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

Benny Summerlin
1958-2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transitions: Arlington, TX; Henry County, GA; West Sacramento, CA and more

“When you get in it and you’re in that groove and it’s working, it is a very fulfilling thing from a career standpoint and a public service standpoint.”–Morehead City Manager Randy Martin

Arlington, Texas (population 365,438): After conducting a national search for a new city manager, Arlington City Council members stayed close to home for their choice, according to the Star-Telegram. Deputy City Manager Trey Yelverton, 44, who has worked for the city since 1993, was promoted to the top job at the end of Tuesday’s council work session. Yelverton has been deputy city manager since 2006, overseeing departments including economic development, community services, parks and recreation, libraries, and police and fire. Previously, he was neighborhood services director. Yelverton earned a bachelor’s degree in political science-public administration from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1988 and a master’s from the University of North Texas in 1989. The council will vote on Yelverton’s contract at a later date, Cluck said. Last week, the council met twice to review 53 applicants. Councilman Robert Rivera said Yelverton, whose accomplishments include facilitating the Cowboys Stadium project and Super Bowl XLV bid, was an obvious choice.

Henry County, Georgia (population 203,922): During a called meeting last week, the Henry County Board of Commissioners appointed District 2 Commissioner Fred Auletta to the position of county manager, recently held by Butch Sanders, who turned in his resignation, according to Neighborhood Newspapers. With nearly 45 years of management and financial experience and an intimate knowledge of the county’s budget situation, Auletta is the ideal choice for the position, ensuring the county can effectively plan for the next fiscal year without missing a beat in spite of the anticipated decline in the tax digest. And at a called meeting last Friday, the commissioners named Brian Preston to fill the seat vacated by Auletta when he stepped down from the board earlier last week. Preston was one of seven people considered for the appointment. Others on the list included Roy Clack, Dan Judson, Arley Lowe, John Palmer, Brian Strickland and Kathy Watts. In anticipation of the appointment, Auletta submitted his letter of resignation to the Governor’s office earlier this week. He is also stepping down from his position at Bennett International, where he has been successful in broadening their base, increasing sales and improving the company’s profit margin even in this down economy. Also during last Friday’s called meeting, the board named District 3 Commissioner Randy Stamey as vice-chairman.

West Sacramento, California (population 37,642): West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon announced that City Manager Toby Ross plans to retire before July 1, according to The Sacramento Bee. Since assuming the city manager’s post in November 2002, Ross has overseen numerous projects and programs. City officials cited among his accomplishments major retail development in the north and south areas of the city, with anchor tenants such as IKEA, Walmart, Nugget and Target. They also cited development of the downtown into a government center encompassing City Hall, the Arthur F. Turner Yolo County Library, a satellite facility for Sacramento City College and a City Community Center. Before coming to West Sacramento, Ross was city manager for Park City, Utah, for 13 years.

Fulton County, Illinois (population 37,069): Only the Fulton County Board would break off a long-term relationship on Valentine’s Day, according to the Journal Star. The tally was 11-6 to notify Fulton County Administrator Mike Hays that the board does not intend to renew its vows in September. This is the second time he was left standing with an altered contract. His most recent agreement was struck after last-minute negotiating last fall, after a similar board decision. Allegedly, the break-up is not about love, but money. George Hall explained that Hays has a one-year contract which expires Sept. 13. Under the terms of that contract, Hays must be given at least 180 days notice if the board does not intend to renew. Otherwise, the contract automatically renews for another year. Hall maintains the county cannot guarantee it will have the funds for an administrator in the future. Hays makes $76,915 a year. Steve Conklin disputed that explanation. He called it ironic that the board approved hiring a new clerical assistant in the administrator’s office at the same meeting. Conklin is a member of the finance committee. He said if getting rid of Hays was a financial move, it should have been discussed by that group, but it was only discussed by the executive committee. Hays himself said little, except that it is common for county administrators to have severance or long-term provisions because they work in politically volatile situations. He said he told the board he intends to seek other employment, but will work hard in the seven months remaining on his contract.

Burlington, Iowa (population 25,663): After two days of interviews, the Burlington City Council Saturday named James Ferneau, 44, its new city manager, according to The Hawk Eye. Ferneau, city administrator of Sergeant Bluff since 2008, will start his new job in Burlington April 23, after a 60-day notice. Ferneau, who has been city administrator of Sergeant Bluff since 2008, will start his new job in Burlington April 23, following a 60-day notice to his current employer. Six candidates had an individual two-hour community orientation tour, met with a citizen’s panel and had an hourlong interview with city council members. Mayor Jim Davidson said the council and the panel were in agreement about hiring Ferneau once the interviews were over. Mayor Jim Davidson said the council and the panel were in agreement about hiring Ferneau. Ferneau has more to offer than a solid grasp on the budget, though. Davidson said the man is very personable. Mayor Pro Tem Christopher Reed said Ferneau stood out right away from the other candidates. Ferneau was headed back home Saturday night and is looking forward to bringing eight of his nine children back with him. The council has scheduled a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to officially adopt a resolution approving Ferneau’s employment agreement. The public is encouraged to attend. Ferneau is a native Iowan and said he will spend the first several weeks of his new job getting to know the staff and the community, as well as identifying the biggest issues that need to be dealt with. He said Burlington is comparable to his hometown of Marshalltown in many ways. He has 11 years of city management experience, having worked as city manager of Fairbury, Neb., before moving to Sergeant Bluff. Police Chief Dan Luttenegger has been interim city manager since Doug Worden retired at the end of December. Luttenegger and the council are still working on the fiscal year 2013 budget, which will be approved before Ferneau comes on board. Ferneau said given realities in municipalities’ budgets, the old way of doing things doesn’t work. He said addressing challenges means thinking outside the box, like sharing services with other entities and streamlining services. Ferneau was selected from six finalists recruited by Voorhees Associates from a field of 66 applicants. Davidson said he sees a bright future ahead for Burlington with Ferneau at the helm.

Marina, California (population 19,718): A letter laying out the rationale for City Manager Tony Altfeld’s pending ouster is short — one paragraph — and says the only reason is the city and Altfeld have failed to agree on pay issues, according to The Monterey County Herald. Responding to Altfeld’s request for written reasons for his pending March 7 termination, an Oakland labor attorney hired by the City Council to handle dealings with the embattled chief executive replied last Friday. The Feb. 17 letter from attorney Edward Kreisberg told Altfeld the sole reason for his pending removal was that he and the City Council could not agree on appropriate pay and severance terms for a new contract. Altfeld makes about $203,000 a year and his contract calls for 12 months of severance pay if he is let go. The city code, however, appears to cap a dismissed city manager’s severance pay at four months. Altfeld’s attorney, Mark O’Connor, took issue Tuesday with the reason given in the city’s letter. He said Altfeld had agreed to the City Council’s “last and best offer” on compensation and severance terms. O’Connor said the letter fell short of adequately disclosing “the information that bears on the reason” for Altfeld’s planned termination. Kreisberg didn’t return a phone message Tuesday. The council today will consider scheduling a public hearing sought by Altfeld on his termination for its March 6 meeting, the day before the city manager is supposed to go.

Safety Harbor, Florida (population 16,884): The Safety Harbor City Commission voted Monday night on a three-year contract with former City Manager Matt Spoor that brings him back at the same salary, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Spoor resigned in early January for a job with St. Petersburg but recently asked for his old job back. Commissioners unanimously agreed to an annual salary of $122,763 for the returning city manager. “Congratulations, Mr. Spoor. It’s good to have you back,” said Mayor Andy Steingold.

Green River, Wyoming (population 12,515): Longtime Green River City administrator Barry Cook has resigned, according to KUGR News. Green River mayor Hank Castillion said Cook handed him his resignation letter Thursday night. Castillion says the letter will be forwarded to the City council for discussion and action at there upcoming Tuesday night meeting. Castillion says he could not comment on what the next step will be for the city until the council has an opportunity to discuss Cook’s resignation. Cook has served the city for over 15 years.

Vidor, Texas (population 10,579): Ricky Jorgensen, Vidor city manager, is ending his seven year tenure with the city on March 9, according to The Record Live. He’ll be the new city manager of Giddings, a city on Highway 290 that is 40 miles south of Austin. Jorgensen said he looks forward to the move for two reasons: his daughter and his three-month-old grandchild live in Austin and also Giddings has its own water, sewer and electrical works utilities. Jorgensen feels the city has accomplished much in his stay in Vidor. Some of those accomplishments that stand out to him include completing two property annexations that allowed the city to grow, building the Joe Hopkins Memorial Park, building a new city hall, using Hotel Occupancy Tax money to improve the quality of life in an effective way and more revenues coming in. In fact, the city is close to balancing its budget for the first time in years, he said. The city council has also reached the halfway mark in the zoning process for the city. The city council and the Vidor Police Association also agreed upon a new contract two years ago. Another round of police contract negotiations will begin again either in May or June of this year. Advertising for a new city manager for Vidor has begun with notices on the Texas Municipal League, the Texas Managers Association websites and newspapers.

Taft, California (population 9,327): City Manager Bob Gorson resigned unexpectedly Tuesday night, apparently during an evaluation by the Taft City Council, according to the Taft Midway Driller. Gorson turned in his keys and was escorted from the building. Mayor Randy Miller confirmed the announcement Wednesday morning. Public Works Director Craig Jones was named interim city manager. Miller and City Attorney David Prentice were going to meet with city staff Wednesday morning to discuss the sudden resignation. Gorson’s  evaluation was on the agenda for a closed session prior to the 7 p.m. regular meeting, but it was postponed until after the regular open session. The council adjourned into closed session with Gorson and Prentice about 8:20 p.m.

Franklin, Virginia (population 8,812): After taking the Franklin city manager’s job on a three-month interim basis, June Fleming on Tuesday will return to retirement for what turned into a 3½-year stint, according to the Tidewater News. Fleming, who retired as city manager of Palo Alto, Calif., and moved to Franklin in 2000, applied for the interim position in 2008 when former City Manager Bucky Taylor left. The City Council searched for a city manager when she came on, but didn’t get a good pool of candidates. Randy Martin, the city manager for Morehead City, N.C., will start on Tuesday, Feb. 21. (See story below.) Fleming said she has enjoyed her time with the city and has no regrets. A member of High Street United Methodist Church, she plans to volunteer for the church and spend more time with family. She will represent Franklin on the Paul D. Camp Community College Board of Directors. Mayor Jim Councill wished Fleming well in retirement. A Little Rock, Ark., native, Fleming married her husband, Roscoe, 46 years ago. The couple has a daughter each and adopted a son together. Fleming began her city government career with the Palo Alto Public Library before working her through the ranks to city manager. She was with the City of Palo Alto for more than 30 years. Fleming took over at a crucial time when the city was trying to become more fiscally responsible, said Councilman Benny Burgess. He said Fleming helped clean up the budgeting process.  Fleming said one of the biggest challenges she faced in her time was managing the economic downturn. She also oversaw the restructuring of city debt and was able to take positions out of the budget that had never been filled. Councilman Barry Cheatham said Fleming came to the city when her leadership was “sorely needed.”

Morehead City, North Carolina (population 7,440): The life of a public servant often means change, but for departing Morehead City Manager Randy Martin there has been a constant during his 16-year tenure with the town: a shared vision of the town council, the staff, the manager and the community, according to the Jacksonville Daily News. It’s a valued combination in a local government career. Add in the fact that it’s the place where he and his wife, Sheila, have raised their three sons and where they’ve become part of the community, and Martin said he has never lost his enthusiasm for the job or the town. Martin is retiring after working more than 30 years in local government in North Carolina and will continue his public service work for a while longer with a new job as city manager in Franklin, Va. With half of his North Carolina career in Morehead City, there are many projects and accomplishments that come up in conversation: the restoration of the downtown train depot, the Radio Island Water Access, the acquisition of Sugarloaf Island, and the construction of a new police department and new fire department facilities to name a few of the most visible ones. There have also been major upgrades to town utilities, including a new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant, a 10-year project said to be the largest in the town’s history. One of the areas in which Martin says he is most proud is the expansion of the town’s parks and recreation facilities and programs. In numbers, the amount of town-owned public recreation space as grown from less than 5 acres to close to 80. The town’s recreation center has been fully renovated, water accesses have been added, bike paths and multi-use trails are well used and ball fields and playgrounds have been constructed, from Rotary Park and Shevans Park to the new baseball field at Big Rock Stadium, which serves as home to the Morehead City Marlins, a summer college baseball team. Martin said the successes the town has seen are the result of a cooperative effort. As he retires from his Morehead City duties, Martin’s biggest compliment to the town is that his family considers it home and it’s the place where he plans to return when he retires again. Martin’s last day on the job will be Monday. The town has hired Peter Connet, a retired city manager, to serve on an interim basis while the town council conducts a search for a new manager.

High Springs, Florida (population 5,552):  In an unannounced move Feb. 9, the High Springs Commission appointed Jeri Langman to the permanent position of City Manager, according to Alachua County Today.  Although it was not on the agenda, commissioners made the appointment during the final moments of the meeting, raising concerns among several people in attendance that the matter should have been deferred and taken up after being advertised to the public. Despite harsh criticism from some, on a motion placed on the floor by Vice Mayor Barnas and seconded by Commissioner Linda Gestrin, commissioners approved the measure in a 3-1 vote.  Mayor Dean Davis also supported the appointed while Commissioner Sue Weller cast the only vote against it. It was during that workshop before the regularly scheduled commission meeting that it was reported that the only remaining candidate in the running for the job, W.D. Higginbotham, Jr., withdrew from the process. Langman was hired as the interim city manager in December at a salary of $4,000 monthly without benefits.  She replaced Jenny Parham, who served as interim city manager and was compensated about $1,500 monthly in addition to her role as city clerk.  Langman will drop the interim from her title, but will see a marked increase in compensation.  In approving the change, commissioners also gave Langman an annual salary of $55,000 plus benefits. The appointment did not come without heated criticism from several people calling on the commission to reconsider the action.  Most of those speaking out in opposition to the appointment urged the commission to restart the city manager selection process.  Others, however, lauded the commission and encouraged their fellow residents to stand behind Langman and the city. Barnas said he was pleased with Langman and didn’t want to search for another city manager.  But numerous people spoke out against aborting the search for a city manager, including resident Laura Graetz who said the city needs a city manager with the proper qualifications to run a city. Graetz referenced an employment advertisement for the city manager position, in which the desired qualifications are outlined.  Among them are 3-5 years of responsible municipal government experience, professional management experience and economic development experience.  Linda Jones said she voted for Barnas and Gestrin but accused the duo of switching their positions. Other residents, including Bob Hallman, supported the commission’s move and blamed the city’s prior administration for harming its financial position. Hallman also said unrest in the community might be explained by what he considers inaccurate news reporting.  Hallman did tell the commission that he thought there was some “serious staff problems” at the City.  But he supported the appointment of Langman. Resident and employee Don Alderman said he was pleased with the direction of the City, but warned that the commission’s swift actions on Thursday might not be perceived by the public in a positive light, and therefore, motivate people to replace commissioners.  After Barnas made the motion during the City Commissioner Comments portion of the meeting to appoint Langman, former City Attorney and High Springs resident Thomas DePeter sharply criticized the move. Another criticism came online as former commissioner Eric May noted on his blog site that in making the appointment during commission comments, they violated the city’s own rules.  According to section 4(L) of the city commission’s Rules of Procedures, “Final action can only be taken if the City Commission waives its Rules of Procedures.”  That waiver never occurred.  Although there appears to be a violation of the city’s own rules, the appointment of Langman is unlikely to be successfully contested as the rules are not state law. Langman’s appointment was effective immediately.

Osceola, Iowa (population 4,614): A separation agreement was signed with Osceola City Administrator Bill Kelly last week after the city council held a special closed session, according to the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune. Kelly was placed on administrative paid leave by the council for disorderly conduct after Kelly acted in a disruptive manner during a recent budget meeting. However, Mayor Fred Diehl said there were other previous actions of Kelly that led to the council’s final decision. The council voted 5-1 to terminate Kelly’s contract and enter into the separation agreement. Councilmember Glenn Schaff said he was in favor of terminating Kelly, however, he was not in favor of the agreement package the council approved. Kelly served as city administrator for five years. City Clerk Ty Wheeler will be filling in temporarily as administrator. Diehl said although Wheeler is young he feels it’ll be a good opportunity for him. 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 was issued, effective Feb. 17, and the date of termination will be Apr. 17. The agreement states that after the 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.

Grosbeck, Texas (population 4,040): A long time City Administrator announced her resignation Tuesday at a city council meeting in Groesbeck, according to Our Town Grosebeck.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. Jonestown, Texas (population 2,237): The Jonestown City Council voted unanimously Friday to accept the resignation of City Administrator Dan Dodson , who had been named in an ongoing grand jury investigation of a failed wind energy project, according to the Statesman. Court filings from October 2011 said Charlie Malouff Jr., founder of CM Energies, and Mary Jo Woodall, a former state comptroller’s office staffer and grant administrator, conspired to illegally obtain up to $2 million in federal stimulus money by overselling CM Energies’ ability to deliver the electricity-generating wind turbines. Dodson was named in court documents because of his involvement in the project. Dodson was named as the “project director,” “principal investigator” and “designated responsible employee” for the City of Jonestown on the grant paperwork, and he was warned by CM Energies employees that the windmill company couldn’t provide the technology for the wind turbines, authorities said in court documents. The city has filed a lawsuit against CM Energies, which was supposed to manufacture and install wind turbines for the city. Council members said Friday that city officials would continue to work with investigators involved in the case. Dodson, who has worked as city administrator since 2007 , didn’t appear in public during Friday’s meeting when council members met in executive session to discuss his employment. At the Feb. 9 council meeting, council members said they had received Dodson’s resignation letter but took no action at the time. In December, the council had decided against extending Dodson’s $80,000 annual contract. At the time, council members said Dodson would remain in his position without a contract because of his experience and his involvement in ongoing city projects. On Friday, the council also instructed city staff to begin advertising for a new city administrator, who would start May 1, if not sooner. Dodson would remain available as a consultant to the City of Jonestown, council members said. Alderman Joe Aaron said Friday that the last time the council looked for a city administrator, the process took more than five months. Dodson didn’t return a phone call on Friday seeking comment.