Transitions: Spartanburg County, SC; Santa Maria, CA; Stephens County, GA and more

Spartanburg County, South Carolina (population 284,307): The interim administrator of Spartanburg County resigned over the weekend. Nelso Marchioli held the post for only two months. He is the former Denny’s president and CEO. He filled the position left by Glenn Breed, who abruptly resigned in April. According to councilwoman Jane Hall, Marchioli made a personal decision to leave the job. Jim Hipp, deputy administrator, will take over the job, while county officials search for a permanent replacement. Read more at WSPA.

Santa Maria, California (population 99,553): For Rick Haydon, the move to becoming Santa Maria’s new city manager isn’t a big one — it’s just down the hall to the right. The 49-year-old Haydon, assistant city manager for the past 11 years, was chosen by the Santa Maria City Council this week to replace Tim Ness as Santa Maria’s top administrator when Ness retires Dec. 30. Ness, whose retirement was announced Tuesday, has been the city’s top administrator since 1995, and prior to that served as deputy city manager. Ness is among several city officials to announce recently that they are leaving. Larry Lavagnino said  Oct. 3 he wouldn’t seek another term as mayor in the 2012 election; Fire Chief Jeff Jones last week announced he would be retiring Dec. 19; and Chief Deputy City Clerk Pat Perez will be stepping down Dec. 16. All this means that when Santa Maria administrative staff returns from its New Year’s break, Haydon will have a new office. Ness’s retirement was informally announced at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. The council made the decision to select Haydon in closed session later that night. Haydon earned a bachelor’s degree at Fresno State University and a master’s in public administration at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He has worked as a management analyst in Fresno and a financial analyst in the San Joaquin Valley town of Dinuba, where he also served as the budget and employee-relations manager, a job he currently handles in Santa Maria. Haydon also worked as a grants administrator and special projects manager for the Monterey-Salinas Transit District, and later served as business manager for the Monterey Police Department. He came to Santa Maria in 1996, when he was hired as assistant to the city manager and was promoted to his current position four years later. Haydon will inherit a city that has faced four straight years of declining revenues and increasing expenses because of state budget cutbacks. As the man who delivers the city’s budget report to the City Council each year, he’s well aware of its financial condition. Haydon will be just the third city manager in Santa Maria in the past 23 years. Wayne Schwammel served from 1989 to 1994. Ness took over in 1995, and Haydon will move into the office on New Year’s Eve. Read more at the Lompoc Record.

Stephens County, Georgia (population 26,175): John Rutan has resigned as Stephens County administrator. Rutan made his resignation public Friday, and it took effect Friday. He said he has communicated with the County Board of Commissioners. Rutan said he does not have another job lined up at this time. He did say he would like to move toward an engineering position. He was hired in April 2008 as Stephens County administrator. He said it has been a great learning experience, as well as an eye-opening one. Rutan cited working with employees and getting a lot done with limited funding as two of the things he is proud of regarding his time as administrator. He described the people working in Stephens County government as wonderful. Rutan was a solid waste director, geographic information systems coordinator and surveyor for Henry County, Ga., between 1984 and 1997. In 1998, he was a plan reviewer for Fulton County. From 1998 until he was hired as Stephens County administrator, he managed projects, such as some involving roads and rezoning activities, for a number of firms. No announcement had been made as of Friday evening about selection of an interim administrator. Stephens County commissioners are set to meet starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the historic county courthouse in Toccoa. Read more at the Independent Mail.

Perrysburg, Ohio (population 20,623): Perrysburg city administrator John Alexander said he plans to step down from his post on June 1, 2012. Mr. Alexander, 63, has been city administrator since January, 2005. An attorney, he said he is leaving so he can spend more time practicing law and working on research and writing projects on public policy. The city is expected to begin searching for Mr. Alexander’s replacement early next month and assemble a list of applicants by mid-January. Mr. Alexander was previously the Lucas County administrator. His past jobs also include the chief of staff for the commissioners and former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, and public safety director for the city of Toledo during the 1990s. Read more at the Toledo Blade.

West St. Paul, Minnesota (population 19,540): The West St. Paul City Council accepted an early retirement agreement with City Manager John Remkus at a special meeting Tuesday. Remkus was not present for the meeting, but had previously signed the agreement, which the council accepted in a swift, 10-minute meeting. Assistant City Manager Sherrie Le, who now moves into the role of acting city manager with Remkus’ departure, said Remkus — who is currently on vacation — had been mulling over the idea of early retirement for a while. Le said even though the city appointed her as acting city manager, the council will still be going through a search process to find a full-time city manager. Le, who is also still serving as the assistant city manager, human resources director and golf course manager, said she wouldn’t “completely rule out” applying for the full-time city manager position, but it “hadn’t been (her) plan.” Le said the city has been offering an early retirement package to its employees, but none of them had taken the option until Remkus decided to do so. Remkus, who is in his 60s, was hired by former city manager Tom Hoban in 1981 as the city’s finance director. He served the city in that capacity until 2008, when City Manager Arbon Hairston left suddenly. Read more at the Southwest Review News.

Leander, Texas (population 15,705): Leander’s City Council voted tonight to hire Kent Cagle as the city’s new manager, filling on a permanent basis the position that opened unexpectedly this year after former City Manager Biff Johnson died of a heart attack. Cagle, who was not able to make it to the meeting Thursday night, said he was excited to be moving to a community with “explosive growth in its future.” Cagle has been the city manager of Duncanville, a town of more than 38,000 south of Dallas, since 2001 . He replaces Robert Powers, Leander’s finance director, who had been serving as interim city manager since Johnson died in March. Cagle’s salary was set at $180,000. His contract includes a car allowance of $650 and a phone allowance of $150. Johnson was paid a salary of $184,425 when he held the position. He had a car allowance of $800 a month and a phone allowance of $200 a month, both after taxes. In his time as interim city manager, Powers received a salary of $160,000 and a car allowance of $400 a month. Powers’ phone was provided by the city. Cagle, who has a master’s degree in public administration from Texas Tech University, worked as an administrative analyst in Lubbock and a senior budget analyst in Plano, and served as the director of budget and risk management for the city of Carrollton before moving to Duncanville in 1997. He began his tenure in Duncanville as assistant city manager. Cagle’s current salary is $176,345 , and Duncanville gives him a $650 per month car allowance , and a $40 a month phone allowance. The City of Duncanville had no complaints against Cagle on file. Cagle was picked from a group of five candidates the city named earlier this month: Elizabeth Grindstaff, an assistant city manager in San Angelo; Susan Thorpe, a deputy city manager in Peoria, Ariz., David Vela, an assistant city manager in Abilene; and Greg Vick, the interim city manager of Elgin, were also considered for the job. Cagle, who grew up in Sonora, said the Hill Country feels like home and that Leander’s school district was a big pull because he has three children. Read more at The Statesman.

Bellmead, Texas (population 9,042): According to Mayor Joshua Collier, City Manager Victor Pena has decided to resign after a five or six month disagreement with the city council. Collier says council members have been unhappy with the direction Pena is leading Bellmead, and that’s why they have scheduled a special meeting Monday to address his resignation. Collier says the council will work out a severance deal that would include keeping Pena around for another three months as a consultant for the many city projects he was actively involved in. Another item on the agenda will be to discuss hiring the Texas First Group to find an interim city manager.  The council is hoping the company can find a retired or experienced former official to be their new city manager. Pena was elected city manager in October of 2009. The special council meeting will be Monday, October 24 at 5:30. Read more at KXXV.

Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona (population 8,819): Two former city managers interviewed before the Dewey-Humboldt Town Council in a special session meeting Wednesday, and the council offered Jim Rumpeltes the job of interim town manager. Rumpeltes brings 30 years of experience to the job and an interesting background with the City of Surprise where he was city manager from 2003 to 2007. In response to a question from Councilwoman Nancy Wright about how he would handle ethical issues on the part of council members, Rumpeltes said near the end of his time with Surprise, he turned in to the Attorney General’s Office several council members for violations on legal and ethical issues. Councilman John Dibble said the D-H council has had some rough times and perhaps a poor reputation, and asked if Rumpeltes was prepared to tackle the job. In addition to manager and two years as assistant manager for Surprise, Rumpeltes worked for 15 years as county administrator for Clallam County, Wash., and seven years with Spokane County as budget director. Prior to that he was a Vista Volunteer in East Los Angeles for a year. He’s been active in the United Way, Rotary Club and YMCA. Rumpeltes said his management style is open with no surprises. He likes to go over expectations and keep everyone up to speed, and said his door is always open. During the interview, he handed council members a three-point plan of action for the next two months before Yvonne Kimball begins in January. The town has offered Kimball a contract and is waiting her approval and signature. First on the list is to help council fill vacant positions. He also will keep in regular communication with the mayor and council, including a weekly email on Fridays he calls “Things You Need to Know.” Lastly, he will help prepare for the start of the new town manager with a list of issues and loose ends, scheduled meetings for the first week, and getting keys and business cards. Interim Public Management offered the town two candidates to consider. The town also interviewed Cynthia Seelhammer, who council members said also was well qualified for the job. Rumpeltes starts work on Monday. Read more at The Daily Courier.

Flora, Illinois (population 4,665): Monday afternoon’s Flora City Council meeting had the City see the end of a long search for a City Administrator end with Randy Bukas being sworn into the position. The decision to hire Bukas was approved by a unanimous vote. He will be paid $750,00 [sic] a year, plus vacation time and benefits. Read more at The Clay County Advocate-Press.

Highwood, Illinois (population 3,675): The city of Highwood announced Friday that Scott Hartman will take over the daily operations of the city on Monday morning as the community’s new city manager. Consulting Interim Manager Kenneth Marabella has held the post since June, when the city parted ways with former manager Greg Jackson. Hartman was among 40 applicants, reported Mayor Charlie Pecaro, adding that his display of energy and patience secured the job after aldermen conducted two rounds of interviews with finalists. Hartman also brings more than 15 years of municipal management experience, including former roles as village manager of Pingree Grove in Kane County and city administrator of Marengo, in McHenry County. Both towns are about the size of Highwood, Pecaro said, and offer similar council-manager governing structures. Hartman’s experience focused on community and economic development, financial management, labor and service contract negotiations and strategic planning, according to the Highwood news release. The City Council unanimously confirmed the hire Tuesday night. Read more at the Highland Park News.

Leland, North Carolina (population 3,243): The Leland Town Council on Thursday appointed a new town manager. David Hollis was announced at Thursday night’s meeting as the town’s new top administrator. He will replace retiring manager Bill Farris. Farris is set to leave the town position in December. Hollis is slated to start working in November so there will be a transition period. The move to appoint Hollis, however, was not without complaints. The motion, approved 4-1, was met with stark opposition by Barnes. Barnes said council members were to only interview four candidates, but instead called in two more candidates after one had to take care of a family matter. That should have left three candidates to be interviewed, he said. But Councilwoman Pat Batleman said Barnes was not there for the entire interview process. Barnes said he only left after he found out about the addition. He said he left because the move to add a fifth candidate frustrated him. Batleman contested and said there were five candidates the whole time. At the end of the meeting, Barnes met with Hollis. “I don’t have a problem with you, I just have a problem with the procedure,” he said and shook Hollis’ hand. Read more at the Star News.

Wilmington, Vermont (population 2,086): As the town attempts to rebuild following the historic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene, the Selectboard will also have to find a new town manager. After serving six months as Wilmington Town manager, Selectboard members accepted Fred Ventresco’s resignation Thursday. Thomas Consolino, chair of the Wilmington town Selectboard, said the town manager didn’t see the job as a good fit and Ventresco was not comfortable with the position. He said Ventresco started as Wilmington Town Manager in April and resigned Oct. 13. Consolino said they are looking for a replacement for the town manager. James Burke, member of the Wilmington Selectboard, said members of the board will have done research and possibly have an interim town manager selected by Oct. 18. Before Ventresco accepted the position, Fire Chief Ken March served as the town manager, who was appointed by the Selectboard following the resignation of Bob Rusten, who accepted a position as assistant city manager of South Burlington. Read more in the Brattleboro Reformer.

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