Transitions: Charlotte, NC; Savannah, GA; Goodyear, AZ and more

Curt Walton

Curt Walton

Charlotte, North Carolina (population 1,758,038): Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton is planning to retire at the end of the year, according to multiple city officials, according to WCNC. Walton, who was named manager in 2007 when Pam Syfert retired, led the city through the economic downturn mostly unscathed. He made a number of small cuts to balance the city’s budget, but the city was able to avoid large reductions that other cities nationwide had to face. Earlier this year, Walton unveiled an ambitious $926 million capital plan that would have invested in the city’s low-income neighborhoods. But the plan failed to get council support and hasn’t been enacted yet. The City Council is now trying again to pass a capital improvement program. Walton was picked by council members in 2007 over Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble and former Assistant City Manager Keith Parker, who now heads up the transit system in San Antonio.

Savannah, Georgia (population 186,236): The half dozen or so Savannah-Chatham police officers proved unnecessary Thursday, according to the Savannah Morning News. A subdued audience of about three dozen filled Savannah City Council chambers for a special meeting to determine the fate of City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney. Her official tenure ended with little of the turmoil associated with her 18 months of management and with none of the vocal protest that punctuated the last week after Mayor Edna Jackson had asked for her resignation. After a 90-minute executive session, Jackson resumed the public meeting by stating she had received Small-Toney’s written resignation about 8:30 that morning. Three times, Jackson invited anyone who wanted to speak to come to the microphone. Only one woman did, and her final question to council was one they had wrestled with, publicly and privately, for weeks: “Is there any way that this could have been avoided?” The time for that question had passed, though. In two quick votes, council members accepted the resignation and appointed Assistant City Manager Stephanie Cutter as acting city manager. The vote on resignation was 6-3, with staunch Small-Toney supporters John Hall, Estella Shabazz and Mary Osborne voting against. The vote for Cutter was unanimous. Under the charter, she can serve for three months before council needs to name a replacement or extend her service. Mayor Pro Tem Van Johnson and Alderman Tony Thomas echoed the assessment that council need not rush a search for a replacement. Jackson, initially one of Small-Toney’s strongest supporters, admitted it was a difficult time for all involved. She thanked Small-Toney for her five years of city service, and later said the decision was not meant to hurt her but needed to come because “this fit was not for her at this time.” Johnson regretted the outcome, but saw little other choice. Shabazz, Hall and Osborne had all acknowledged the mismanagement rippling through city departments, and Shabazz and Osborne had asked some of the more pointed questions during council reviews. What they could not support was removing Small-Toney without giving her more time to correct problems. The city manager was reprimanded Aug. 31 after revelations about her failure to adhere to travel policy and a Purchasing Department overrun with payment problems. Council asked for immediate improvement. They stipulated that within 90 days they would provide her a comprehensive evaluation of her performance. Other missteps, though, quickly followed, including a letter that threatened Cutter with termination if she could not address problems in the Purchasing Department. Current and former Purchasing employees say that though their department fell under Cutter’s supervision, Small-Toney had direct involvement and allowed Cutter no decision making. On Sept. 26, in a special work session, a majority of council supported the mayor’s request for the city manager’s resignation. Hall opposed it then as he did Thursday. Hall does not believe the divided vote will have a lingering effect for council, and by the end of the regular meeting a relaxed banter, missing for weeks, had returned. Thomas also believes the full council is ready to return to issues other than day-to-day management of the city. He and other council members had called for, and were assured by Incoming City Attorney Brooks Stillwell, that an audit of funds would occur and that such a step was a normal practice anytime a chief executive officer left an organization. The satisfaction in seeing Cutter named acting city manager was immediate. Council members, employees and residents credit her with being fair, honest and hard-working. Cutter, 55, has been a city employee for 23 years. She rose through the ranks, first as a budget analyst, later as director of the Sanitation Department and for the last two years serving as an assistant city manager. For the last year, she has overseen the bureaus of Management Services and Community and Economic Development. She’s a Savannah native, grew up in Liberty City and graduated from Windsor Forest High School and what was then Savannah State College. She does not want the city manager’s job on a permanent basis. Even in Sanitation, known as one of the more rough-and-tumble, demanding city departments, she earned widespread respect for balancing her expectation that the job get done well with her fairness toward employees. Lamonica Golden, an equipment operator in Sanitation, recalled an incident years ago when a distraught employee wasn’t sure how she could get her handicapped daughter to a special school and keep her work schedule. Cutter rearranged the woman’s schedule so she would be able to take her daughter to school. No one, Golden said, should mistake Cutter’s soft-spoken tone with an inability to lead. In her letter of resignation, Small-Toney stated the terms of her departure. She will receive six months’ pay and, as any employee would, credit for accrued vacation pay. She may be entitled to more pay than she realizes. In a letter dated March 2012, Jackson outlined Small-Toney’s compensation plan approved by the new council. It included a 2 percent salary increase retroactive to January. City staff, including the Clerk of Council and Human Resources, never got a copy of that letter, and Small-Toney’s pay throughout this year remained at $190,575. It should have been $194,386. At that rate, her six months’ pay would be $97,193. Bret Bell, the city’s spokesman, said no one could immediately explain why the raise hadn’t taken effect, but it would be researched. Small-Toney also notified the mayor she would schedule a time to return all city property she has and would vacate her office in five days.

Goodyear, Arizona (population 66,275): The Goodyear City Council on Monday unanimously appointed Brian Dalke the permanent city manager, according to the Arizona Republic. Dalke has filled the position on an interim basis since March after former City Manager John Fischbach abruptly resigned. Dalke will earn $178,760 per year, plus benefits, to run a city with 66,309 residents. His contract runs through Dec. 31, 2013, the maximum time allowable under the city charter. Dalke’s base salary appears to be in line with those of other area city managers. In Avondale, a city of 77,518, City Manager Charlie McClendon earns $183,882 annually. Buckeye Town Manager Stephen Cleveland’s annual salary is $140,200. Buckeye has 61,649 residents. In Glendale, a city of 230,482, interim City Manager Horatio Skeete makes $208,450 annually. Under Dalke’s contract: The city will make an annual contribution to Dalke’s retirement plan that is equal to 10 percent of his salary. Dalke will receive 80 hours of executive leave, 96 hours of sick time and 160 hours of vacation each year. He can accrue as much as 320 hours of vacation and is eligible to accrue an unlimited amount of sick leave. The city manager will get a $400 per month automobile allowance, in addition to the same disability, health and life insurance granted to other city management employees. City leaders say they have high expectations. The City Council wants Dalke to focus on economic development that will create jobs and attract businesses that support existing industries within the city. He is also tasked with completing a strategic plan for the city and conducting an employee compensation study. Since Fischbach’s departure, several new managers have been hired to lead city departments. The Community Development and Economic Development departments were merged into a single Development Services Department. The new department includes the Building Safety Division, which is currently under the Fire Department. The moves allowed the city to reduce the number of department directors from three to one. The changes will lower salary costs and help Goodyear gear up for the next wave of growth, Dalke said. Dalke will run a city where only 10 percent of the land is developed. Goodyear is in discussions to land a couple of new companies by the end of 2012, he said. He declined to name them, but Dalke said the city will cultivate businesses in industries compatible with the F-35 pilot-training mission announced for Luke Air Force Base. Dalke said that he will run a transparent and efficient city and that he is interested in saving residents’ tax dollars. For example, when the city reduced bulk trash pickup from twice a month to once a month, it saved $300,000, he said. He said will also concentrate on improving quality of life for residents. The City Council on Monday appointed 24 residents to serve on the Goodyear 2025 General Plan Committee. They will work for 18 months on a long-range plan that must be ratified by voters before July 1, 2015. Before he was appointed, Mayor Georgia Lord thanked Dalke. It’s challenging to be in an interim position under difficult circumstances, she said. Fischbach resigned March 19 after a closed-door session with council members. The two sides agreed to part ways after a three-month performance review. Council members were concerned that emerging issues were not being handled according to expectations.

Flower Mound, Texas (population 64,669): After weeks of speculation, the Flower Mound Town Council unanimously voted to fire Town Manager Harlan Jefferson on Monday in a special meeting, according to the Carrollton Leader. Jefferson, who has been the town manager since 2006, was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 22 during a special meeting. His contract was set to expire in October 2015. Chuck Springer, the town’s chief financial officer and assistant town manager, will remain the interim town manager until a permanent one is found. Jefferson was not at Monday’s meeting. Jefferson will receive 22 months severance per the terms of his contract, though an exact figure was not disclosed. According to his contract, Jefferson made an annual salary of $187,995. The contract states that if Jefferson is involuntarily terminated, he would be entitled to a severance equal to the total base salary, as well as “all accrued leave and town benefits, including but not limited to health insurance, vacation leave, sick leave and exempt leave.” The money will come from the town’s general fund, which Mayor Tom Hayden said currently sits at $9.6 million. Hayden said that at Jefferson’s request, the town has agreed to a mutual confidentiality provision as part of the formal settlement. While Hayden would not elaborate Monday on reasons for the council’s action, he did address the situation at the Oct. 1 council meeting. Later that week and before Monday’s vote, Hayden discussed a new direction. At the Sept. 22 meeting, Jefferson’s attorney, Don Colleluori, said Jefferson understands that it is the council’s right to terminate his contract, but he said Jefferson had not been given the opportunity to address any concerns the council had of him. Since then, sources have refuted that claim, citing several instances when Jefferson was aware of concerns. Among those were discussions at the town council strategic planning session and a council work session following the election in which the council outlined goals and discussed a desire to change the town’s direction in certain areas, including the working relationship the town has with developers. Colleluori also acknowledged the developer surveys in which area developers gave low marks to the town’s processes. But Colleluori said those processes are set by the council and that the town manager only enforces those. Others, however, have said the town manager has the right to make exceptions to help in the development process and that Jefferson did not. When asked last week if he agrees with Colleluori’s sentiment, Hayden pointed to the Oct. 1 meeting when David Watson of Direct Development discussed the issues his firm has had with the town when working on Cross Timbers Village. The development, located near the intersection of FM 1171 and Bruton Orand Boulevard, will include Tom Thumb, as well as two other buildings. Per the development agreement, landscaping was required to be installed around the property’s perimeter before a certificate of occupancy would be approved. Watson said his firm requested that the landscaping around the two buildings be allowed to be installed after the construction of the buildings since it would have to be torn up anyway during construction. Watson said the town staff denied that request, causing a delay in the project and adding extra cost. Watson also said his firm had to pull 33 permits for this project, noting that a similar project in Wylie has only required one permit. Watson also said the town required signatures from the owners of all property the construction crew had been on to verify that they left the property in good condition. Watson said that was a last-minute surprise and another hassle. Hayden said there have been several other instances in Flower Mound recently similar to what Watson described. Hayden said the search for a permanent town manager will begin immediately.

Hanford, California (population 53,967): The council is expected to appoint a new city manager and discuss an employment contract, according to the Hanford Sentinel. At the previous meeting, City Attorney Bob Dowd named Coalinga City Manager Darrel Pyle as the top candidate for the job. Pyle is expected to begin in late November or early December. It’s not know how much Pyle will be paid. Former City Manager Hilary Straus was paid $160,000 per year.

Bryan County, Georgia (population 31,377): Only moments after the Bryan County Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of current County Administrator Phillip Jones during their meeting at the Bryan County Administrative Complex Tuesday, they voted unanimously to name south Bryan resident Ray Pittman as his successor, according to the Savannah Morning News. Pittman and William (Jason) Tinsley, the current Assistant County Administrator/Finance Director for Habersham County, had been named as the two finalists for the job on Sept. 18. The original field of 25 candidates was screened and charted by Jones, who presented them to the commissioners as a list. According to Jones, he, County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed, and Commissioners Carter Infinger and Jimmy Henderson participated in either all or some of the interviews. Jones added that because it is often difficult to get all the commissioners together at one time, interviews for department head positions in the Bryan County government are commonly conducted by a committee which then makes its recommendations to the entire board. There is no requirement for the entire board to interview candidates he said. However, any commissioner who wishes to participate can. However, if they all do, or enough to make a quorum do, a meeting would have to be called. Pittman has worked for Thomas and Hutton Engineering in Savannah for 27 years as an engineer and is a principal in the organization. He has an extensive background in sewer and water design/construction and has lived in Bryan County since 1986. He also chaired the committee that developed the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the SPLOST and TSPLOST committees. Jones’ resignation becomes effective Dec. 31 of this year.

Garden City, Michigan (population 27,692): In a split decision, Garden City Council voted 4-3 last Monday evening to fire City Manager Darwin McClary, according to the Observer & Eccentric. Councilman Jim Kerwin made the motion, supported by Joanne Dodge. Councilmen David Fetter and Councilmen George Kordie also voted to terminate McClary. The vote was a mirror image of a vote in August to suspend the city manager. There wasn’t a collective reason for firing McClary although Fetter listed a number of his personal gripes that have accumulated through time. Fetter said that what the community sees McClary is just a sliver of himself. Fetter took issue with the first-time lighting assessment and that while the city administration said that the fee will not go up, the plans are now to increase it this year which he won’t support. Employees, who earlier negotiated raises, went to the city manager and on their own said that they would give up their raises but got a slow response. Fetter acknowledged that contract concessions were made. Fetter also complained that both he and Kordie asked if public informational meetings about the 3.5-mil police and fire millage, which passed in May, would be held prior to the election. Kordie said that when he did the math on evaluations, McClary was consistently below average. Kordie also said he couldn’t obtain information about grievances. He wanted to know when a grievance was about to go to arbitration because that costs the city money. He said that he also hasn’t been able to get satisfactory answers to citizen complaints. He added that if the council hadn’t pushed to only close city hall one day rather than two days a week the change would not have happened. Councilwomen Patricia Squires and Jaylee Lynch responded that they hadn’t heard some of the prior concerns before. The council is responsible for establishing policy and procedures and for passing budgets and only has two meetings a month, Lynch said. Lynch called the situation “unfortunate.” She noted that McClary’s assistant’s position was eliminated and he has less help. Walker called McClary’s firing a major decision. Walker, too, added that there were topics he hears which were not brought up to him before. After the vote, McClary, who received hugs from people in attendance, said that he was still trying to synthesize council’s criticisms and wished that these things had been brought up to him prior to the public hearing. He said earlier that evening that the “council and the administration have to work together for the benefit of the city.” Garden City Planning Commissioner Harriette Batchik considered McClary extremely knowledgeable about ordinances and state laws. For all McClary has done, it will take a lot of time for a new person to come up to speed, she said. Resident Kerry Partin was angry at the decision. Al Buckner, a Garden City resident who didn’t support McClary, said the amount of people who showed up at the meeting didn’t represent the public’s true feelings. He added that while the city will have to pay McClary six months of pay in his severance package, the city will save money later. He pointed out that Acting City Manager Robert Muery is only receiving $35 a day extra over his police chief salary. Buckner called the people who came to support McClary, “friends of the mayor.” Garden City Council didn’t discuss next steps after some council members voted to fire McClary. When Garden City Manager David Harvey left for another job, the council interviewed three candidates who were screened from a list of about 13 candidates. They hired McClary who first worked as an interim city manager for six months for the city. A formal candidate search was never conducted.

Greenfield, California (population 16,330): Greenfield appointed a new city manager on Tuesday who was fired as city manager in two Florida cities and spurred a national debate on transgender identity, according to KSBW. Susan Ashley Stanton, formerly named Steve Stanton, was the city manager of Largo, Fla., for 17 years until media outlets reported that she was going to undergo a sex change. In 2006, Steve Stanton was a 48-year-old man who was married, a father of a 13-year-old son, and a city manager in charge of 1,000 Largo employees. In January 2007, Stanton privately told the mayor and other top city officials that she wanted to become a woman. But an uproar by Largo residents and religious leaders ensued when Stanton was outed by an article published by the St. Petersburg Times, and Largo’s City Commission voted to terminate Staton’s employment just days after. Stanton had a $15,000 gender-reassignment surgery and changed her legal name soon after she was fired in Largo. She later became city manager in Lake Worth, Fla., where she worked from 2009 until she was abruptly fired last December. During Greenfield’s City Council meeting on Tuesday night, council members are expected to appoint Stanton to the post and give her a city-owned house in Greenfield. Greenfield Interim City Manager Brent Slama and Mayor John Huerta declined to comment on the city’s decision to hire Stanton.

Whitewater, Wisconsin (population 14,390): Whitewater’s new city manager, Cameron Clappper, said he is confident he can continue successes and projects handed down from his predecessor, according to the The Janesville Gazette. Clapper’s top priorities include the city’s annual budget and economic development. Cannon has decades of experience in local government, including serving as city administrator in Sun Prairie. Beyond the budget and economic development, Clapper said he wants to continue a tradition of open and transparent government and show that Whitewater city government continues to look for ways to be more efficient without degrading essential services. Whitewater city employees have cooperated in the thinning process, Clapper said, and that needs to be recognized. Clapper said he intends to work for and with the community.

Powder Springs, Georgia (population 13,940): The Powder Springs City Council on Monday switched the role of Brad Hulsey—who served as the city’s mayor for four years—from interim city manager to the long-term position, according to the WestCobbPatch. Hulsey beat out roughly 50 initial applicants and two other finalists: Raymon Gibson, who most recently served as city administrator for the city of Stockbridge for a year; and Terry Todd, whose most recent job was the city manager for the city of Palmetto for four years. The appointment—which comes with a $104,000 annual salary—was made on a 4-1 vote, with Councilwoman Nancy Hudson against, the Marietta Daily Journal reports. She declined to elaborate on her vote to the paper after the meeting. Hulsey was making $72,000 in the interim role, which he started after leaving his insurance business Brad A. Hulsey & Associates. There, as president and CEO over eight sales agents, he made $48,000 a year—meaning his salary has more than doubled in less than a year. Wizner said the choice will likely be followed by criticism because of the job description’s qualifications: “bachelor’s degree in public administration or related field; master’s degree in public administration preferred; eight years of increasingly responsible experience in municipal or county government, including five years in a senior management role; or equivalent combination of education and local government experience.” Hulsey has a high school diploma, took classes from Floyd Junior College and Georgia State University, and his government experience includes being a Rockmart councilman, Powder Springs councilman (1996-99) and mayor (2000-04), and the city’s interim city manager since February. Gibson has a master’s in business administration from Columbia Southern University, and his government experience includes Stockbridge’s city administrator and assistant city manager, and Henry County Department of Planning & Zoning’s director, assistant director, planner and chief planner. Todd has a master’s in business administration from the University of West Florida, and his government experience includes Palmetto’s city manager; a program director for government service provider CH2M Hill; Fulton County’s deputy county manager and public works director; and the director of the Growth Management Department, director of the Environmental Resources Management Department, and a Public Works Department engineer for Escambia County, Florida. Wizner pointed to the job description phrase “equivalent combination of education and local government experience” and noted that “the ultimate authority on qualifications for city manager is the City Charter section 2.27 that states, ‘The mayor and city council shall appoint a city manager for an indefinite term and shall fix his compensation. The manager shall be appointed solely on the basis of his executive and administrative qualifications and shall serve at the pleasure of the mayor and council.'” In his seven months as interim city manager, Hulsey “has done an oustanding job,” Wizner wrote. That job has included, among other things, balancing the fiscal 2013 budget. Meanwhile, Wizner said, “he took employee moral that was very low and turned it around. He has been active in the community and responsive to citizen’s concerns and issues. He has worked with the department heads to provide the best services for the city of Powder Springs.” The former city manager, Rick Eckert, resigned in mid-February after nearly two years with the city but received his full pay through the end of May as a consultant.

Waverly, Iowa (population 9,874): The Waverly City Council has extended an offer to Iowa native Philip Jones to serve as its next city administrator, according to the WCF Courier. If negotiations are finalized between Jones and the city, his contract may to approved as early as tonight. The Waverly City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Jones serves as utilities operations manager for Westminster, Colo., a city of 108,000 people. In that capacity, he leads 89 people and oversees an operating budget of $14.7 million and a capital budget of $2.3 million, according to Jones’ application. The Waverly council unanimously agreed to offer Jones the job after a multi-day interview process that included public and executive session meetings with finalists on Friday and Saturday. The city hired executive search firm Brimeyer Fursman LLC to help find a replacement for Waverly City Administrator Dick Crayne, who is set to retire Dec. 1. Brimeyer Fursman received 65 applications. The mayor and city council reviewed materials for 12 semi-finalists and selected five candidates to interview. Brunkhorst said the selection proved difficult as the search yielded a pool of qualified candidates. Jones, who completed his undergraduate work in public administration at the University of Northern Iowa, stood out for his people skills, management experience and long-term perspective, Brunkhorst said. If the city hires Jones, he would likely start in mid-November. That would allow him to shadow Crayne for two weeks.

Wells, Minnesota (population 2,343): Pending the outcome of a background check, the city of Wells will have a new city administrator, according to the Fairbault County Register. On Monday, the City Council unanimously voted to make an offer to Steve Bloom of Miltona – a small town located north of Alexandria. Bloom and two other finalists – Sarah Friesen of Minneota and Marc Dennison of Black Earth, Wis., – each answered 11 questions from council members during interviews held on Friday, Sept. 21. A fourth candidate – Mark Baker of Holstein, Iowa – withdrew his name from consideration prior to the interviews. Bloom has nearly 25 years of experience in city and county government that includes economic development. He’s also worked six years in education as a teacher. Council members agreed to offer Bloom an annual salary of $60,000, plus benefits. Councilwoman Ann Marie Schuster says all of the finalists had many strengths and it was nice to have a tough choice when it came time to making a decision. Bloom and city officials have yet to work out details of his contract, which are generally for one to three years. Bloom taking a job in Wells will be a return to his southern Minnesota roots. He graduated from Okabena High School in 1978 and then Mankato State University with a bachelor of science degree in community health/planning. After working several years in the public sector – including four years as Martin County coordinator and EDA director – Bloom earned a master’s degree in political science/public administration from Mankato State University in 1992. Bloom touts himself as a person who, “leads by example” and does not manage like a dictator. He says he’ll do whatever is necessary to promote the city. Bloom sees the city’s business base, downtown district, its cleanliness and overall appearance as positives that provide opportunities for growth. Bloom could be on the job as soon as today and will have some big projects to work on when he starts. In addition to completing the 2013 budget, Gaines says the new city administrator will be involved in the hiring of a new street department supervisor and community development director. Interim city administrator Brian Heck told the council he will work with Bloom for a smooth transition. Heck, who already has another interim job waiting for him at Thief River Falls, also has applied for a full-time position in Faribault.

Cologne, Minnesota (population 1,519): The Cologne City Council fired city administrator John Douville during a closed meeting late Wednesday evening, Oct. 10, according to the Waconia Patriot. Mayor Bernie Shambour Jr. confirmed the action the following day. Shambour did not share any specific reason for the termination, referring the issue to the city’s attorney. The NYA Times will be making a request for more information through the Data Practices Act. Douville had been placed on paid administrative leave following an earlier closed meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2. It was the third time he had been placed on leave this year. He was also placed on paid administrative leave from May 17 through June 3, and was placed on unpaid leave from June 12-25. The council had adopted a personal improvement plan for Douville and implemented the plan on May 31. Issues regarding his performance mentioned in the plan included a failure to satisfactorily supervise employees under his direction both in public works and in the city offices, a misappropriation of municipal funds by allowing third parties to use the community center facilities without paying the necessary fees, and storing personal data on the city’s computer system and server. He also failed to present revised personnel policies drafted by the city attorney’s office in the year 2008, according to the plan.

Transitions: Burbank, CA; Broken Arrow, OK; Eagan, MN and more

“A town manager’s life is precarious at best.”–Kevin O’Donnell, Town Manager, Great Barrington, Massachusetts since 2008, whose contract, which expires in April 2013, will not be renewed

Mike FladBurbank, California (population 103,340): Burbank City Manager Mike Flad announced on Monday plans to leave the Media City and take the top post at the city of South Gate, stunning city officials who expected him to retire in the city where he had spent more than two decades building his career. Flad, now 46, became the second-youngest city manager in Burbank’s history when he assumed the top job in 2008 and has worked for the city for nearly 23 years. In February, the city extended Flad’s contract for five years to December 2016, with an initial salary of $18,117 per month and an annual 3% increase after two years. The most notable of those challenges was overseeing a police department roiled by outside investigations into excessive use-of-force, and lawsuits filed by current and former officers. Flad said Tuesday that he was approached about six weeks ago by a recruiter for the position in South Gate — a much poorer city than Burbank. The hiring process included a written application and four interviews. His contract could be finalized in time for a vote by the South Gate City Council on Sept. 25, in which case he estimated his last day at Burbank would be Oct. 26. The terms of the contract, which are still being negotiated, are very similar to his current contract with Burbank, Flad said. If the move comes to pass, it will be a much different landscape — from movie studios and a solid economy with low crime rates to a South L.A. bedroom community sandwiched between Lynwood and Cudahy. South Gate, with a population of 94,396, is similar in size to Burbank, but different in demographics. South Gate is 94.8% Latino — compared to Burbank’s roughly 24% Latino population — and has an unemployment rate of 11.4%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If the contract with South Gate is finalized, Flad would be replacing George Troxcil, who was appointed to the post just eight months ago after a nearly year-long stint as the interim city manager. Troxcil had taken on the dual interim role while also serving as the city’s police chief — a post he held for two years after a 30-year career with the department. The news of Flad’s move comes as Burbank continues the process of finding a permanent police chief, meaning the city may have to fill two top executive jobs at the same time. And since the city manager supervises the police chief, that recruitment could be difficult, city officials said. That’s just as well for Gordon, who had been advocating holding off on the police chief recruitment. Burbank also has a City Council election coming up in the spring, with three seats up for contention.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (population 98,850): The search for a city manager is over, according to the Tulsa World. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to offer the job to Greenville, N.C., Assistant City Manager Thom Moton, who was a finalist for the position along with Branson, Mo., City Administrator Dean Kruithof. Moton was appointed city manger in an unofficial capacity until salary negotiations are complete. City councilors interviewed Moton and Kruithof individually on Friday, and the finalists met with city staff and school representatives on Thursday. The final interviews and feedback from those groups tipped a close race to Moton’s favor, city councilors said. Moton would take over for Human Resources Director Russell Gale, who was appointed acting city manager in April after the City Council fired David Wooden amid controversy over a proposed Indian casino. Although both Moton and Kruithof are qualified for the position, Moton’s enthusiasm and knowledge made him stand out, city councilors said. He served as interim city manager of Greenville for five months after its previous city manager retired in March, and his previous positions include assistant city manager of University City, Mo., and Corsicana, Texas. Officials have said his expertise includes downtown and economic development — both of which are priorities for the city. Councilor Jill Norman said she believes the city would also benefit from the “visionary qualities” he has demonstrated during past jobs. Moton and Kruithof were recruited by Affion Public LLC, a management consulting firm that also recruited Broken Arrow’s current police and fire chiefs. The firm has been discussing salary and benefit expectations with both candidates, and it appears that the city could afford either one, city attorney Beth Anne Wilkening told the City Council. City spokeswoman Stephanie Higgins said the city would not immediately say how much it planned to offer Moton. His salary would be public record once he is hired. City councilors voted to draft an employment agreement for their next meeting Oct. 2.

Eagan, Minnesota (population 64,206): After plenty of jokes and a few emotional moments, longtime Eagan City Administrator Tom Hedges—widely considered one of the city’s most influential leaders—announced at Wednesday’s Eagan City Council meeting that he plans to retire in early 2013, according to the EaganPatch. Hedges, Eagan’s first and only city administrator, was hired in 1976 at the age of 27 and has served for 36 years as the city’s highest appointed official. Before coming to Eagan, he was employed as the city administrator of St. Peter. After accepting Hedges’ retirement notice, the Eagan City Council approved a $12,900-plus-expenses contract with recruitment firm Brimeyer Fursman to assist in the search for a new city administrator. Hedges told council members at the meeting that he plans to continue in his role as adminstrator until Feb. 1, 2013. A handful of elected officials expressed sadness at Hedges’ announcement, including Eagan City Councilors Paul Bakken and Cyndee Fields, who jokingly discussed voting to reject Hedges’ retirement letter and keep him working as a city employee. Hedges, 63, said he is looking forward to having more flexibility in life, and plans to travel following his retirement as city administrator. He may continue to work limited hours as a consultant, he said. The city administrator is one in a long list of top Eagan officials who have recently retired or announced their intent to retire. Eagan’s longtime public works director, Tom Colbert, retired earlier this year, and Eagan Director of Administrative Services Gene VanOverbeke is expected to retire in December. A number of veteran police officers have also turned in their badges this year. Earlier this year, in the city’s annual “State of the City” address, Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire identified the turnover of aging city staff as one of Eagan’s challenges in the near future. Hedges, who received an applause following his announcement on Wednesday, thanked past and present elected officials, the community and his wife, Debbie.

Upson County, Georgia (population 27,153): During a press conference Monday afternoon, Upson County Commission Chairman Maurice Raines confirmed suspicions that County Manager Kyle Hood is in fact resigning from his post effective September 28, according to the Thomaston Times. Hood has accepted a similar position as the Town Manager of Tyrone, Georgia and will begin his new job the first of next month. The rest of the board echoed Raines’s sentiments and wished Hood the best of luck with his new venture. Hood announced that he would be releasing a formal statement at the next Board of Commissioners meeting, but the short version is he agrees it has been a good four years and the decision to leave was not one that he took lightly. He also noted that until his departure he plans to continue to serve the citizens of this community. Beginning on September 28, Pam Fuentes will be appointed Interim County Clerk and the board plans to move quickly to fill the position of County Manager.

Stoughton, Massachusetts (population 26,962): After interviewing the three finalists for the position of permanent Town Manager and then voting on which finalist was their top choice, the Stoughton Board of Selectmen are now one step closer to naming Stoughton’s next chief municipal employee, according to the CantonPatch.The Board voted unanimously, 5-0, Sept. 18 to express interest in Canton resident Michael Hartman becoming Stoughton’s next permanent Town Manager, pending a background investigation and contract negotiations. Hartman is the current Town Manager in Jaffrey, New Hampshire (2007-present). Prior to his job in Jaffrey, he worked in municipal government in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Iowa and Illinois. Selectman Cynthia Walsh nominated Hartman. No other Board member made a nomination, with all five selectmen – Walsh, John Anzivino, Steve Anastos, Bob O’Regan and Chairman John Stagnone supporting the nomination of Hartman. Paul Shew of Franklin and Kenneth Fields of Boca Raton, Florida were the other finalists Selectmen interviewed, along with Hartman, on September 13. If the background investigation and initial negotiaions do not result in a formal job offer and contract for Hartman, Stagnone said the Board can look at one of the other finalists or start the search process over again. At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Stagnone said the five-member Town Manager search committee (appointed by selectmen) and the consulting firm, Municipal Resources, Inc. (MRI), were charged with the task of finding a highly qualified and experienced candidate. Selectmen were looking for someone with a graduate degree in public administration or a related field; 7-10 years of local government experience; a willingness to commit to the job for more than five years; strong public speaking skills; experience in downtown revitalization; long-range planning experience; collective bargaining and human resources experience; and strong finance and analytical skills. Prior to fielding nominations, selectmen discussed their take on the September 13 interviews with the three finalists and what they were looking for in a Town Manager. O’Regan said the town needed a focused, professional, hands-on manager – someone willing to get his knuckles dirty; someone dedicated to making systems work more efficiently and effectively; and someone committed to capital planning with strong budgeting and management skills. Anzivino said having an experienced manager with a “good strong background in municipal government” was key. Walsh didn’t support the process or cost of hiring a consulting firm (about $20,000), but said she could not argue with the results. She said the decision to select a final candidate “has to be a leap of faith; there are no guarantees.” When it came time for the nominations, Walsh put her faith in Hartman, and when no other nominations were made, it became clear he was the candidate Selectmen felt best fit their criteria. There were 55 applicants for the position. Less than 30 were sent essay questions. Telephone interviews were conducted with the final 13 candidates. Then, on September 12, a final group of seven candidates were interviewed by three separate panels – the Town Manager Search Committee; Stoughton Department Heads; and a group representing MRI. Following these panel interviews, which were not open to the public, the field of seven was narrowed down to three – Hartman, Shew and Fields. Each of the three finalists have held management positions in multiple communities, but Stagnone said that to call any of the candidates “retreads” was an “unfair characterization of town managers in general.” During the September 18 meeting, held in the Yaitanes Room on the third floor of the Town Hall, selectmen held a conference call with Don Jutton of MRI prior to making their nomination. Jutton said the position of Town Manager has been “nomadic in nature” with the average tenure about four years when the economy was stronger and now about six years with a struggling economy making it more difficult to relocate. He said Town Managers might seek a job in another town because they want to manage a larger community or because the complexion of the town’s elected board has changed. Jutton said people “should not draw negative conclusions based on the number of jobs they had.” MRI will assist the town and the selectmen in conducting a background check and with contract negotiations. Stagnone and Anzivino will represent the Board during this process. A finite date for Selectmen to make a formal job offer to Hartman has not been set, although the contract of Interim Town Manager Joesph D. Feaster Jr. expires November 30. Feaster became the interim Town Manager on April 1 of this year and was sworn in on April 3. Feaster was one of the final seven candidates, but was not one of the three finalists selectmen interviewed on September 13. Feaster succeeded Crimmins who had served for two years as Stoughton’s Town Manager, before announcing his resignation in January 2012. Crimmins’ last day in office was March 31.

Wilmington, Massachusetts (population 22,325): During Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, members officially approved the contract of incoming Town Manager Jeff Hull, who currently serves as Assistant Town Manager, according to the WilmingtonPatch. Hull’s starting salary will be $133,200 with scheduled increases of 2.5 percent slated for the second and third years of the agreement. As a part of the agreement, Hull waived an early retirement incentive and agreed not to require longevity payments.

Las Animas County, Colorado (population 15,507): Leslee Fresquez resigned from her position as Las Animas County administrator late Tuesday afternoon after, she says, the county commissioners told her they wanted to demote her to the position of manager of the county airport, even though that position is currently filled, according to The Trinidad Times Independent. In a written statement issued Thursday, Fresquez said commissioners told her they wanted someone who had more experience than she did to fill the administrator’s position. She admits that she had no experience as a county administrator before taking the job, but cited her 14 years of experience working in government as being enough to qualify her for the administrator’s job. She had held the position since being unanimously appointed by the county board of commissioners in December 2011. She took over from former county administrator Bill Cordova, who resigned in October 2011. In her statement, Fresquez said she couldn’t understand why a dedicated civil servant like Cordova would have resigned. She said that after what happened to her recently as Cordova’s successor, she now understands why he quit. Fresquez’s resignation notice gave a two-months notice to the county commissioners, who then placed her on two-months paid administrative leave. Fresquez wrote that during her six years working for Las Animas County, she was never formally disciplined or reprimanded for her work efforts, even though the county has such disciplinary procedures in place. She said she was not treated in the same way as other county employees in regard to her work performance. Fresquez said that when she was hired, she was expected to perform all her previous duties as deputy administrator, with the additional tasks of being county administrator. She said she had to do all this while being paid $30,000 less per year than her predecessor. She said that as a woman, she was not treated as fairly as her male predecessor had been. She said that after she became administrator, the frequency of county meetings was increased from two to four per month, thus increasing her workload without providing her with more professional office support until late in her tenure. Fresquez said she twice requested a formal evaluation process from the board to identify areas where she might need to improve, something she said is required under county policy. She said the board did not honor her requests. She said the board members told her she needed to make herself more accessible by phone, but said she felt the weekly meetings were sufficient to discuss all relevant county issues. Fresquez said current commissioners preferred to rely on e-mail communication with her, but she felt that was an inadequate form of communication, leading to disjointed discussion of policy questions, and insisted that the weekly meetings were a better means of communication. Fresquez said commissioners never established a “standard of expectation nor laid forth goals and objectives I was to achieve as county administrator, and not for my lack of asking for such. I had no defined charge except to ‘get it done.’” Commissioner Jim Vigil said Fresquez resigned by her own choice. Vigil said he wished her good luck in the future. Commission Chairman Gary Hill said that on legal advice he would have no comment on Fresquez’s resignation, other than to say he wished her well with her future plans. Commissioner Mack Louden could not be reached for comment Thursday. Leeann Fabec, county finance director, said she was appointed by the board to act as interim county administrator while the hiring process for a new administrator moves forward. Fabec said she wished Fresquez all the best for her future plans.

Callaway, Florida (population 14,405): Commission members extended a job offer for a new City Manager of Callaway, according to the News Herald. After rounds of questions, the three-hour interview process produced a candidate the board could agree on: Marcus Collins. In Collins’ application to the city, he listed his experience as Public Services Director in Mount Dora for five years before becoming City Manager of Crescent City for around four years. His most recent occupation was as president of the council in Williston until he retired in 2011. Collins said budgeting and economic development were among his strong suits. Four other applicants answered questions before the board and public in the commission chambers of the Callaway Arts and Conference Center. During the interviews, commissioners asked questions in regard to CRA experience, opinions of the four-day versus five-day work week and economic development opinions. However, the more pertinent issue which commissioners addressed directly after the meeting was of salary. Commissioners held a vote after the meeting to set the manager’s salary at $70,000, the lowest figure the board advertised.

Whitewater, Wisconsin (population 14,390): The Whitewater City Council has selected Cameron L. Clapper to serve as city manager, according to The Janesville Gazette. The unanimous choice was made Saturday after interviewing five candidates for the post, according to a news release from the city. Clapper has served as interim city manager since the departure of former City Manager Kevin Brunner. Brunner left to become director of public services in Walworth County. The decision comes after two days of interviews, tours, a reception and public forum. The other candidates included village administrators/clerks and a city manager. Clapper started work with the city in April 2010 as assistant city manager. He previously worked as assistant to the administrator in the village of Waunakee. Clapper has a master’s degree in public administration from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He also has a bachelor’s degree in international studies. The council is working on an employment agreement and will vote on that agreement at its Oct. 2 meeting. Clapper and his family live in Whitewater.

Oneonta, New York (population 13,901): Oneonta swore in its first city manager at a special meeting of the Common Council, according to The Daily Star.  Michael H. Long, 56, city administrator of Poughkeepsie, will start the $115,000-a-year position by Oct. 1. The post was created by the city charter that voters approved in November and took affect Jan. 1. The city’s Common Council Human Resource Committee, chaired by Maureen Hennessy, worked with a national recruiter and city personnel director Kathy Wolverton, to narrow the 50 applicants for the post to three finalists. They were interviewed by a group that included council members, department heads and representatives from the community. Long will take over the day-to-day operations of running the city, Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said. This leaves Miller to serve as the head of government for all official and ceremonial purposes, preside over the Common Council, and other duties spelled out in the charter. Long serves at the pleasure of the council and Miller will be his principal liaison and work with the council to establish performance objectives for the manager. Long holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in landscape architecture from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science at Syracuse. He holds a Master’s of Arts in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He has served in his current position since 2008. Before that, he held positions of increasing responsibility in the Cayuga County Planning Board and for the city of Auburn over a 28-year span, according to a city media release. After he was sworn in, Long thanked the council for its vote of confidence. Long said he took the new position because he was ready for a new challenge and noted the community spirit that he said will be helpful in tackling such issues as improving downtown. His first step will be orienting himself to the position and spending time with council members and department heads to identify what each sees as important issues. In his first 30 days, he said, he expects to be able to set an action plan. Long said that he is seeking an apartment in the city and will decide later on long-term living arrangements. The city charter does not require him to live in the city. He was joined at the meeting by his wife, Diane Long, who is chair and associate professor of the department of occupational therapy at Ithaca College. Miller said he was confident that Long will help the city achieve savings in operations and will help secure grants.

Ogdensburg, New York (population 11,128): Ogdensburg has a new city manager, according to the Watertown Daily Times. City Council members unanimously appointed John M. Pinkerton as city manager at a special meeting last week. Mr. Pinkerton will start his new role Oct. 15 under a three-year contract. He was chosen out of 41 applicants after a seven-month search. Mr. Pinkerton, an Ogdensburg native, has 31 years of experience in private enterprise, and currently works as a business adviser at CITEC, a business development company based at Clarkson University, Potsdam. He is also co-owner of Adirondack Professional Cleaners and has worked as a consultant and manager for Newell-Rubbermaid. Mr. Pinkerton said he counts his past and current business experience as one of his greatest assets as city manager. During the hiring process, the council was impressed with Mr. Pinkerton’s knowledge of the city’s issues, Mayor William D. Nelson said. Mr. Pinkerton said his first goal as manager will be to establish a vision for the city. Mr. Pinkerton said he is looking forward to helping the city commercialize and develop its waterfront. Mr. Pinkerton will earn $84,000 a year as city manager. He declined the use of a city vehicle.

Tomah, Wisconsin (population 9,093): Tomah city administrator Jim Bialecki will retire Dec. 5, according to the La Crosse Tribune. Bialecki, who has been the city administrator since 2008 and is the former mayor of Onalaska, Tuesday announced plans to retire. Bialecki submitted his 90-day notice to the Tomah City Council Sept. 4. Bialecki said he  has enjoyed his time as administrator, largely because the council has remained above partisan politics and united in working in the best interests of the city. Bialecki, 62, has been in the workforce for 46 years.  His administrative career began in 1976 in the hospital field. He worked at long-term care, assisted living, independent living and Catholic charities in Lincoln, Portage and La Crosse counties before he began his career with the city of Onalaska in 1985. Bialecki was the president of the Onalaska City Council from 1985 to 2000 and the city’s first full-time mayor from 2000 to 2008. Bialecki’s plans include taking some time to visit his family in southern California.

Great Barrington, Massachusetts (population 7,104): Following two consecutive failing job performance evaluations, the Board of Selectmen last week informed Town Manager Kevin O’Donnell that they have decided not to renew his contract when it expires next April, according to The Berkshire Eagle. Multiple members confirmed that the board arrived at its decision while discussing the matter in executive session last week. But the information didn’t come out until this week after O’Donnell met privately with representatives of the board. Those representatives, board chairman Sean Stanton and vice-chair Deborah Phillips, reportedly gave O’Donnell the option of resigning prior to the vote on his contract, but O’Donnell declined the offer. O’Donnell said he was disappointed by the board’s decision. None of the board members who spoke with The Eagle agreed to speak publicly about their decision because they said they wanted to respect the confidentiality of what was discussed during executive session. But the board has made clear publicly in the past that they it hasn’t been thrilled with O’Donnell’s performance. In June, O’Donnell received his second subsequent negative employment evaluation in nine months when he was given only 64 of a maximum 125 points. Those numbers resulted in a rating equivalent to 51.2 percent, which is lower than the 67 percent O’Donnell received on his previous evaluation in September 2011. The lowest mark on O’Donnell’s most recent evaluation was in customer satisfaction where he received 10 of a possible 25 points. In the anonymous comments included in this year’s evaluation, board members stated that O’Donnell groused about the board’s decision, feeling the Selectmen were an impediment to his job. Comments also stated that O’Connell disregarded the Selectmen’s role, and doesn’t follow through on the board’s direction. O’Donnell pledged to improve his relationship with the Selectmen and indicated that he would focus on better communication. Last week, O’Donnell said that he had followed through on those issues, and lamented that the board hadn’t given him more concrete criteria to focus his efforts. O’Donnell was hired by the town in 2008. He signed his current contract in 2011 following performance reviews with scores equivalent to 90 and 84 percent. Those scores were submitted by a board with a significantly different makeup than the current one. O’Donnell said he ís proud of what he has achieved in his years as town manager. He said he managed to get the town’s bond rating increased during a severe recession, and reduced borrowing costs by about $60,000 annually. No matter what happens, O’Donnell said that he plans to continue working through the end of his term, and intends to wrap up the major projects currently facing the town, which include planning for the reconstruction of Main Street, and closing the sale of the old firehouse on Castle Street.

Tyrone, Georgia (population 6,879): Tyrone is about to get a new Town Manager by way of Upson County, according to The Citizen. The Town Council approved the hire of Upson County Manager Kyle Hood, who is expected to begin his new job next month. Hood’s arrival will mean that interim Town Manager and Tyrone Police Chief Brandon Perkins can return to his full-time duties with the police department. Hood has served as Upson County Manager since July 2008 and has also served as project manager for the Wilkinson County Commission and as a research and teaching assistant in Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. The 28 year-old Hood earned a Master of Public Administration from GCSU in 2008 and, in 2011, earned a certification as a local government official from the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia. Hood is expected to begin the job in early October. Mayor Eric Dial said Hood’s job as county manager in Upson County is one where he managed approximately 100 employees. Dial in his comments Thursday was quick to acknowledge the work of interim Town Manager Brandon Perkins who, for nearly a year, has functioned in that position while maintaining his responsibilities as Tyrone Police Chief. Dial’s comments are noteworthy because few in municipal management or law enforcement administration are ever called on to take on the responsibility of a dual administrative function. Though his first calling is law enforcement, Perkins was the exception to the rule when he stepped forward in November 2011 to take on the responsibilities of town management to help out in a time of need.

Normandy Park, Washington (population 6,335): Normandy Park City Manager Doug Schulze was selected Wednesday night, Sept. 19 to become the city manager of Bainbridge Island, according to The Highline Times. The town has a population of 23,000, considerably larger than Normandy Park’s 6,000. While Schulze is going west to Bainbridge Island, Burien Community Director Scott Greenberg is headed east to another island, Mercer Island where he will be Development Services director. Schulze denies that Normandy Park’s financial woes led him to bail out of the city. Instead, Schulze noted, that after managing smaller cities for the majority of his career, he was looking to head a larger organization. He said he has been admiring the 26 square-mile city for a number of years. Pending successful negotiation of a contract, the Bainbridge Island City Council is scheduled to formally hire Schulze at its Sept. 26 meeting. If so, Schulze is planning to give his 30-day notice on Sept. 27 with Halloween, Oct. 31 being his last day on the job in Normandy Park. Schulze admitted there were “gloomy faces around city hall,” the day after the Bainbridge Island council announced its pick. He said he is leaving with “mixed emotions” after developing many positive relationships in his six years with the city. Schulze is leaving Normandy Park at a time when the city is facing a severe financial crisis. This summer the tranquil town was rocked by reports from news media of Normandy Park’s possible demise as a separate city, either through disincorporation or annexation to Burien or Des Moines. Schulze responded that city officials had not considered those drastic options but the City Council did place on the November ballot a property tax levy lid that would raise residents’ tax rate from $1.31 per 1,000 of assessed value to $1.60. The city manager said property tax restrictions had particularly hit the city hard because the taxes account for about 60 percent of its tax revenues. The city also does not have a lot of room along First Avenue South, its commercial district, for large tax revenue raising businesses. In 2008 when the recession hit, “it was like falling off a cliff for the city’s revenues,” Schulze said. Normandy Park’s general fund reserves have been depleted to the point where they are projected to be gone in three years without serious action, he noted. City staff has been reduced by 33 percent and Normandy Park has deferred maintenance and replacing equipment, Schulze reported. Before coming to Normandy Park in 2006, Schulze was city manager in another affluent Seattle suburban city, Medina, home of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He was also city administrator in Sandstone, Minn. from 1992 to 1996. According to the Kitsap Sun, Schulze will also face daunting challenges in Bainbridge Island where roads are failing and the city does not have funds to maintain them. Schulze will also need to hire a new Bainbridge Island police chief after the current chief quit two weeks ago. On Sept. 1, Schulze announced Chris Gaddis as Normandy Park’s permanent police chief replacing long-time chief Rick Keiffer, who retired. Schulze will replace a former city manager, who was ousted in March, according to the Sun.

Russell, Kansas (population 4,506): City Manager Ralph Wise has accepted a position as administrator of Hebron, Ohio, according to The Hays Daily News. While the community has fewer than 5,000 residents, slightly smaller than Russell, it’s home to the Central Ohio Industrial Park. There are 32 manufacturing operations in the industrial park, and that opens up possibilities for his wife, Wise said. Notably, Hebron doesn’t have its own electric generation plant, something Russell does have. Wise, who has been Russell city manager since 2008, also admits a side benefit is Hebron is only 15 minutes away from his grandchildren. Wise tendered his resignation from the city manager’s spot at Russell nearly two weeks ago, but had kept his future job a closely held secret. He announced where he’ll be heading at last week’s Russell City Council meeting, after Hebron officials confirmed his appointment. He also was waiting for confirmation Hebron would reimburse Russell for expenses already paid for Wise to attend a conference this fall. The Russell council voted to name Russell Police Chief Jon Quinday as interim city manager while a search for a replacement is under way. But providing the opportunity for his wife to get back in her field of expertise was a strong draw.

Mulberry, Florida (population 3,817): After interviewing two candidates Wednesday night, city commissioners in Mulberry gave top ranking to a Dundee city commissioner with a background as a corrections officer and no experience in city management. But Richard Johnson said he’s confident in his ability to run the city, despite his limited experience. Mulberry commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday to begin negotiating a contract with Johnson, 52. Commissioner Terry Evers opposed the motion, but not because he didn’t think Johnson would make a good city manager. He wanted the opportunity to ask the candidates more questions. During Wednesday’s interviews, candidates fielded prepared questions that commissioners had previously approved. Evers, however, wanted to know whether the new manager would review each employee on the city’s payroll to determine whether he or she is working to his or her potential, and what would happen to those who weren’t performing well. Commissioner Collins Smith cast the other opposing vote, saying he supported the other candidate, Larry Strickland of Valrico, a management analyst for the city of Zephyrhills. A third finalist for the job, Judith Jankosky of Lady Lake, the interim city administrator in Arcadia, withdrew her application Wednesday morning. Johnson, who’s been a commissioner in Dundee since 2005, said he already had decided not to seek a fifth two-year term on the commission in April. Mulberry’s charter requires the city manager to move into the city, which would mandate that Johnson resign from Dundee’s governing board. Johnson completed his master’s degree in non-profit management and public administration last year at the University of Central Florida. He’s currently working as an employment specialist with the deaf service bureau in Polk County. He spent 20 years with the Connecticut Department of Corrections, rising to the rank of lieutenant before retiring in 2001. Mulberry commissioners will begin negotiating a contract with Johnson, to include salary and benefits, which must be approved before he can start working. Commissioners have budgeted $63,000 for the job. If he’s hired, Johnson would replace Frank Satchel Jr., who was fired in May following his arrest on forgery charges. He was accused of altering employee time cards.

Troutman, North Carolina (population 2,383): After Ann Bailie graduated from Syracuse University in 1974 with a dual degree in English and photojournalism, she first spent a semester abroad in London taking graduate courses in English and photojournalism, then went to work for a newspaper in Florida, according to The Charlotte Observer. Becoming town manager for a small North Carolina town was about the furthest thing from her mind. Life is full of twists and turns, however, and in the mid-1990s, when her husband, photographer and historian Bob Zeller, got a job with the Greensboro News & Record covering NASCAR, they moved to North Carolina. Bailie then became involved with the successful effort to incorporate a small Guilford County community called Pleasant Garden. In 1997, when Pleasant Garden officially became a municipality, Bailie was its first (and for several years only) employee: town clerk, finance officer and budget officer. That sparked her interest in local government administration and prompted a career change to public affairs. Since 2002, all her jobs have been working for government, including almost nine years as the top executive in Trinity. She’s already started to apply that experience as Troutman’s new town manager, with an annual salary of $86,000. As for the town itself, she sees great potential. Bailie said the town’s population had been expected to increase significantly until the economy took a downturn in 2008. She said town leaders have used that time wisely. She cites the town’s participation in the state Department of Commerce’s Small Town Main Street program, which provides on-site technical assistance for downtown development and promotion, as a major plus. In addition, the town’s self-funded façade program, which provides grants to downtown property owners for sprucing up storefronts, is another town initiative Bailie likes. The 60-year-old Illinois native has some big shoes to fill. Former town manager David Saleeby was a hands-on manager, involved in all aspects of the town’s operation. Bailie suggested that her style may be a little different. After Saleeby retired in February, the town Board of Aldermen began an exhaustive search for his replacement, working with the Centralina Council of Governments. Spath believes Bailie has done a good job thus far, even as she continues to evaluate the major issues facing the town. One of those major issues involves the town finances. She’s also been very impressed, even somewhat surprised, with the level of civil engagement in the town.

East Jordan, Michigan (population 2,351): The historic cottage filled up with city officials and residents and the group chatted over appetizers prepared by East Jordan Public Schools cooks, according to The Northern Michigan Review. “I’m so excited to welcome my new team members,” said Mary Faculak, East Jordan Chamber of Commerce director. The team she is referring to is “Team EJ” a long standing partnership between the chamber, schools, city and community. Chris Yonker is the new East Jordan city administrator. He started the new job Aug. 20 and is responsible for the administration of all city affairs. Yonker is a native of west Michigan and graduated from Spring Lake High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and land use planning from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Ill. Before becoming the East Jordan administrator, Yonker served for two and a half years as the city manager of Wayland, 15 years as the city manager of Fremont and 10 years as the capital budget officer for the city of Evanston, Ill. Yonker recently relocated to East Jordan with his wife, Diane, who was the director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce for 17 years. The couple has three children.

Oakboro, North Carolina (population 1,859): Oakboro’s Board of Commissioners met on Monday at 8:15 a.m. in a special meeting, according to The Stanly News and Press. Part of the reason the Board needed to meet was to discuss what to do with the office of Town Administrator. Ross Holshouser, previous Town Administrator, was let go over the weekend. The first order of business was to appoint a new Town Clerk. Taffy Smith, previously acting as Deputy Town Clerk, was raised to the position by Commissioner Georgia Harvey. It is believed that Smith’s appointment will help alleviate some of the pressure placed on the offices of Oakboro Town Hall in the wake of Holshouser’s dismissal. The next item on the agenda was in regards to finances. In the Town Administrator’s absence, the Board voted to have any financial expenditure exceeding $500 be brought before the Town Board before it can proceed. Beginning Oct. 1, Doug Burgess will act as Interim Town Administrator until a more permanent candidate can be located.

North Topsail Beach, North Carolina (population 743): North Topsail Beach Town Manager Steve Foster is headed for a new job but won’t be going too far, according to the Jacksonville Daily News. Foster submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday and will be taking a job as manager for the Town of Oak Island. His last day with the Onslow County town will be Oct. 25. Mayor Daniel Tuman said Foster has a permanent residence in Oak Island, making the move a good opportunity for him personally and professionally. But he will be missed. Tuman said Foster worked well with the town board as well as the town staff. Foster has worked for the town since February 2010 and has served in municipal management off and on for more than 35 years. According to a report in the StarNews of Wilmington, the Oak Island town council selected Foster as town manager at its Tuesday night meeting by a 4-1 vote. He will be paid a salary of $95,000. Tuman said Oak Island will be gaining a good manager. Foster said he leaves grateful for his time in North Topsail Beach. Tuman said North Topsail Beach will immediately begin a search for a new manager.