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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Osceola, Iowa (population 4,614): A separation agreement was signed with Osceola City Administrator Bill Kelly last week after the city council held a special closed session, according to the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune. Kelly was placed on administrative paid leave by the council for disorderly conduct after Kelly acted in a disruptive manner during a recent budget meeting. However, Mayor Fred Diehl said there were other previous actions of Kelly that led to the council’s final decision. The council voted 5-1 to terminate Kelly’s contract and enter into the separation agreement. Councilmember Glenn Schaff said he was in favor of terminating Kelly, however, he was not in favor of the agreement package the council approved. Kelly served as city administrator for five years. City Clerk Ty Wheeler will be filling in temporarily as administrator. Diehl said although Wheeler is young he feels it’ll be a good opportunity for him. According to the agreement, the employment contract, entered into with Kelly in November 2007, will be terminated without cause. The city’s 60-day notice of termination was issued, effective Feb. 17, and the date of termination will be Apr. 17. The agreement states that after the date of termination, “the city shall issue to the employee payment of severance equal to six months salary, six months of insurance benefits, and accrued vacation less any applicable employee insurance contributions.” In addition, the city agrees to allow Kelly to reside at his home through Oct. 17 under the pre-existing agreement reached in November 2009. However, the city won’t compensate Kelly for the rental value of the residence in the event Kelly moves prior to Oct. 17. The agreement states the employee agrees to waive any and all legal claims against the city.

Grosbeck, Texas (population 4,040): A long time City Administrator announced her resignation Tuesday at a city council meeting in Groesbeck, according to Our Town Grosebeck.Martha Stanton worked for the city for 38 years. City Council members in Groesbeck accepted Stanton’s resignation Tuesday night. Stanton’s last day working with the city will be March 31. The Groesbeck resident plans to stay in town, and find something to do to keep her busy. Jonestown, Texas (population 2,237): The Jonestown City Council voted unanimously Friday to accept the resignation of City Administrator Dan Dodson , who had been named in an ongoing grand jury investigation of a failed wind energy project, according to the Statesman. Court filings from October 2011 said Charlie Malouff Jr., founder of CM Energies, and Mary Jo Woodall, a former state comptroller’s office staffer and grant administrator, conspired to illegally obtain up to $2 million in federal stimulus money by overselling CM Energies’ ability to deliver the electricity-generating wind turbines. Dodson was named in court documents because of his involvement in the project. Dodson was named as the “project director,” “principal investigator” and “designated responsible employee” for the City of Jonestown on the grant paperwork, and he was warned by CM Energies employees that the windmill company couldn’t provide the technology for the wind turbines, authorities said in court documents. The city has filed a lawsuit against CM Energies, which was supposed to manufacture and install wind turbines for the city. Council members said Friday that city officials would continue to work with investigators involved in the case. Dodson, who has worked as city administrator since 2007 , didn’t appear in public during Friday’s meeting when council members met in executive session to discuss his employment. At the Feb. 9 council meeting, council members said they had received Dodson’s resignation letter but took no action at the time. In December, the council had decided against extending Dodson’s $80,000 annual contract. At the time, council members said Dodson would remain in his position without a contract because of his experience and his involvement in ongoing city projects. On Friday, the council also instructed city staff to begin advertising for a new city administrator, who would start May 1, if not sooner. Dodson would remain available as a consultant to the City of Jonestown, council members said. Alderman Joe Aaron said Friday that the last time the council looked for a city administrator, the process took more than five months. Dodson didn’t return a phone call on Friday seeking comment.