city manager is a lot of responsibility. Not only is he responsible for the day-to-day operation of the city but he has ethical decisions to make and has to deliver the good news and the bad news. In all of this, one lesson he’s learn is mistakes will be made, but you just have to own up to them. Not doing so could be chaos. Nichols will leave Red Bluff to become the chief administrative officer in Lassen County. It’s a position he is familiar with and is looking forward to returning. Nichols worked as the chief administrative officer in Butte County in the ’80s, and later held similar roles in Marin County. He was head of a private firm, Government Solutions, that held joint powers authorities in Marin before he came to Red Bluff. Brown said five years ago when the council was choosing a city manager, Nichols was not his first choice. He thought Nichols was too focused on regional issues, but Nichols being regionally minded has been to Red Bluff’s advantage as the city continues to grow. Nichols said in going back to county administration he hopes to work more closely with the Legislature in returning some of the policy making decisions back to local government. The state has been making a lot of changes, from prisoner realignment to social services, that will trickle down to counties and cities, he said. Nichols will have about 2 1/2 weeks off before he starts his new job, and he’ll be spending that time with his grandchildren as well as searching for a place to live. He plans to keep his home in Paradise but will live in Susanville during the week. He and wife Sharon have already started looking for a place. At 65, Nichols said he is not ready to retire from local government anytime soon. But when he does think about retirement he thinks he would like to serve on a city council or be on the other side of things.

Fairmont, Minnesota (population 10,666): Mike Humpal will be Fairmont’s next city administrator, according to the Fairmont Sentinel. On Monday, the City Council approved naming Humpal to replace Jim Zarling when he retires in May, but not without contention. Voting in favor of appointing the assistant city administrator to the position were Joe Kallemeyn and Wes Clerc, while Andy Lucas and Darin Rahm voted against. Harlan Gorath abstained, leaving Mayor Randy Quiring to cast the deciding vote. All council members previously said Humpal is likely the best person for the job. Lucas and Rahm, however, wanted to interview outside candidates if, for no other reason, Lucas said, than to reinforce that Humpal is the right person for the job. Rahm didn’t think promoting internally would be fair to other qualified individuals. Gorath was concerned about setting precedent, though the city has a policy of promoting internally when a qualified candidate is available for a position. Humpal was on the agenda for Monday’s meeting to interview for the job. The only ones who questioned him were Kallemeyn, Clerc and Quiring. Rahm said he felt bad about putting Humpal on the spot by asking him questions he might not be prepared to answer, and Gorath also felt Monday’s forum was not the appropriate arena to interview Humpal. He previously said he wanted a closed meeting to conduct interviews, something not legal under open meeting laws. The only citizen at the meeting who voiced a query was Amy Paradis, who asked if Humpal thought it was “fair not interviewing against anybody?” Humpal said if qualified people are working for the city, then it would be fair to interview and hire them if they could successfully perform the job. In this case, Humpal is the only person employed by the city who is qualified for the joint position of city administrator and economic development director. Though the two opposing sides were equally adamant and frustrated with each other at times, when the meeting adjourned, the council and management team ended the night in handshakes all around. Besides making a presentation Monday, Humpal submitted his resume, which shows he completed his master’s degree in public administration in 1990 through the University of Nebraska and is one of eight certified economic developers through the International Economic Development Council.

Selah, Washington (population 7,147): Selah’s top administrator and the police chief have agreed to leave their jobs under settlement agreements approved by the City Council Tuesday night, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic. Supervisor Frank Sweet will be paid about $134,000 — a year’s pay, plus about $30,000 to cover health insurance and other benefits. Chief Stacy Dwarshius will remain on administrative leave through July 31, which qualifies him for a somewhat higher pension. That six-month period works out to about $40,000. Mayor John Gawlik, who was elected to replace Bob Jones, sought to remove both men. He said he did not believe he could work with Sweet, who spent most of his tenure at Selah under Jones, whom Gawlik defeated in November. He has not disclosed his reasons for seeking the removal of Dwarshius. Under Selah’s form of government, Gawlik can hire and fire employees, though dismissals may have been open to a legal challenge under the personnel policy. The councilmen unanimously approved the separation agreements without comment. Gawlik said after the council meeting that the council wanted to move on. Sweet and Dwarshius both earlier said they wanted to keep working for the city. After Gawlik was elected, Sweet had proposed a four-year settlement agreement worth about $500,000 for himself and a six-month agreement for Dwarshius. The council never acted on those requests, though they and others thought Sweet’s request was extraordinary. Sweet said he made the proposal in the hope that Gawlik would give him time to see that they could work together. Gawlik said he hopes to select an interim supervisor while he considers how he wants to recruit for the permanent position. Sgt. Rick Hayes may continue as acting police chief, but Gawlik said Hayes has indicated he does not want the full-time job.

Groesbeck, Texas (population 7,057): A long time City Administrator announced her resignation Tuesday at a city council meeting in Groesbeck, according to Our Town Texas. Martha Stanton worked for the city for 38 years. City Council members in Groesbeck accepted Stanton’s resignation Tuesday night. Stanton’s last day working with the city will be March 31. The Groesbeck resident plans to stay in town, and find something to do to keep her busy.

Lake Alfred, Florida (population 5,015): Ryan Leavengood is the new city manager of Lake Alfred, according to The Ledger. The City Commission voted unanimously Monday at a special meeting to hire him. The final contract calls for a $75,000 annual salary with raises possible after an annual review process. Initially, Leavengood had wanted $78,000 and the commission started at $67,500. The commission initially wanted not to pay severance pay for the first year but negotiated to pay three months’ salary and benefits as a severance package through Oct. 1, 2013, and four months current pay and benefits for the following year. It will also include any accrued sick leave, vacation and other accrued benefits. If he is terminated by a majority vote of the commission after Oct. 1, 2014, he will receive five months current salary and benefits, the maximum amount allowed by state law. If he leaves voluntarily, he will receive no severance and must give 30 days notice. Leavengood wanted a $500 per month car allowance to use his own vehicle but the city had not budgeted for that. Former City Manager Larry Harbuck drove a city car. Leavengood agreed to take $100 per month car allowance until Oct. 1, when the $500 monthly car allowance will be included in the 2012-2013 budget. Commissioners also agreed to pay up to $3,000 in moving expenses. Leavengood has six months to move into the city limits of Lake Alfred, a requirement in the city’s charter. Leavengood, the current Auburndale assistant manager, will begin his new job March 5.

Eagar, Arizona (population 4,885): After 20 years as town manager, Bill Greenwood announced to the council at their Feb. 7 meeting that he would be retiring as of April 28 of this year, according to the White Mountain Independent. He read his retirement letter to the council after a non-public session that was held at the beginning of their meeting. Greenwood said he was retiring with mixed emotions and that there were many factors in his decision. He said he was worn out and out of step with today’s technology needs. He stated he would be willing to assist the new manager in any way he could at the council’s discretion. Mayor Kim Holaway moved that Greenwood be given $20,000, $1,000 for each year of service, as severance pay. The council approved the motion unanimously. Several members of the council expressed their appreciation of Greenwood’s service and the audience stood and applauded him.

Southport, North Carolina (population 3,004): Southport has selected a new city manager one year after the previous manager was ousted, according to the StarNews. Patrick Thomas, the current town manager of Swansboro (population 1,902), will start his new position April 16. The interim city manager, Regina Alexander, will resume her duties as town clerk when Thomas takes over. Alan Thornton, the previous city manager, was asked to resign in February 2011. Thomas has 27 years experience in local government and community management, including being manager in Farmville, Jacksonville, Surf City and Swansboro. He was previously editor and publisher of The Pender Post community newspaper in Pender County and has 11 years of experience in the private sector. Thomas previously served as a board member for the Cape Fear United Way and for the Cape Fear Community College Foundation, was named a Citizen Planner of the Year by the Cape Fear Council of Governments and was awarded the Razor Walker Award for contributions to young people by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Watson School of Education, according to the board. The new manager said he hopes to create an open dialogue with residents in order get to know the community quickly.

Flandreau, South Dakota (population 2,341): The Flandreau City Council has finally found a new City Administrator after Chuck Jones tendered his resignation last September, according to the Moody County Enterprise. The council voted to appoint Donald Whitman of Caney, Kan. as the new City Administrator for the City of Flandreau at a special session held on Jan. 30. Whitman is expected to start at the beginning of April and currently works as the City Administrator for Caney. The city administrator’s duties usually include overseeing the policies, departments and procedures of the city, amongst others, but details of the position are unknown as Deputy City Attorney Paul Lewis, authorized by the council, is drafting the terms and conditions of the position.

Greensburg, Kansas (population 777): Eddy Truelove is the newest Greensburg city administrator, according to the Kiowa County Signal. Truelove came to Greensburg a couple of weeks ago to tour the city, meet city officials and interview for what would ultimately become his new job. He says that he was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming his hosts were. The city has entered a period of growth as of late and has a number of high profile projects in the near future including the water treatment plant, the airport, street projects and a number of complex deals including the BTI sewer line. Though Truelove has a master’s degree in public administration, he has never served as a city administrator. When asked about his relative inexperience in the city admin’s seat, Truelove said he thinks he is well equipped for the challenges. Well aware of workload, Truelove said he has taken an interest in all of the city’s current projects, which he feels are all tied to community growth. Truelove will move his family to Greensburg, and has begun searching for a house in town. Truelove will be the fifth Greensburg city administrator in one year. Following the departure of Steve Hewitt in early 2011, the city hired Dennis McKinney as an interim administrator until May when the city hired Sheila Magee. Magee only lasted less than three months and was fired abruptly in July. Jay P. Newton has been interim city administrator while the city searched for a permanent replacement.