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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture of Walt Ekard

Walt Ekard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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