Transitions: Greensboro, NC; Hernando County, FL; Alexandria, VA and more

Greensboro, North Carolina (population 269,666): Greensboro named its new interim city manager after Rashad Young submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday. City officials said Denise Turner Roth will serve as interim city manager once Young leaves office on December 2. Young’s term ends December 12 and December 2 will be his last day in office. He has accepted a position as City Manager for the Alexandria, Va. Roth will be paid a base salary $158,678, a raise from her current $121,000 salary. Roth is currently assistant city manager for community affairs and communications. She has been in that position since 2008. Greensboro will continue to search for a permanent replacement. Young came to Greensboro in October 2009 after being city manager of Dayton, Ohio, for three years. He replaced Mitch Johnson, who was fired in March 2009. Young was hired with a base salary of $179,500. He turned down a 3 percent pay raise passed by City Council in 2010, saying he shouldn’t be given a raise if city workers weren’t. Council also passed a 4 percent pay raise for Young in July, but Young turned that down as well. It would have raised his salary to $186,680, plus given him a $400 a month car allowance. Alexandria, founded in 1749, has a population of approximately 140,000 with a General Fund Operating Budget of $566.9 million. Read more at Fox 8.

Hernando County, Florida (population 172,778): Facing the possibility of an outright firing, Hernando County Administrator David Hamilton agreed Tuesday to leave his post by the end of the year. A sharply divided County Commission was discussing whether to change direction on a plan it approved last week to make Susan Goebel the new environmental services director when Commissioner John Druzbick made a motion to terminate Hamilton, saying he had lost faith in him. Commissioner Jeff Stabins seconded the motion, saying he could not support Hamilton’s continued employment because he did not inspire county staffers. But commissioners Dave Russell and Wayne Dukes voiced support for Hamilton, saying he has had difficult work to do, downsizing county government by one-third since he arrived from Minnesota 3 1/2 years ago. Hamilton, 62, told commissioners that there was still important work to be done and urged them to let him help with a smooth transition rather than “launch off a cliff.” Hamilton compared the parting that was being proposed by the commission to a divorce and said he wanted it to be amicable. He offered to prepare a plan to help move the county through the transition to new leadership by early next year. As the discussion continued and it became obvious that four of the commissioners were split, Stabins asked Chairman Jim Adkins, the swing vote, to speak. Adkins said he would support Hamilton in his effort to create a transition plan that would have the administrator remain in his position for two more months. Druzbick tabled his motion to terminate Hamilton’s contract until Nov. 8, when Hamilton will bring forward his transition plan. Hamilton had been hammered earlier in Tuesday’s meeting by comments from the public. Paul Douglas, president of the local NAACP chapter but speaking as an individual, accused Hamilton of destroying public records. He told the commission he had made a complaint to the State Attorney’s Office about Hamilton shredding notes taken when county officials investigated racial complaints at the Wiscon Road utilities office after Hamilton first arrived in 2008. Douglas said the destruction of records was detailed to him in a recent phone conversation with departing environmental services director Joe Stapf. Hamilton declined to respond to the charges. Former County Commissioner Rose Rocco, a longtime critic of Hamilton, called him a liar and urged the commission to order him to resign. Druzbick accused Hamilton of misleading the board and failing to provide complete information two weeks ago when Hamilton recommended that Goebel move from director of transportation services to director of environmental services with an $8,000 raise. The commission didn’t know at the time that administrative services director Cheryl Marsden had not been in agreement with the change. Hamilton told commissioners the fact that Marsden had not signed the recommendation was an oversight. Marsden has said that the move was lateral and would not ordinarily come with a pay raise. Goebel also didn’t match the requirements for the job, which was recently vacated by Stapf. Hamilton asked Marsden to rewrite the job description. Druzbick said the latest issue was just one of many and that he had asked Hamilton privately for his resignation on Monday. Hamilton had refused. Hamilton said Tuesday that after his conversation with Druzbick, he had gone home Monday, spoken with his wife and settled on the proposal to create a transition plan and leave his job. Druzbick said he had concluded that Hamilton was no longer dedicated to Hernando County when he got word late last week that Hamilton had applied to be the county administrator of Sarasota County. Russell said he had no problem with Hamilton testing the water in Sarasota County. When Hamilton was hired, Russell said, the commission gave him “a mighty task.” He was charged with downsizing and reorganizing the structure of county government to reduce costs as property tax revenues plummeted. On top of that, unlike previous administrators, he did much of that task without an assistant administrator and with little clerical help. That may be why some things slipped through the cracks and mistakes were made, Russell said. Dukes agreed, saying that he understood that cutting costs and downsizing do not make someone popular. He said he believed any dissatisfaction around the government center with Hamilton was “resistance to change.” Hamilton got some support from one regular in the commission audience: former planning commission member Anthony Palmieri. Hamilton’s annual salary is $135,000. The severance package in his contract, which runs through March 2013, would award him a lump sum equal to five months of pay. Read more in the St. Petersburg Times.

Alexandria, Virginia (population 139,966): Alexandria officials are welcoming a new city manager who they say will begin working in December. The City Council announced Monday that it has formally signed a contract with 35-year-old Rashad Young, who was the city manager for Greensboro, N.C. Young will begin work on Dec. 12 at an annual salary of $245,000. Young succeeds James Hartmann, who left the post in May to work for Seminole County, Fla. The city’s chief budget officer, Bruce Johnson, has been serving as acting city manager and will return to his old job. Young is Alexandria’s first African-American city manager. Read more at The Washington Post.

Vista, California (population 93,834): Patrick Johnson will make $199,000 annually when he takes over as Vista’s city manager in January, under a contract approved unanimously Tuesday by the Vista City Council. Johnson, who has served as the city’s assistant city manager since 2007, will take over for Rita Geldert when she retires at the end of the year. Geldert’s salary is $211,546 and Johnson’s salary is $186,637. Johnson’s contract also includes $500 per month for a vehicle allowance and $90 per month for a cell phone. Geldert’s contract includes the same provision. Johnson’s contract also includes a 5 percent raise in July 2012. The contract also allows Johnson to sell back up to 80 hours of accrued vacation time each year, requires Vista to pay medical and dental insurance for him and his family and the premium on a $500,000 life insurance policy. Councilman Steve Gronke called it a great contract. Other City Council members praised the outgoing city manager and said Johnson has been groomed for the job. Johnson, a native of San Diego, has worked for local government for more than 17 years. He began working for Vista in 1998 as a management analyst. Johnson received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University. In addition to assisting Geldert with the daily operations of Vista, he has served as the project manager for the design and construction of the new Civic Center. Councilman Dave Cowles said the city probably saved several months and thousands of dollars by hiring someone who already worked for Vista. Johnson also received high recommendations from his boss. After the meeting, Johnson said he was happy with the contract and excited to take the reins in Vista. Johnson, 41, said he hopes to meet with council members early next year to set priorities and goals. He also said he plans to tackle the city’s ongoing structural deficit. Read more at the North County Times.

Somerset County, Maryland (population 26,470): Doug Taylor is scheduled to take the oath of office today as Somerset County’s new administrator. Taylor, the director of the Somerset County Roads Department for the past seven years, will be sworn in at 2 p.m. at the start of the Somerset County Commissioners meeting. Taylor was appointed to the new post two weeks ago but didn’t start his new job until this week. The county has been without a permanent administrator since the retirement of Sam Boston on Sept. 1, 2010, about six weeks before his death from cancer. Cindy Ward, a former administrative aide to the Commissioners for the past 15 years, has served on an interim basis since then. The county administrator serves at the pleasure of the County Commissioners and is appointed following each election. Taylor will serve out the remainder of the current term until the 2014 election. Read more at DelMarVaNOW.

American Canyon, California (population 19,454): Dana Shigley, currently the city manager of Anderson, Calif., will become American Canyon’s new city manager, the City Council announced Tuesday. Shigley, whose start date will be Jan. 2, will be paid $170,000 per year minus a 6 percent furlough deduction put in place as part of the city’s deficit elimination program. She will replace Richard Ramirez who is retiring. Shigley, 48, has a background in public finance, economic development and budgeting. She has served Anderson, a Central Valley city of about 10,000 population, for 11 years, first as finance director, grants manager, redevelopment agency executive director and assistant city manager before being named the city’s chief executive. Vice Mayor Joan Bennett praised Shigley’s qualifications. As part of the interview process, Councilmember Belia Bennett hosted a dinner to get to know the finalists personally. Shigley holds a master’s degree in public policy from California State University, Sacramento and a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from CSU San Bernadino. She is a credentialed city manager and has more than 20 years of experience in federal, state and local government. Shigley said she and her husband, Paul, plan to live in American Canyon. Paul Shigley has a background in journalism and lived in Napa while working for the Weekly Calistogan newspaper in the 1980s, Dana Shigley said. The couple have no children. Dana Shigley said she and her husband have spent time in Napa in the past without visiting American Canyon. Read more at the American Canyon Eagle.

Las Animas County, Colorado (population 15,507): Las Animas County Administrator William Cordova resigned abruptly last week, county officials said Monday. County Commissioner Mack Louden said Cordova did not give a reason for his resignation on Wednesday. Cordova became the county administrator in 2002. Prior to that he was Trinidad’s city manager. Louden said plans to fill Cordova’s position are in the early stages. Leslee Fresquez, deputy county administrator, said as of Monday, the county commissioners had not made a decision about the position. Louden said that Cordova did his job well. Cordova could not be reached for comment Monday. Read more at The Pueblo Chieftan.

Chadron, Nebraska (population 5,851): Former Chadron Police Chief Ted Vastine has been appointed interim Chadron city manager, effective Monday, Oct. 24, even though he is out of town and won’t return for more than a week. The Chadron City Council, currently a three member body, unanimously approved Vastine’s appointment at a brief special meeting Friday afternoon. The previous city manager, Sandy Powell, resigned Monday, in the wake of a recall election that took John Chizek and Steve Duncan from their council positions. Vastine served as Chief of  Police for Chadron from 1976 until he retired in 2003. Widely respected and well liked in the community, Vastine was The Chadron Record’s Citizen of the Year in 2002. Council member Karin Fischer, who made the motion to appoint Vastine, said he was visiting family in Ohio and would return Nov. 1 or 2, but the appointment was made effective Monday “in case decisions need to be made” before his return. Fischer also said she was confidence that Vastine would refer any police issues brought to him to the current chief, Tim Lordino. The council has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. to discuss advertising for a permanent city manager. Read more at The Chadron Record.

Tonganoxie, Kansas (population 4,994): A 90-minute work session Monday devoted to the search for a city administrator and further discussion on the topic at the Tonganoxie City Council’s regular council meeting produced limited progress. It was the council’s first extended discussion of the search since it voted Aug. 22 not to extend Mike Yanez’s $87,800 annual contract past its Dec. 31 expiration. Mayor Jason Ward said the three issues before the council in the work session were an update of the city administrator’s job description, whether to hire a firm to lead the administrator search and agreement on an interim administrator with the now-certainty that a new administrator will not be hired before Yanez’s contract expires. Although discussion on the job description exhausted the 90-minute work session, the council was unable to work through all the description now in place. It was only during the council’s regular meeting that the council voted, 3-2, to seek requests for proposals from firms to guide the city administrator search. That wording for that request will not be ready until Nov. 28. Council members agreed that didn’t allow enough time to get a new city administrator hired before Yanez’s contract expired even without the RFP process. With that in mind, Ward proposed to the council that Yanez’s contract, should he be willing, be extended until a new administrator was found. Councilman Bill Peak “wholeheartedly disagreed” and asked for an executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. The meeting ended with no further discussion of an interim administrator. Peak and Dennis Bixby opposed the RFP to find an outside search firm. Both councilmen expressed concern about the cost. The city has three search offers, including those from the Kansas League of Municipalities and Springsted Inc, the city’s consulting financial firm. Those two entities would charge $4,499 and $8,500, respectively. The two councilmen also argued the council could perform the task with the aid of a volunteer professional committee Ward proposed as a possible alternative to a professional search firm. However, the majority of the council agreed on the need to hire a search firm. Councilman Chris Donnelly questioned whether the council could devote the time the job needed, noting the failure of the council to complete the job description in the 90-minute work session. That discussion will continue at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Assistant City Administrator Kathy Bard will prepare a summary of the changes in the job description agreed upon Monday for that meeting. Read more at The Mirror.

Garner, Iowa (population 3,129): The Garner City Council unanimously approved a contract Tuesday for the community’s new city administrator. Randy Lansing, city administrator in Cascade since 1998, was selected from a list of five finalists. He replaces Brent Hinson who recently resigned to take a similar job in Washington, Iowa. Lansing’s two-year contract includes a base salary of $70,155. He will also receive health insurance coverage with the city paying the premium. The city will pay moving and relocation expenses of $2,000, transitional housing expenses of $600 per month for six months or until Lansing’s home in Cascade is sold, whichever comes first and time off to pursue his masters degree in public administration. The contract also states that Lansing will make his cell phone number public so that the citizens of Garner can contact him concerning city business. Lansing is scheduled to start in Garner on Dec. 19. Read more at the Globe Gazette.

Albany, Texas (population 2,034): Albany city leaders have accepted the resignation of City Manager David Ramon. The resignation was accepted by Albany City Council during an executive session held late Monday night. Albany Mayor Sally Maxey told KTXS News the city has no comment on the matter. Read at KTXS.

Fowler, Colorado (population 1,182): The Fowler Board of Trustees have hired Dan Hyatt to serve as the town’s part-time interim town administrator. Hyatt began his duties on Oct. 11, according to Mayor Pat Christensen. Christensen, acting on the request of the board of trustees, has provided administrative duties to the town for the past four months on a volunteer basis. The board of trustees has been searching for an appropriate interim administrator for the past four months. While struggling with the search, the trustees asked Hyatt, who is also the town’s attorney, if he was willing to take the position on a part-time interim basis. Hyatt accepted and this will allow the trustees to resolve budget issues before making a decision regarding a permanent town administrator. Hyatt has 28 years of management experience with his own companies, 16 years experience as an elected council member and approximately seven years experience in city management.
Any legal work for the town will be performed outside of his hours spent providing administration services. Hyatt has 28 years experience in business management owning and operating multiple corporations and 16 years of experience as an elected city council member for the city of La Junta, including serving on the city’s utility board, planning commission, and briefly on the library board. He served one term as an elected member of the Colorado Municipal League’s board of directors. Hyatt was appointed by the governor and ratified by the Colorado Senate as a member of the Colorado Limited Gaming Commission serving as its chairman for six years. He served as interim city manager and later as city manager for the City of Rocky Ford for seven years. He has practiced general law including representation of municipal clients. Read more at the La Junta Tribune Democrat.

Bandera, Texas (population 1,081): With a $62,000 salary on the table, City of Bandera Public Works Director Mike Cardenas was unanimously voted in as City Administrator during City Council’s Oct. 20 regular meeting. One councilmember joked that it’s going to be a happy Christmas in the Cardenas household. Councilmembers Nancy Montgomery and Maggie Schumacher recommended Cardenas for the position. Montgomery said she felt the administrator position, shared between Cardenas, City Secretary Linda Boshek and Mayor Horst Pallaske since Gene Foerster’s resignation in April, created too much pressure for three people to handle separately. Cardenas said the eight-month initial term was a win-win for him and the city. With taking on the role of city administrator, Cardenas said he has an individual in mind to promote to supervisor, so he can better split his time between the two positions. Cardenas has worked for the city for 23 years, as public works director since 1989. Schumacher said Cardenas would provide the leadership the city needs in what has been a contentious year for council. Foerster resigned in April after scathing public criticism from councilmembers, and council’s actions have drawn national attention after firing most of its police department to budget for contingency and capital improvement funds. According to Boshek, Cardenas has been paid an extra 15-percent on his base pay per month for his one-third role as temporary city administrator along with Boshek and Pallaske. Boshek also received a 15-percent boost, and Pallaske received $500 per month. Schumacher initially recommended Cardenas’ salary be increased by $1,000 per month for taking full responsibility for the administrator position, but was swayed after debate from Pallaske and Councilwoman Brandi Morgan. Morgan said she felt Cardenas should receive at least the roughly $1,500 now shared by the administrative trio, in addition to his salary as Public Works director. She recommended adding $22,000, half of that budgeted to hire a full-time city administrator, to his salary. After voting to unanimously to appoint Cardenas to the position, council discussed other business while City Treasurer Ernest DeWinne calculated budget options for Cardenas’ proposed salary. Councilman John Hegemier said he felt Morgan’s suggested pay raise was “too generous” because Cardenas would still be splitting his time with the Public Works department. After further discussion, Cardenas said he would be willing to accept a $62,000 annual salary. Council voted unanimously to accept his suggested salary. Read more at The Bandera Bulletin.

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