Transitions: Floyd County, GA; Leavenworth County, KS; West Warwick, RI and more

Floyd County, Georgia (population 96,317): County Manager Kevin Poe tendered his resignation today, effective Dec. 4. Jackson County commissioners voted today to name Poe as their new county manager. The Northeast Georgia county lies between Gainesville and Athens, near the area where Poe’s grown children have moved in recent years. Jackson County nearly doubled its population in the past decade, to 60,485 people in 2010. Floyd County’s 6.4 percent growth rate translated to 96,317 people in the 2010 census. There were 64 applicants for the position, which has been vacant four times in the past 10 years. Read more in the Rome News-Tribune.

Leavenworth County, Kansas (population 76,227): It took two rounds of applications and interviews, but Leavenworth County Commission voted Thursday to appoint a former state legislator, Leavenworth native and longtime lawyer as the new county administrator. The decision to offer Patrick Hurley the contract for the position came following a second round of soliciting resumes and conducting interviews. The first round of candidates for the position that Heather Morgan left last year resulted in no candidates that the commission as a whole could agree on or who would take the job. Commission Chairman Clyde Graeber said that changed this time. The commission received a total of 42 applications for the position and narrowed that list down to three finalists, each of which were brought in for a second interview.

Hurley was born and raised in Leavenworth and served as an attorney in the city, Graeber said. In 1975, he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in Leavenworth’s 41st District and served for four years, including a stint as House majority leader. He resigned in 1978 when he was nominated to be state’s secretary of administration under Gov. John Carlin. He has more recently served as an attorney with an office in Topeka. Graeber said that list of qualifications and the contacts at the state that Hurley could bring with him certainly guided the commission’s feelings in choosing him for the position. For Hurley, the opening was something of a serendipitous opportunity, as he and his wife still have many friends and relatives in Leavenworth County.

Commissioner John Flower said he was impressed with Hurley’s past, as well as his interest and experience in long-range strategic planning, something that Flower has been pushing the commission to develop for the county. His continued involvement with his longtime home was also a factor for him in the decision making process. Read more at the Leavenworth Times.

West Warwick, Rhode Island (population 29,191): After more than three years as town manager, James H. Thomas has resigned to take a similar position with the Town of Kingston, Mass. Thomas submitted his letter of resignation to the Town Council Wednesday evening after accepting an offer from the Kingston Board of Selectmen earlier in the day. In an interview Thursday, he said it was time for him to move on, acknowledging that his time in West Warwick has been challenging as the town has tried to navigate through financial struggles. Thomas came to West Warwick in June 2008 from Maine where he most recently served as town manager of Old Orchard Beach. He also worked in municipal government in Illinois, Colorado, Utah and Wisconsin. He was one of 37 applicants for the West Warwick position, which became vacant when Wolfgang Bauer was fired for admittedly mismanaging funds related to the Riverwalk Project.

During Thomas’ time in office, the stresses on the town’s finances have been numerous. There was the $10 million the town paid as part of the settlement for survivors and family members of the victims of the 2003 Station nightclub fire. The town was also hit hard by the floods of 2010 and has had to pay to repair roads that were washed out by the waters that spilled from the Pawtuxet River. And cuts in state aid have hurt the bottom line. With the council refusing to raise the property tax rate in the last two years, Thomas has had to cut back on services. He has eliminated nearly four dozen positions in Town Hall during his tenure. The last three years have also been characterized by frequent disagreements over finances with the School Department. The School Committee has filed lawsuits, known as Caruolo actions, against the town to try and secure money to fund education.

Thomas was one of three finalists interviewed by the Kingston Board of Selectmen Sept. 13. He was the only candidate to come back for a second interview. After that interview, which took place in a public meeting Sept. 22, the five-member board unanimously voted to start contract negotiations. Thomas’s last day in West Warwick will be Oct. 28. He starts in Kingston, a town of nearly 13,000 north of Plymouth, on Oct. 31. He will get a raise in his new job. Under the three-year contract with Kingston, his starting salary will be $119,500 plus a $500 monthly car allowance. He is currently paid about $109,500, which includes compensation for not using the town’s health-insurance plan. Thomas said he would keep his home in West Warwick and commute to Massachusetts. Read more at the Providence Journal.

Crestwood, Missouri (population 11,912): The Crestwood Board of Aldermen has appointed Petree Eastman, a former University City assistant city manager, as Crestwood’s new city administrator. After meeting in a closed session near the end of the regular Sept. 27 board meeting, the board approved the appointment 7-0. Eastman will replace Jim Eckrich, who resigned in April to return to his position as director of public services. He will continue as acting city administrator until Eastman takes over in mid- to late October. Currently serving as a consultant to the St. Louis County Municipal League, Eastman previously worked at University City from April 2007 to June 2010. She holds a law degree from St. Louis University, a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in business and media studies from Webster University. She is a graduate of Affton High School. Eastman’s legal work included more than five years with the Armstrong Teasdale law firm and work for various Missouri state offices on school desegregation cases. At University City, she worked on sustainable energy practices among many other issues, and with the Muny League she assisted municipalities with examining Ameren Missouri’s rates for street lighting. At the open meeting before their vote, aldermen took the opportunity to question Eastman, who was selected by Mayor Jeff Schlink after a nationwide search. Read more at the South County Times.

Princeton, Illinois (population 7,660): Princeton City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh has announced his resignation. His last day will be Nov. 11. Fiegenschuh has taken a village administrator’s position in Shorewood, a town near Joliet with a population of 17,000. Fiegenschuh was selected from 100 applicants for the job, which was narrowed to six finalists. Fiegenschuh was one of those six, and along with a couple of other finalists, was asked to return for a second round of interviews before being selected. Fiegenschuh accepted the city manager’s position in Princeton in November 2007. He came to Princeton from Sac City, Iowa. Princeton Mayor Keith Cain said he believes the next step is for the city to contact a search firm to help fill Fiegenschuh’s position. He said it could be anywhere from six weeks to four months to get another city manager in place, but he hopes to have a person in the job before next year’s budget. Read more at the Bureau County Republican.

Kingston, Massachusetts (population 5,591): New Town Administrator Jim Thomas has agreed to terms on a contract. His start date will be Nov. 1. Thomas has signed the contract, the terms of which are not being released until after selectmen sign the hard copy, probably this weekend. A reception for the public to welcome Thomas to Kingston has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, prior to the board meeting at 7 p.m. Read at The Patriot Ledger.

Tucumcari, New Mexico (population 5,363): Tucumcari city commissioners on Thursday morning fired City Manager Bobbye Rose, according to City Clerk Christine Dougherty. Community Development Director Doug Powers has been named interim manager. Rose was terminated on a 3-2 vote. Rose was selected in March 2009 to be the city manager following the dismissal of John Sutherland. Rose and Sutherland are two of the four finalists for the vacant manager position in Lincoln County. Witcher did not give a reason for the dismissal, but said it had “absolutely nothing” to do with her applying to Lincoln County. Rose was making $70,000 annually as the city manager. Powers’ salary was not adjusted for the interim position. Powers is the fourth person to fill the position since January of 2009, counting interim managers. Read more at the Clovis News Journal.

Transitions: Compton, CA; Vista, CA; Trenton, NJ and more

“Let’s face it, when good times are rolling and the party is on, so to speak, no one wants to hear that the music is going to shut down.”–former Compton California City Manager Willie Norfleet

Compton, California (population 96,455): Amid financial turmoil and changing political tides, the Compton City Council has voted to fire its third city manager in five years. The council voted 3 to 2 late Tuesday to terminate City Manager Willie Norfleet, effective immediately. Norfleet had worked for the city for about four years and served as city controller until the council fired his predecessor, Charles Evans, last fall. Norfleet came under fire over revelations last spring that the city was running a $25-million deficit in its general fund and over his handling of budget cuts and mass layoffs intended to get the city’s finances back in line.

The council voted to bring in Lamont Ewell, a former Compton firefighter who went on to serve as city manager in San Diego and Santa Monica among other cities before retiring in 2009, as Norfleet’s replacement. Ewell’s contract is slated to be approved next week. Ewell, who grew up in Compton, said he sees taking the helm during troubled times as a way to pay back a debt to the city. Compton Councilwoman Yvonne Arceneaux, who voted to fire Norfleet, said the council is bringing in Ewell on a temporary basis in hopes he’ll spark a turnaround in the troubled city. Under law, Ewell may only work full time up to a year without sacrificing his pension benefits. Arceneaux said the council majority was unhappy with the way Norfleet handled the budget, and particularly with his lack of communication with some council members during that process.

The coalition of unions representing Compton employees filed an unfair labor practices claim over the layoffs and is threatening a lawsuit over alleged Brown Act violations in the way the budget was adopted. The Brown Act is the state statute that defines when government meetings must be public. The council voted in July to approve a last-minute amendment proposed by the city manager, with $1.2 million in concessions the unions had not agreed to and that the public — including some council members — did not see until midway through the meeting. Reached by phone, Norfleet said he had done his best in a tough situation and thought he was targeted partly because he pushed the council to make tough fiscal choices. He acknowledged that he could have been more vocal in warning the council that the deficit was ballooning before the city hit a crisis situation, but said some of his warnings went unheeded. The former city manager said he was not bitter over his ouster. Mayor Eric Perrodin voted against firing Norfleet, saying it was unfair to punish the city manager for a problem that had been building long before he took over. Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Vista, California (population 93,834): Vista City Manager Rita Geldert said she plans to retire at the end of the year. Geldert has been Vista’s top administrator since 1997 and has been a public employee for more than 36 years. Geldert, 59, helped steer the city through tough economic times as cities have had to slash budgets to cope with decreased revenue and increased costs. The recession has prompted layoffs and reductions to services in the city in recent years, including leaving positions unfilled as employees retire or leave, reducing the city’s staff by about one-quarter. Geldert has orchestrated a plan to eliminate a recurring budget shortfall, known as a structural deficit. That plan, which will likely stay with the city as officials work out a budget for the next cycle, has so far aimed to keep the city financially viable by cutting spending by $5 million for the current fiscal year, which began in July. To do that the City Council approved taking an ambulance out of service, laying off seven employees, closing City Hall on all Fridays and cutting pay and requiring furloughs for all city employees except firefighters.

During her tenure, Geldert oversaw construction of three fire stations, the Vista Sports Park, the Moonlight Amphitheatre Stage House and a new Civic Center. Other milestones from her watch include the development of the Vista Village and beginning of the community volunteer program, Vistans ROC. She earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Cal State Chico and a masters of business administration from UC Davis. She has worked as a contracts administrator for Xerox Corp., personnel specialist for the California State University System, director of finance and administration for Dana Point, management services officer for Merced, personnel officer for Vacaville and assistant city manager in Vista. Geldert said in a news release she hopes to spend more time with her husband, three children and three grandchildren. Read more at The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Trenton, New Jersey (population 84,913): After stepping down from his position as the city’s business administrator last week, Eric Berry reported yesterday for his first day of work with a new employer. While the duties of his new job may be slightly different from those he undertook from his office at Trenton City Hall, he’ll at least be surrounded by a few familiar faces. Berry accepted a post this week working for the state Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Local Government Services, an agency that provides broad oversight of personnel and purchasing decisions made by the city as a condition of Trenton’s acceptance of nearly $30 million in aid last year.

Berry was the seventh person to serve as business administrator since Mayor Tony Mack took office last July. Mayoral aide Anthony Roberts has been appointed acting business administrator to succeed him. The city has had a rocky relationship with DCA, which has the authority to approve or reject cabinet-level appointments. It has tossed out several of Mack’s picks, including Nicole Sharpe for finance director and Caroline Clark for municipal court judge. After Mack told reporters he was going to name Ismael Rivera as acting police director in the wake of a city council vote not to consider his appointment, the department ordered the mayor to withdraw Rivera’s name. More recently, it has cast doubt on the qualifications of several acting directors recently appointed to head the public works and housing and economic development departments.

South Ward Councilman George Muschal has said Berry resigned under pressure from Mack after rumors surfaced that he was in talks with the Union County city of Plainfield for an administrator’s post there. Neff, meanwhile, said Berry is welcome to stay with the state. Read more at NJ.com.

Hercules, California (population 24,060): The Hercules City Council unanimously approved a three-year employment contract Tuesday with new City Manager Steve Duran. Duran’s first day in his new job will be Oct. 10. He currently is executive director of Richmond’s Community Redevelopment Agency as well as that city’s economic development director. Duran will be paid $192,500 annually, reflecting a base salary of $220,000 minus a 12.5 percent cut, the same percentage agreed to by all of the city’s employee bargaining units earlier this year. Duran’s pay will rise once the city increases the pay of other employees, and by the same percentage.

Duran’s predecessor, Nelson Oliva, who served in the top post from April 2007 to January 2011, received a base salary of $225,000 a year. Duran’s contract is broadly similar to Oliva’s, with several important differences: It provides for six months’ severance pay if terminated by the city without good cause, compared with 12 months for Oliva. There is no housing allowance provision in Duran’s contract; Oliva got a $250,000, zero-interest personal loan to help him buy a home in Hercules. Oliva is widely blamed for Hercules’ current financial crisis, although he has said he kept the City Council apprised of everything he did. The city has withheld payment of the second of two installments of his one-year severance pay. The city has sued Oliva for $3 million, alleging a conflict of interest in connection with the family company’s consulting contracts with the city; the value of the contracts rose to more than $1 million annually before they were terminated last fiscal year. Read at the San Jose Mercury News.

Longboat Key, Florida (population 6,888): If the Longboat Key Town Commission ratifies a contract signed today by Sarasota Deputy Administrator Dave Bullock, he is Longboat Key’s hire for a one-year interim town manager. The contract pays Bullock $180,000 for the year plus benefits (see Bullock’s contract), but according to Town Attorney David Persson, offers the commission flexibility if at any time it is not satisfied with Bullock’s performance. The terms say that Bullock is entitled to one-month of severance (under $20,000) if terminated at any time without cause during the year. If at the end of the year the commissioners want to keep Bullock, his salary will remain at $180,000. At the end of the year if the town wishes to terminate Bullock, the town will pay no severance whatsoever.

The decision to pursue Bullock follows the termination Sept. 19 of former Town Manager Bruce St. Denis. The commission laid out a strategy to locate an interim manager to keep the town moving as it searched for a permanent candidate. The process also was designed to allow the town to evaluate the interim manager as a prime contender. The decision to pursue Bullock came amid protest by Commissioner Lynn Larson at Monday’s Special Meeting when the commission authorized Persson to negotiate the contract. Larson told fellow commissioners to look at other options and at town employees as well. Town Attorney David Persson opened the discussion Monday about the interim town manager by saying he understood that each commissioner had the opportunity over the weekend to speak with Sarasota County Deputy Administrator Bullock. Persson sought direction as to whether the commission wanted to pursue Bullock and negotiate a contract or to continue its search.

The majority of the commissioners said the terms that Persson plans to negotiate with Bullock will protect the town in that it provides commissioners two distinct exit strategies. First, at any point in the year, the town can terminate Bullock and owe him one month’s severance. The other option is if at the end of one year, the town is not satisfied with Bullock or has found someone they prefer, Bullock can be terminated with no severance.

Vice Mayor Brenner spoke of instances where the number one candidate went elsewhere while a community got bogged down in process. Persson reminded the commission that he was instructed to look outside the organization and said that unless the commission changed the ground rules, that’s what he would continue to do.

Bullock has been continuously employed by Sarasota County since 1994 when he was hired at $59,999 as the solid waste director. Former County Administrator Jim Ley was hired in 1997 and Bullock was promoted in 1998 by Ley to the number-two position in the county as deputy administrator at a salary of $79,999. Bullock has remained in that position since and currently earns $180,065 per year. Bullock earned a Bachelors of Science in Education from West Chester State College in Pennsylvania in May 1972 and worked in the construction and waste management industries before relocating to Sarasota. Bullock has been married to Donna, the “smartest person I have ever met,” as he puts it, for 28 years. They have three grown children between them, daughter Noli, and sons, Sean and Michael. Bullock spoke of his passion for water sports — boating, scuba diving and fishing — that has kept him literally swimming and diving for years around the key. Bullock said if the contract is agreed upon, he will be available by the end of October. The commission will consider the contract and if a supermajority (at least five of seven) say “yes,” Bullock is Longboat Key’s new interim town manager. Read more at Longboat Key News.

Wildwood, New Jersey (population 5,325): City Commissioners gave the nod to two resolutions that should produce a cost savings for the city.The passage of the resolutions too place during the Wildwood Board of Commissioners meeting on Wed., Sept. 28. According to a press release issued by the city, “The Board unanimously passed a resolution appointing City Clerk Christopher H. Wood as Municipal Administrator of the City of Wildwood, effective immediately.” Wood’s current City Clerk salary of $65,000 per year will not increase. The City Administrator position has sat empty since May, 2011. The position was created by the previous administration as part of its reorganization. The previous administration paid more than $120,000 per year in salary, benefits and perks to a full-time Administrator. The city has modified its administrator position to be more inline with the position in Wildwood Crest.

Technology: Local governments use high-tech tools to cut costs and connect with residents

San Mateo County, California (population 718,451): After grabbing $50 million from a reserve fund this summer to balance San Mateo County’s budget, the Board of Supervisors today is to vote on an adjusted budget that includes about $400,000 to transform its meeting chambers into a high-tech haven. The upgrade includes eight HP Slate tablets with docking stations for the five supervisors and three officials who also sit on the dais during board meetings — County Manager David Boesch, Assistant County Manager David Holland and County Counsel John Beiers. But they won’t be the only ones to benefit from the upgrade. So will anyone who attends board meetings or watches them on local Peninsula TV cable broadcast or the Internet because the board chambers’ video and audio capability will be improved, said county spokesman Marshall Wilson.

Flat-panel LCD video screens will be purchased and connected to the computer system to provide a much more readable image than that currently shown by an overhead projector, Wilson said. The television on a table near the board dais used for viewing slide shows and other images will be removed because five flat-panel monitors will be placed in front of each supervisor. More than a quarter of the $400,000 price tag will be financed from the reserve account.

San Mateo County is not the first Peninsula municipality to switch to the trendy tablet: Mountain View and Redwood City both purchased Apple iPads for their council members, saying the move is both environmentally friendly and ultimately cheaper than printing and distributing paper documents. San Mateo County is getting its tablets from HP because its current technology infrastructure is set up for PCs and not for Apple products. The HP Slate also comes with additional security options to encrypt and protect data from being hacked, he said. The tablets with docking stations cost about $1,000 apiece, he said. Read more at the Mercury News.

Ferndale, Michigan (population 18,911): The Ferndale City Council held a special meeting Monday night to have an informal discussion on upgrading the city’s website. Common points of improvement included making the website user friendly, keeping information up-to-date, providing resident services on the site such as paying bills, establishing a brand for the city of Ferndale, as well as creating social media pages and policies. Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter said he wants to see the website as a one-stop shop for Ferndale business.

A big component of improving the site was also a discussion on communication between the city and its residents, such as that during the multi power outage in July that left thousands of Ferndale residents without power. During the outage, which occurred in the midst of the hottest period of time in southeast Michigan in 15 years, the city relied mostly on the media and city officials personal Facebook pages to get the information out about what was happening. Coulter sent out robocalls telling residents the Gerry Kulick Community Center would open as an all-night cooling center for those looking to cool off during the nearly 100-degree weather. But it didn’t go to every resident. Coulter had an idea of adding a database that residents could sign up for to receive alerts either via text or phone, similar to the robocalls but reaching more residents. There was also discussion about utilizing social media for instances like this as well. Read more at the Ferndale Patch.

Transitions: Arlington, TX; Cabarrus County, NC; Berkeley, CA and more

Arlington, Texas (population 365,438): City Manager Jim Holgersson submitted his resignation under pressure Tuesday after City Council members told him that they were unhappy with his job performance and were seeking a change in leadership. The council and Holgersson have been working for a week to reach a severance agreement through the city attorney’s office, Mayor Robert Cluck said. As dictated by his contract, Holgersson will receive up to eight months of his $214,152 salary. If Holgersson finds a new job before eight months, he will receive only one month of pay from Arlington after the new position begins.

Holgersson, 60, said he didn’t know why the council wanted to see him go. Now on personal leave, he declined to discuss details of his exchange with the council over the past week. Holgersson said he plans to remain an Arlington resident. Cluck also declined to disclose specific issues council members had with Holgersson, who was appointed in 2005, because those discussions were held in executive session.

Bob Byrd, who has worked with the city for 25 years, was named interim city manager. Byrd said he does not plan to seek the job permanently. Byrd was deputy city manager for four years. A national search for Holgersson’s replacement is expected to begin within 30 days. Read more at the Star-Telegram.

Cabarrus County, North Carolina (population 178,011): John Day will retire from Cabarrus County on June 30, 2012, and step down as county manager on Sept. 30. Day will stay on the county payroll as a consultant. Deputy County Manager Mike Downs will step in to be interim county manager, beginning Monday. Downs has been in charge of county operations for the past eight years, and has worked for the county for 25 years.

Day steered the county through tough financial times since being named county manager in 2003. The county has a positive financial outlook from the credit rating agencies, a turn-around from 2004, when the county had a negative outlook. Day has championed the cause of sustainability as a means for better government. Under his leadership, the county created a local food council, a sustainable local economy council and established sustainable policies within county government. Day also questioned the use of economic incentives to attract industry to the county. He favored small-market principles to help stimulate the local economy. Day questioned the county’s participation with the city of Kannapolis in issuing self-financing bonds for the N.C. Research Campus. He also questioned the N.C. Commerce Department on the use of its jet to meet with local officials about attracting Celgard to Concord. Read more at the Independent Tribune.

Berkeley, California (population 112,580): City Manager Phil Kamlarz will retire at the end of November after 36 years as a City of Berkeley employee. He has been City Manager for 8 years, succeeding Weldon Rucker, under whom he served as Deputy City Manager. It has been widely rumored that the baton will again be passed to a City Hall insider, in this case to Deputy City Manager Christine Daniel. The Berkeley City Council, however, could also decide to open the position for applications and to conduct a search for competitive candidates. Daniel’s 2010 gross salary in her current job was listed in the Mercury News database of public employee salaries as $195,111. If appointed, she would be the first woman to serve as Berkeley’s City Manager.

According to Contra Costa Times columnist Dan Borenstein, by the end of 2011 Kamlarz would have been making about $260,000—but because of the way employee compensation has been structured by the Berkeley city administration, when he retires he will take home a pension of $280,000 a year, or roughly 108 percent of his salary. He started working for the city as an associate accountant in the library department at a salary of $12,720 a year, Borenstein reported. Read more at the Berkeley Daily Planet.

Chisago County, Minnesota (population 53,887): Chisago County has officially hired Bruce Messelt as county administrator. The County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an employment contract during its Sept. 21 meeting, completing a hiring process begun in July when Messelt was selected as the top candidate out of a field of 77 applicants. Messelt has over 20 years of public and non-profit management experience, including work with the U.S. Department of Defense, the city of Tucson, Arizona, and the cities of Moorhead and Lake Elmo, Minnesota. His work has included significant coordination and collaboration with other cities and counties, the State of Minnesota, and area businesses and organizations. Messelt has worked on local government issues identified by the Chisago County Board as important to community, including economic development, public safety, transportation and infrastructure, public health, and cost-efficient, results-driven government. He has also served on various boards and committees within the International/Minnesota City/County Managers Association, the League of Minnesota Cities and the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. Messelt, a native Minnesotan and graduate of Concordia College and the University of Minnesota, will start work on Nov. 1 at a salary of $99,070. During the interim between administrators, the duties of the position were performed by Kristine Nelson Fuge, who will return to her previous position as assistant county attorney. Read more at the East Central Minnesota Post Review.

Forest Lake, Minnesota (population 18,375): The Forest Lake City Council members were unanimous to hire Aaron Parrish to fill the city’s top executive post at Monday’s council meeting. His first day on the job will be Nov. 14. Parrish was waiting until the city council took action Sept. 26 to formally submit a letter of resignation to the city of Crookston. He will provide some feedback and guidance in Crookston’s search to hire a new administrator. Dan Coughlin, who was hired Jan. 1, 2011, accepted a settlement agreement and vacated the city administrator position in late June. His predecessor, Chip Robinson, retired last summer after a 33-year tenure in Forest Lake. In May of 2010, Maplewood-based Brimeyer Fursman was awarded a contract in the amount of $15,000 to find a replacement.

Parrish received a MA in urban and regional studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2000. Between 1999-2001, Parrish was Mounds View’s economic development coordinator. He then went on to become the director of community development at the city of Arden Hills from 2001-2004. Parrish, 35, has been the city administrator in Crookston for nearly eight years. The council weighed in on the employment agreement with Parrish, with member Michael Freer saying he took issue with the severance package. Richard Fursman, president of the search firm, said the industry standard is six months and is what Parrish agreed to; the city council proposed three months. Parrish’s starting salary is $107,263. Included in the contract are paid dues and subscriptions, and monthly allowances; $350 for a vehicle (or he may choose in lieu of to be reimbursed for business travel at the rate established by the IRS) and $50 for cell phone costs. Parrish will be reimbursed up to $3,000 for moving expenses, which Councilwoman Susan Young said would easily total twice as much. Upon commencing employment, he will be credited with 40 hours of banked vacation. Read more at the Forest Lake Times.

La Fayette, Georgia (population 6,944): At a Monday night meeting, LaFayette Mayor Neal Florence announced that City Manager Johnnie Arnold has resigned. Florence says he received Johnnie Arnold’s resignation letter Monday. In it, Arnold gives no reason for leaving five months earlier than he planned. Florence says Arnold will use vacation days and won’t return to work before his last day October 10. Florence announced Arnold’s replacement will be Franklin Etheridge of Pembroke, Georgia. The city council is expected to approve Etheridge’s position on or before Arnold’s last day. Read more at News Channel 9.

Breckenridge, Texas (population 5,780): Breckenridge City Commissioners voted to terminate the contract of city manager Brad Newton during a special-called meeting Wednesday. Mayor Jimmy McKay and commissioners Sherry Strickland, Kody Knight and Graham Reaugh voted to terminate Newton’s contract and remove him from the position of City Manager ‘without cause,” as provided in the contract, because the group had come to the conclusion that it was not a good fit for Breckenridge, according to a news release.

In October 2010, commissioners unanimously voted to hire SGR Executive Search to conduct the process of finding a candidate for the position. Newton was one of eight finalists named for the position. Newton started in his position March 14 after commissioners passed a resolution to officially hire him to replace Gary Ernest, who retired from the position Dec. 31, 2010. Newton was hired with an annual salary of $82,000 per year with benefits, which included a city vehicle with limited use, a cell phone and service and reimbursement for professional dues and travel. During his six month employment with the city of Breckenridge, Newton did not receive any written reprimands or any “write ups.” A severance was involved in the termination of Newton’s contract but terms were not released. Read more at the Breckenridge American.

Nepotism charges on both coasts, and a New Jersey bill to fight it

Rahway, New Jersey (population 28,077): Rahway’s first-year mayor repeatedly sought to get his wife a six-figure job by pressuring a top city official in charge of the hiring process, according to an ethics complaint filed with New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs. The complaint, which The Star-Ledger obtained last week, details numerous occasions when Mayor Rick Proctor allegedly encouraged Rahway’s business administrator to hire his wife, Denise Proctor, as the city’s health officer. The mayor held that position for nine years until he resigned before taking office in January. Denise Proctor has since withdrawn her name from consideration, and another candidate has been hired for the job. An attorney for the mayor defended his client and accused others of distorting the facts for their own interests. The allegations of nepotism surfaced after several weeks of turmoil in Rahway, where the Democratic mayor has come under attack for allowing the health officer position to be vacant during Hurricane Irene and staffed only 10 hours per week during the first six months of the year. State law requires full-time staffing of the position.

Proctor, who was a Union County freeholder for eight years, was already publicly accused of not recusing himself from the hiring process, despite his wife’s candidacy and the advice of the city attorney. But the newest accusations paint a far broader picture of the mayor’s involvement, even alleging he promised the job to his wife and another candidate before the results of a civil service exam were released. The complaint was filed by Peter Pelissier, the city’s longtime business administrator and the official responsible for hiring the new health officer. He sent the complaint in August to the state’s Local Finance Board, which investigates possible ethical violations, and filed additional documents Sept. 16. The business administrator said, in a detailed narrative, the mayor not only wanted his wife hired, but he also demanded she receive a top salary and be named a director, which would have afforded her 25 vacation days. Read more at NJ.com.

News of Rahway Mayor Rick Proctor’s alleged interference with the selection of the city’s vacant health officer position prompted New Jersey Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, R-Monmouth, to sponsor anti-nepotism legislation (A-3963) introduced May 9, 2011 that would impose penalties on elected officials and public employees at the State, county and local levels of government. Current law only addresses certain jobs and certain relatives, and lacks specific penalties. Handlin’s bill, known as the “Comprehensive Anti-Nepotism Act,” defines the scope of who would not be able to be hired due to conflict of interest issues and provides that should the relevant ethics committee determine that the law was violated, the official would be immediately removed from public office or employment, and fined an amount three times the amount of the current penalty for ethics violations. Read more at NJ Assembly Republicans.

Meanwhile, on the west coast, there are charges of nepotism from both the former administrator and the former mayor of Oakland:

Okland, California (population 410,886): Cash-strapped Oakland has spent nearly $1 million and counting on outside lawyers to defend the city’s decision to fire former City Administrator Deborah Edgerly and her top assistant, Cheryl Thompson. Edgerly and Thompson were both fired in 2008 by then-Mayor Ron Dellums after Edgerly was accused of warning her nephew William Lovan, a convicted felon who worked for the city as a parking meter repairman, of a planned police gang sweep. Lovan resigned from the city last September after his arrest for drug possession. At the time, he was on home detention for a gun conviction – and soon after was sentenced to 16 months in state prison for violating parole.

Edgerly and Thompson were both at-will employees and served at the mayor’s pleasure, so they could be fired without cause. The two fought back, however, filing separate lawsuits claiming sex discrimination. They also claimed that the real reason they had been shown the door was their refusal to go along with Dellums’ use of city money to pay for a new office for his wife, who was acting as a City Hall adviser, and for refusing to use city money to pay for a trip Dellums took to South Africa a year after he took office. Thompson also claimed that Edgerly had promised her a severance package when she signed on as her $216,000-a-year assistant. The San Francisco law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which was brought in to defend the city, has so far billed Oakland $571,000 in Thompson’s case and $368,000 in Edgerly’s – at an average of $400 an hour.

City Attorney Barbara Parker felt the city could win both cases. But a majority of the City Council decided last week that it was time to cut its losses and pay Thompson $500,000 to go away. Edgerly’s case is still outstanding. Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Transparency: When should the identities of applicants for public employment be disclosed?

“The position is not designed to be a political position.” –Jefferson County, Alabama, Commissioner George Bowman

Florida has some of the most extensive “sunshine” laws in the country. Personnel records are open to public inspection unless exempted by law, including applications for employment, grievance records, resumes, salary information, and travel vouchers. If a public agency uses a private recruitment company to conduct an employment search for the agency, records made or received by the private company in connection with the search are public records. Florida courts have rejected claims that constitutional privacy interests operate to shield agency personnel records from disclosure, holding that the state constitution “does not provide a right of privacy in public records” and that a state or federal right of disclosural privacy does not exist. Read more at Government in the Sunshine.

In Michigan, information about a person being considered as a finalist for a high level public position is not of a “personal nature” for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) privacy exemption. Once the list of candidates has been narrowed to those persons to be interviewed, the applicant’s right of privacy is outweighed by the public’s interest in knowing the applicants’ qualifications. Redaction can be used to separate confidential information from non-private information. Read more on the Michigan Attorney General’s site.

North Carolina courts, on the other hand, have held that the public does not have a right of access to know the names of candidates for public positions, even when the employing agency has narrowed to a short list of candidates under consideration. Public bodies must make hiring decisions in an open session, and therefore the public has a right of access to the meeting at which a vote is taken to hire a particular person. But the names of other candidates will forever remain secret. Read more at North Carolina Media Law.

Jefferson County, Alabama (population 658,466): The state Legislature passed a law in 2009 that mandated the county commission hire a county manager by April 1, 2011. In early 2011, the county hired Dallas-based Waters Consulting Group, a national search firm that specializes in recruiting city and county managers, to find qualified candidates. In March, lawmakers extended the deadline to June 1 to give the commission more time to find the best candidates.

On April 25, 2011, Jefferson County officials announced the selection of three finalists, selected from an initial field of 56 applicants, for the county’s first professional manager. County Commission President David Carrington identified two of the candidates. The third candidate asked that his name be withheld until next week because he had not yet notified his commissioners of his selection as a finalist. Each candidate was interviewed May 5-6 by the five commissioners. Hiring one of the finalists requires approval of four commissioners. Read more at al.com.

On May 8, a second finalist withdrew from the selection process. On May 11, 2011, a majority of Jefferson County Commissioners said that the remaining finalist to become the county’s first professional manager didn’t appear to have enough votes to be hired. At least two of the five commissioners said the county needs to ask a national search firm to come up with another slate of candidates. Commissioners, county department heads and other officials interviewed Patrick Thompson for the county manager’s job. Thompson is former county administrator for Hamilton County, Ohio, which contains Cincinnati. The following day, Thompson met with board members of the Birmingham Business Alliance, the sheriff’s office and county lawyers.

Commissioner Sandra Little Brown said the county needs more time to be deliberative, and Commissioner George Bowman said he wants more candidates to consider. Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said he thinks the jury is out on whether Thompson has enough votes, but he would like to give Thompson a chance at winning the job. Carrington said he’ll poll the commission Friday, and if Thompson has the votes for the job he’ll have a public discussion and official vote. If not, Thompson will be informed. State law gives the commission another 120 days to look for another candidate if one did not get a supermajority of commission votes by June 1. Brown said the county may need additional time to hire the right person. Read more at al.com.

On May 13, the last remaining finalist for Jefferson County’s first professional manager removed his name from consideration.

By September 13, 2011, a decision on whether to hire Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos as Jefferson County’s first professional manager was delayed after two commissioners refused to support the nomination. Commissioners Sandra Little Brown and George Bowman both said they didn’t oppose Petelos but questioned how the matter had been handled by Commission President David Carrington.

A resolution to put Petelos’ nomination to a vote of the commission unanimously passed the county’s administrative services committee, but some commissioners said later it was being rushed. No one raised concerns during the committee meeting, in which Petelos was interviewed for nearly an hour by all five commissioners, Carrington said. Bowman, who seconded the Petelos nomination in committee, said he changed his mind “in retrospect.”

The Alabama Legislature has given the commission an Oct. 1 deadline for making an offer to a prospective county manager. Carrington said he believes that could be extended by another 120 days if a selection is not made in the next three weeks. It’s unclear whether Petelos will have a supermajority by then. Brown and Bowman said many concerns remain. Read more at al.com.

Just this morning, the Jefferson County Commission unanimously selected Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos this morning to become Jefferson County’s first professional manager. The vote was taken without discussion or debate. Petelos will begin county manager duties Monday at a salary of $224,000. Read more at al.com.

Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (population 320,918): Manager matters dominated a June 2011 meeting of the Luzerne County home rule transition committee. After a debate, the committee approved an advertisement for county manager candidates, but might later reopen the subject of whether and when to reveal their names. Members differed on whether disclosing all the applicants’ names would be in the interest of transparency for the taxpayers or would scare away the best candidates. The vote was 4-2 with Rick Morelli and Chairman Jim Bobeck opposing to approve the advertisement with language by Susan Shoval, which says, “Position finalists must be willing to allow public disclosure of their resumes in order to move forward with the process.”

Shoval said she believed disclosing all candidates’ names would eliminate a lot of good ones, but that finalists must be willing to have their names released, as is done with college presidents, for example. On the other hand, Morelli felt transparency is the best policy. Bobeck opposed because he didn’t like the idea of disclosing names. Committee members were apprehensive because there were initially only six at Thursday’s meeting.

Before the committee’s discussion, several residents spoke against advertising the names of county manager candidates. Ray Gustave of West Wyoming said while he is an advocate of openness in government, he didn’t think the committee would get top-tier candidates who are willing to jeopardize their jobs in this economic climate. Ed Chesnovitch also opposed publicizing the names, saying it could lead to a lawsuit. Gene Keller of Dallas Township agreed, saying a headhunter told him at least 60 percent of the best candidates will not apply if their names are disclosed. Read more at The Standard Speaker.

Florence County, South Carolina (population 136,885): Florence County’s search for a new administrator, to replace Richard Starks who is retiring at the end of his contract this fall, has been more confusing and secretive than such searches often are because of the presence of Florence County Council Chairman K.G. “Rusty” Smith Jr. as a candidate for the post — the only announced candidate for it to date.

The candidacy of a sitting council member would complicate the issue, no matter who he or she was. South Carolina and local law don’t really address the idea, except by prohibiting it in a simultaneous instance, but it clearly fogs up the ethical windows because the selecting body (county council) includes a potential candidate. The situation is made still more complex by the persona of Smith, a councilman since 1986 and the powerful chairman of that body for almost a decade.

What does the county administrator do? He or she manages Florence County government and its almost $50 million a year budget. An administrator works with the elected officials of the county to help make sure the policy they dictate — theoretically, the will of the people — is executed in an efficient, and fiscally prudent way, by the county’s many departments and divisions.

Who is supposed to hire the administrator? The county council is delegated this responsibility. It’s the only position in county government the council hires solely and directly. That’s fairly standard practice across the state.

What are the job requirements? This would vary from county to county, but typically administrators have public administration degrees and some significant experience with budgets and accounting.

How is the decision being made here? A committee appointed by Smith is in charge of sorting through candidates and making a formal recommendation to council which will then make the final decision. That’s the public version, anyway.

Does the law allow Smith, or any other council member, to be appointed to administrator, or any other county position? As we have reported in recent weeks, there is a difference of opinion in this area. We’re not lawyers, but it seems clear to us it’s illegal to hold both an elected and an appointed position (or two elected positions) at the same time. It’s also clear that it’s unethical for Smith, or anyone else, to be involved in making an appointment decision that could affect him. The problem there, of course, is discerning whether he was involved. Some might say, “Of course he was/is, even if he’s not on the committee,” but that’s going to be pretty hard to prove.

The state’s Freedom of Information Act requires county officials to reveal the identities, and some of the qualifications of, “not less than three” candidates for the post before a final decision is made. We delivered a Freedom of Information Act request to county officials several weeks ago, asking that all candidates be disclosed. That is allowed by the FOI Act, but it is not required.

Unfortunately, county officials have indicated they will provide only “discloseable information,” which shows a continued lack of transparency, and, in our opinion, a lack of understanding with regard to the FOI requirement. The county must disclose at least three candidates. It could disclose more.

We think it should do more to prevent the tainting of a critical decision on Florence County’s path to progress. Read more at SCnow.com.

St. Helena, California (population 5,814): The St. Helena City Council agreed on June 28, 2011, not to release the names of people who have applied for the city manager job, but denied rumors that councilmembers are working behind the scenes to support a local candidate. On the advice of City Attorney John Truxaw, the council turned down a request by attorney Lester Hardy to disclose the names of applicants for the job. Hardy initially asked for all applications for the city manager position. After Finance Director and Interim City Manager Karen Scalabrini objected on the grounds that making the names public could jeopardize the applicants’ current jobs, Hardy limited his request to applicants who are self-employed, retired or unemployed. Truxaw told the council that each application is confidential, regardless of the applicant’s employment status.

Truxaw said releasing any of the names would compromise the council’s right to consider the applications in closed session. Hardy said his request was prompted by rumors that there’s a “behind-the-scenes effort to promote one or more applicants for the job.” Mayor Del Britton insisted that the hiring process is “straightforward” and “fair and open.” He said the council hired a respected search firm, Bob Murray & Associates, to screen applicants and recommend top candidates based on their qualifications. The rumors about secret back-room deals “have no validity in fact whatsoever,” Britton said.

Councilmember Ann Nevero also denied the rumors. She said the search process is taking longer than she’d like, but the council is following it because “it’s what people want and it’s the right thing to do.” Read more at the Napa Valley Register.

 

Transitions: Trenton, NJ; Woodland, CA; Rock Island, IL and more

Trenton, New Jersey (population 79,390): The merry-go-’round at City Hall continued Friday when Eric Berry resigned as business administrator, and Mayor Tony Mack named buddy and aide Anthony Roberts as acting BA — the eighth BA since Mack was sworn in last July. Berry is rumored to be following former Trenton Public Works Director Eric Jackson to Plainfield where Jackson this week was approved by city council there to take over as public works and urban development director. Jackson served under former Mayor Doug Palmer before finishing third in the last mayoral election. With Mack, he served as assistant business administrator then as an assistant to the Trenton Water Works superintendent. Mack tried to name Roberts assistant business administrator in late January and hike his salary from $65,000 to $80,000 annually, and critics charged Roberts had only minimal managerial or supervisory experience. Read more at The Trentonian.

Woodland, California (population 55,468): Woodland officials announced Wednesday that Kevin O’Rourke, Fairfield’s retired city manager, will step in on Oct. 3 and serve as interim city manager there through March 2012. Woodland’s current city manager, Mark Deven, is departing Friday for a similar position in Arvada, Colo. O’Rourke served as a city manager for more than 30 years in the cities of Stanton, Buena Park and Fairfield, according to a news release. Following his retirement from Fairfield in 2007 after 10 years of duty, O’Rourke remained active in the International City/County Management Association and the League of California Cities. He most recently served as the interim city manager for Stockton, from October 2009 through July 2010. Read at The Reporter.

Rock Island, Illinois (population 43,884): After nearly a quarter century, city manager John Phillips is retiring Friday. Mr. Phillips’ successor, Thomas Thomas, of Macon, Ga., was hired by the city council and will take over on Oct. 24. Assistant city manager and public works director Bob Hawes will act as interim city manager until then. Mr. Phillips came to Rock Island in 1987 from Rockford, where he was city administrator. Outside of city hall, Mr. Phillips is a husband and the adoring father of two. He is an avid runner and is said to play a mean acoustic guitar. Mr. Phillips and his family will remain in Rock Island after his retirement. His future endeavors will include volunteering with YMCA officials at the helm of the Pioneering Healthy Communities campaign. Still in its early stages, the campaign will use funds from a federal grant to improve the health of people in the most impoverished areas of Rock Island through nutrition and fitness. Read more at Quad Cities Online.

Allen Park, Michigan (population 27,564): From a failed movie studio to the decision to issue – and later rescind – layoff notices to its entire Fire Department, the city has seen its share of controversy over the past year. But for new City Administrator John Zech, who took the position Aug. 25, the city’s struggles were part of what coaxed him out of retirement and onto the city council dias. During his contract, which councilors extended until the November general election, Zech said he intends to lend his fix-it skills to the city’s finances, helping to finalize budgets for water and sewer and solid waste, which were left incomplete with this year’s budget, adopted July 1. He also hopes to retune the current budget to reduce expenses after a recent Plante & Moran audit showed the city was losing $350,000 a month. Zech said his main goal is to make sure the new council after the election will not face tough budgetary decisions as the “first thing on their plate.” Originally from Detroit, Zech said he’s always been interested in helping to develop cities that have “drifted in the wrong direction.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Detroit then went on to seek a master’s degree in public administration from Ohio State University while working as a community relations representative for the city of Columbus. As his responsibilities and workload increased, he said school was relegated to the back burner and he dropped out a few credits shy of his degree, a decision he said he still regrets. He then worked for the cities of Plymouth and later Wayne, where he was city manager for 18 years and still resides. He retired in December 2010, but said he was convinced to leave his first-ever sabbatical after city officials presented him with the opportunity after former City Administrator David Tamsen stepped down last month to become city attorney. Though his position is only to last until the election, Zech said he’s confident he can make a difference while he’s there. Read more at the Times-Herald.

Southwest Ranches, Florida (population 7,345): Southwest Ranches is looking for a new administrator to replace the late Charlie Lynn, who died in July after complications from heart surgery. Lynn, hired in May 2009, was credited with steering Southwest Ranches through tough financial times and helping bring more organization to Town Hall. Councilman Doug McKay said he is looking for “someone with a strong backbone who can make the calls he needs to make” while being sensitive to town politics and residents. Mayor Jeff Nelson said he hopes to have someone in place by mid-November. Town officials want to hire someone with at least five years experience as a city administrator, preferably in South Florida. Applications are due Oct. 14 at 10 a.m. Read more at the Orlando Sentinel.

East Hampton, Connecticut (population 2,691): The town’s interim town manager is taking a leave of absence to deal with an unexpected health issue requiring surgery. In a letter to the council last week, Interim Town Manager John Weichsel said he is undergoing surgery this week and that the operation will require “a fairly long recovery.” Weichsel, 78, would not discuss the health issue, nor would he comment on how long he would be away. He said he will undergo surgery Tuesday at Yale New Haven Hospital, and will remain in the hospital for six days. In the meantime, Weichsel named Finance Director Jeffery Jylkka acting assistant interim town manager, saying his handling of problems relating to Tropical Storm Irene demonstrated that he is “up to the job for the period needed.” Weichsel’s appointment, five months ago, was intended to bring stability to the town following months of turmoil over the dismissal of Police Cheif Matthew Reimodo in June 2010. Reimondo was ousted by then-Town Manager Jeffery O’Keefe, in what the town manager said was a cost-saving measure. Reimondo claimed he was targeted for bringing forward sexual harassment complaints by three female town employees against O’Keefe. O’Keefe denied the charges. He later resigned, and Reimondo won his job back in a townwide vote. Weichsel was Southington’s town manager for 44 years, one of the longest serving in the country. He replaced Interim Town Robert Drewry, who was brought last November after O’Keefe resigned. Weichsel’s departure will be discussed in a close-door council session Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at town hall. The regular council meeting will follow at 6:30 p.m. Read more at the Hartfield Courant.

Truro, Massachusetts (population 2,336): Newly appointed Town Administrator Rex Peterson has agreed to a $100,000 annual salary, a slight increase over the salary of his predecessor. Town officials are still finalizing the details of the contract, a task that will be completed before Oct. 3, when Peterson begins work in Town Hall, Selectman Curtis Hartman, chairman of the board, said Thursday. The selectmen wanted to match other town administrator salaries in the region, according to meeting minutes of the board. Former Town Administrator Pam Nolan earned about $96,000 annually, Hartman said. Statewide, the average annual salary for municipal managers or administrators runs slightly above $100,000, according to West Boylston Town Administrator Leon Gaumond, executive committee president of the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association. The salaries generally depend on responsibilities and location, Gaumond said. Peterson has worked for the past 10 years as the assistant town administrator in neighboring Wellfleet. The town of Wellfleet has posted a job opening for its assistant town administrator psot and expects to begin reviewing resumes in early October, Wellfleet Town Administrator Paul Sieloff said Friday. Read at the Cape Cod Times.

Lonaconing, Maryland (population 1,214): John Winner, longtime town administrator of Lonaconing, died Sunday night at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center where he had been a patient for a week, according to Mayor Jack Coburn. Winner was 73. Warren Foote, an elected town official for 25 years and a close personal friend, said Monday that Winner had a remarkable way with people, especially in heated situations. Both Coburn and Foote said Winner’s legacy is the town’s water system, something he worked constantly to improve. Eichhorn-McKenzie Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Visitation will take place there Tuesday from 2 to 8 p.m. Read more at the Cumberland Times-News.

Dewey Beach, Delaware (population 341): As Mark Allen was walking down the street to the Town Hall to report for his first day as town manager transitional liaison, he received phone calls from Commissioner Marty Seitz and Mayor Diane Hanson asking him not to report to work and that his start date would be delayed at least a week. Allen was appointed as the transitional liaison Sept. 9 in a 3-2 vote, with Seitz and Hanson dissenting. Allen then called Commissioner Jim Laird, asking him why he was told by members of Town Council not to report to Town Hall, and Laird responded to him saying he did not know why those calls would be made. After that, Allen decided to step down from the position. Allen said he signed a memorandum of agreement Sept. 16 and Hanson’s signature was not on the document when he signed it, he said. After Hanson was re-elected Sept. 17, Allen told her that if she did not want him to do the job, that he wouldn’t mind stepping down, but Hanson did not ask him to do so. Allen said Hanson was going to give him a tour of the Town Hall Monday. What bothered Allen the most, he said, was that he was selected, and then after the election on Sept. 17, “the rules started changing.” Allen said he was looking forward to serving as the transitional liaison and, depending what he thought of his experience, would have considered pursuing the permanent position. Allen said his professional background lended itself nicely to the Transitional Liaison position. He spent his first career as a naval officer pilot on aircraft carriers and spent many of his tours of duty focused in and around career-enhancing leadership positions. Concerns for Allen that he wanted to take care of included restoring the town’s finances. Allen said he also hoped that residents will start to believe they have a voice year-round, not just at election time. Hanson said Police Chief Sam Mackert will continue to assume the responsibilities of Town Manager until the Town Manager Transitional Liaison or a permanent Town Manager is selected, whichever comes first. Additionally, Denise Campbell, chair of the town’s marketing committee since its inception in 2010 and wife of Allen, confirmed that she has also stepped down from her position, as well as marketing committee member Jill Carr. When asked to comment about the three departures, Hanson said she has not spoken with Campbell or Carr and that she does not think they are related to Allen’s departure. Read more at DelMarVaNOW.com.