Transitions: Hollywood, FL; Rockingham County, NC; Lake Worth, FL and more

Hollywood, Florida (population 140,768): After a tumultuous year, Hollywood has a new leader. Douglas Hewett, the assistant city manager of Fayetteville, N.C., was selected by the City Commission Friday night to be Hollywood’s new city manager. On the to-do list for the new manager: begin the budget process for next fiscal year; develop a strategic plan for economic development, help heal rifts with the city’s police, firefighters and city employees’ unions, help rebuild a struggling downtown and address the city’s problems with homelessness. The city has been without a manager since June, when Cameron Benson quit under pressure after commissioners learned the city was $10.3 million in the hole. Interim City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark was asked to serve as the interim, leading the city through this year’s budget which included a $38 million gap. Other challenges this year: a referendum that slashed pension benefits for employees and a major sewer pipe rupture caused by old infrastructure. Commissioner Beam Furr said the city has come a long way this year, but needs to continue to improve. Hewitt, 40, has no experience as a city manager. During his presentation, Hewett, who grew up in North Carolina and earned both a bachelor’s and master’s from North Carolina State University, said that being from a different state could be an advantage. In North Carolina, he was in charge of environmental services, sanitation, engineering and infrastructure, transit, human resources development, and the human resources department. He also worked a program commissioners hope he can develop in Hollywood that deals with residential renting. Hewett said he has learned as assistant manager that you have to look for ways to say yes. He has been the assistant city manager of Fayetteville, a city of 200,000, since 2007. Read more at The Miami Herald.

Rockingham County, North Carolina (population 93,643): In his first month on the job, Rockingham County’s new manager spent a lot of time at the conference table in his office — not the ample, executive-style desk across the room. Lance Metzler said he’s trying to send two messages: He has no personal agenda and his door is always open to residents with problems or questions involving county government. Metzler took the reins of county government Dec. 5, after the county Board of Commissioners hired him to fill the shoes of veteran manager Tom Robinson, who retired last year after nearly a decade in the role. Metzler, 41, will be paid $132,500 a year and get a car allowance of $600 per month. He came to the job from Montgomery County, where he served as that county’s chief executive for seven years. Montgomery, where Metzler grew up, boasts a population of about 27,500 residents — less than a third that of Rockingham County’s. But Metzler faced some of the same issues there as those he’ll confront at Governmental Center in Wentworth. And he performed admirably during his tenure, said Jackie Morris, chairman of the Montgomery board. Metzler got his start as a manager in Kingstree, S.C., where, at 23 he was the youngest town manager in the state. Later, he served as chief administrator in Virginia for another small town and for Northampton County in the Eastern Shore area. Metzler’s accomplishments in Montgomery County since 2005, Morris said, include helping to form a partnership with neighboring Moore County to build a 3,000-acre business park on the county line, the Heart of North Carolina MegaPark. Rockingham County faces a tough budget year in 2012, with some revenue sources likely stagnant. But the finances appear well-managed, Metzler said, with little pressing need to spend heavily on such projects as new buildings. Deciding what to do and when will be up to the commissioners, he said. Metzler said that he and his fiance, Gwen Roseman, are looking forward to forming a blended family when she moves here from Wilmington, where she works as a flight attendant. They each have two school-age children from previous marriages. Metzler said that in his short time on the job, he has gained confidence that he made a good choice in coming to Rockingham County. He’s hoping county residents feel the same way about him. Read more at the News & Record.

Lake Worth, Florida (population 34,910): After a plethora of media coverage by local news outlets, including several stories featured in the Palm Beach Post, it’s hardly breaking news that transgendered Lake Worth City Manager Susan Stanton was fired from her job last month. The 3-2 vote in favor of her dismissal has brought with it its fair share of controversy in the local press, and the motives behind the firing itself are still murky according to two of the commissioners.  And even a third commissioner, newly elected Andy Amoroso who voted to oust Stanton, is rather tightlipped on the issue despite his supposedly “friendly” dealings with her for the better part of two years. So just why was she let go?  Was it budgetary?  Was it something more sinister, more politically motivated? The answers are anything but easily defined at this point.  But a few things about the firing are known with certainty:  it wasn’t due to performance, had nothing to do with her choice of gender orientation and came as a shock, even to some of the commissioners. Lake Worth City Commissioner Christopher McVoy, one of the two commissioners who voted not to fire Stanton, was more than willing to speak to SFGN despite vacationing in Vermont and painting a house when receiving the call. Perhaps even more telling?  The way the vote and subsequent firing was conducted. City Commissioner Scott Maxwell raised the motion to fire Stanton. Maxwell, according to McVoy has been an outspoken opponent of Stanton since the beginning of her tenure in 2009. Nine months ago Former Mayor Rene Varela, criticized Stanton’s people skills in an evaluation and even she agreed she needed to make more of an effort to reach out to the community. But still:  how important was her demeanor to the city’s financial well-being as a whole? Well, for one, Lake Worth City Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, who did not vote to fire Statnton, seems to agree with McVoy’s assessment of her dismissal. In fact when it comes to job performance, according to Mulvehill, Stanton helped the city balance a budget with precision. Despite having to compensate for nearly $10 million in lost revenues from 2008 to present, Stanton was not only up to the job but ensured that, before the newest elections, the city of Lake Worth had a completely balanced budget.  Additionally, just nine months ago Stanton received a favorable evaluation – besides some minor criticisms — from the then city commission. Going further, Mulvehill not only asserts her belief that Stanton was fired for personal reasons, but claims Maxwell, who is also vice mayor, had even further motivation to flex his political muscle. Yet another twist to the still unraveling controversy is Commissioner Andy Amoroso’s comments on the vote.  Openly gay and part of the majority vote to fire Stanton, Amoroso stated that he is not a “traditional” politician and had little to say about the matter. Amoroso is new to the commission only having been elected in November. Curiously enough Stanton, who could not be reached for comment, maintains a Facebook Page pointing her “interests” to Amoroso’s election site adding further credence to their obvious acquaintanceship prior to the election.  Under questioning, though, Amoroso declined to comment about he and Stanton’s prior dealings and reverts methodically back to a seemingly pre-packaged response. Remember, though:  while Amoroso points to the public being the harbinger for the ousting, it was motioned during the meeting that the public be confined simply to saying goodbye to Stanton and thanking her for her service.  How then could it be said with accuracy that there could potentially be a myriad of reasons for Stanton’s firing – the most relevant of which was public opinion? Commissioner Mulvehill feels that the meeting to fire Stanton had potentially been planned in advance with only certain people knowing, which if true, would violate Florida’s Sunshine Laws. Those laws state that fellow commissioners are not allowed to converse about anything with each other related to policy, voting, procedure or anything else relevant to the city. One thing though that does seem certain is that Stanton was not fired because she is transgender as happened with her last job as city manager of Largo, Florida. Tony Plakas, the executive director of Compass, the gay and lesbian center of the Palm Beaches, said this is just the way things happen in Lake Worth. Read more at SFGN.com.

Carbondale, Illinois (population 25,902): Kevin Baity will become Carbondale’s next city manager pending formal approval of a contract by the city council. The city council will host a special meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 in Carbondale’s civic center to vote on the contract for Baity, who has been assistant city manager and development services director. The city did not provide contract information in the Wednesday afternoon announcement. Mayor Joel Fritzler said contract details have not been finalized. Former City Manager Allen Gill made more than $120,000 in 2011. Gill officially retired Jan. 1, after three years on the job. Baity beat out former Collinsville City Manager Robert Knabel to replace Gill as the city’s top administrator. Baity has worked for the city of Carbondale since 2006. Baity said in his first few months in office he will focus on Carbondale’s upcoming fiscal year budget, rewriting the zoning code and the city’s five-year capital improvement plans. He said he will not try to put his own stamp on the job. Fritzler said Baity’s administrative experience with the city will allow the new city manager to hit the ground running when he is formally installed. Baity bested more than 60 candidates from a nationwide search that cost the city about $23,000. Baity’s impending hire has at least two city council members at odds with each other. Councilwoman Jane Adams came out in opposition to Baity being awarded the job, while Councilman Lance Jack described Adams’ opposition as “self-absorbed.” Adams said she had no problem with Baity as a person, but she did not think he was the best candidate for the job. She took issue with the wording of the city’s news release about the council reaching “a consensus” on the hire. Adams also criticized Baity’s handling of a special use permit issued to an auto repair shop located at North Oakland Avenue and West Sycamore Street, in a neighborhood zoned residential. Baity said he would not comment on the special use permit, since rescinded. Although Baity didn’t get unanimous support, it’s tough to tell if other council members were opposed. The city council discusses personnel matters, which includes hiring, behind closed doors, and council members are barred from discussing what happens in those closed sessions. If any council members have issues with the hire they will be able to publicly address those issues at the Jan. 10 meeting. For now, a majority expressed support for Baity. Councilman Don Monty said Baity erred on the special use permit, but it should not disqualify Baity from being hired as city manager. Monty said he hoped differences over Baity’s hire would not affect future council business. Fritzler said Adams is entitled to her opinion, and opinions on Baity’s hire are similar to dissents on other candidates. Read more at The Southern.

McKeesport, Pennsylvania (population 19,731): McKeesport has a new city administrator. At its reorganization meeting Monday, council chose Matt Gergely to replace city administrator Dennis Pittman, who had held the top city management position for eight years. Mr. Gergely, 32, grew up in White Oak and recently moved to McKeesport. He was a supervisor with the State Workers’ Insurance Fund. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His salary will be $66,500. McKeesport’s city administrator is similar to a municipal manager. The administrator also leads the city’s finance department. Mr. Pittman, 63, was community development director in McKeesport from 1989 to 2000. From 2000 to 2004, he was executive director of McKeesport Housing Corp. In 2004, former Mayor Jim Brewster hired him as city administrator, and when Councilman Regis McLaughlin became mayor, he kept Mr. Pittman in the job. Mr. Pittman has been known to be an independent thinker who would disagree with his employers when he believed the issue called for his impartiality. Councilman A.J. Tedesco said Mr. Pittman was an asset to the city for many years. Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Hope Mills, North Carolina (population 15,176): The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners voted to fire Town Manager Randy Beeman in a 3-2 vote Wednesday night. Finance Director John Ellis was appointed interim town manager. Board members Mike Mitchell, Tonzie Collins and Jerry Legge voted for Beeman’s dismissal. Pat Edwards and Bob Gorman voted to retain the manager. Under Beeman’s contract, he will be paid for the next 60 days. Mitchell, who was elected in November, made the motion to fire Beeman but first read a statement. Mitchell cited concerns over budgeting, personnel policies and relationships with nonprofit agencies. A closed session was on Wednesday’s meeting agenda, but the board voted to fire Beeman before going behind closed doors. Collins criticized the timing, saying later that Beeman could have kept his job with a reprimand if the board had first discussed the issue behind closed doors. In a statement, Collins apologized to the citizens of Hope Mills for Beeman’s termination. Beeman has been under fire since June 2010, when recorded conversations between him and other town employees were leaked to Eddie Dees, who was mayor. On the recordings, Beeman criticized some town officials. He later apologized for his comments and survived a 3-2 vote to fire him in October 2010. The New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office investigated the recordings, and last month the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office charged former administrative assistant Melissa Smith with a misdemeanor. Town commissioners raised their voices as they gave their reasons for supporting Beeman or wanting to fire him. Legge seconded Mitchell’s motion to fire Beeman. Mayor Jackie Warner, who doesn’t have a vote on the board, said she was handing over her mayoral duties to Mitchell, the mayor pro tem, for a moment as she expressed her displeasure with the action. Warner said the matter of Beeman’s job performance should have been more fully reviewed before any action was taken. Three of the five commissioners and Warner were elected in November and sworn in last month. Beeman sat silently during the discussion and left immediately after the vote. Town Hall was packed for the meeting. Before the vote, a few people took to the podium to express support for Beeman. Ellis, the finance director, was named interim manager after the board emerged from a closed session that lasted more than an hour. After the meeting Ellis, 55, said he is ready to get busy learning the manager’s job. He was hired by a 4-1 vote, with Collins voting no. Ellis’ salary will be the same as Beeman’s, Warner said, about $87,000. Warner said the search for a permanent manager could take two to three months. Read more at The Fayetteville Observer.

Red Bluff, California (population 14,076): City Manager Martin Nichols will be leaving Red Bluff to become the chief administrative officer in Lassen County. Nichols will be leaving as soon as Lassen County finishes performing a background check, Deputy City Clerk Cheryl Smith said. Nichols was not immediately available for comment. He has served as city manager since 2006 and lives in Paradise. Mayor Forrest Flynn said Nichols’ expertise will be missed. The Red Bluff City Council will hold a closed session meeting Saturday to discuss recruiting for a new city manager. Several options are available for the council in filling the position, Flynn said. It can appoint a department head staff or someone from the community to the position, open a recruitment process or hire a consulting firm to do the recruiting. The city does not have any money to hire a consulting firm, and Flynn said he would be in favor of having an open recruitment, Flynn said. Most likely the council will appoint an interim manager while it looks for a permanent person. Having one of the five council members step into the role will not be an option. Read more at the Red Bluff Daily News.

St. Helens, Oregon (population 12,883): After four years helping guide the city of St. Helens, its city administrator will leave his position at the end of this month. Chad Olsen accepted a job as city manager for Carlton, Ore., a small Yamhill County farming town. He begins there Feb. 1 with a salary of $72,000. In St. Helens this year, Olsen was making nearly $106,000 before benefits. Olsen was a finalist to become city manager of Molalla, Ore., earlier this year. Olsen currently lives in McMinnville, about 15 minutes south of Carlton. To become Carlton’s city manager, Olsen beat out a group of 64 applicants, according to McMinnville’s News-Register, who quoted Olsen as calling Carlton is “a real gem, with a classic, small-town atmosphere.” He was hired Dec. 12. Olsen was city manager of Rainier for 11 years before resigning and joining St. Helens in 2007, first in an interim role. The St. Helens City Council plans to discuss the soon-to-be-vacant administrator position at its Jan. 4 work session. They will first appoint someone as interim. Olsen has a long history in city administration, including work in Ohio, Wyoming and North Carolina. He is a member of both the St. Helens Kiwanis Club and the Rotary Club of Columbia County. Read more at the South County Spotlight.

Richmond Hill, Georgia (population 9,281): Shortly after swearing in two new members Tuesday, the new Richmond Hill City Council decided to “relieve” City Manager Mike Melton of his duties. Mayor Harold Fowler says the decision was not based on anything Melton had or had not done, but was because the council felt in order to move in a new direction they needed to get rid of Melton, who’s served in the position for 15 years. Mayor Fowler has worked with Melton for the past two years and feels the council made the right decision to move the City of Richmond Hill forward. Melton has five days to appeal the council’s decision, followed by up to 45 days for a hearing. Mayor Fowler says he and city council have no one in mind at this time to replace Melton. Read more at WTOC.

Atkinson, New Hampshire (population 6,751): William Innes had a busy first day as town administrator. Innes, 63, said he had nonstop meetings yesterday in an effort to get to know his new coworkers and staff. Innes agreed to take the job in December after the town had been without a town administrator since August. His annual salary is $68,000. He was the chairman of the Recreation Committee and secretary of the Technology Committee, but has no other municipal experience. Selectman Fred Childs said the next few weeks will be a learning process for Innes. Right now is an extremely busy time for the town, Childs said, with the town report, budgets and warrant articles. Last night was Innes’ first selectmen’s meeting, but Childs said he won’t be doing much during meetings yet. Innes worked half the day at Town Hall and half at home because he is recovering from a medical issue. But he said it isn’t holding him back. Town Clerk Rose Cavalear said she met Innes yesterday morning when he came in. Atkinson has gone through a number of short-term administrators in the past few years. The last town administrator, Philip Smith, left in August after less than two years on the job. Before Smith was hired in September 2009, the town went seven months without an administrator, after Steven Angelo quit after just five months. Before him was interim administrator Craig Kleman, who worked on the job for about four months. Russell McCallister lasted the longest, working for about three and a half years before quitting in January 2008. But Innes said he plans to stay in the position for five to seven years before retiring. He worked for 39 years as an engineer and manager at various computer companies before being laid off. He worked part-time with children who have learning disabilities at Hampstead Middle School and only left the position to work at Town Hall. Todd Barbera, chairman of the budget and technology committees, said he knows Innes well from his time serving on committees with him. Innes said besides the constant meetings this week, he hopes to learn as much as possible about his new position. Read more at the Eagle-Tribune.

Hatfield, Massachusetts (population 2,718): Town Administrator Jeffrey Ritter is leaving to become municipal chief of the northern Worcester County town of Templeton. Ritter, who held the Hatfield job for two years, will step down on Jan. 17, according to a published report in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Hatfield Selectman Marcus Boyle told the Northampton newspaper that Ritter did “a terrific job” for the short time he managed the Hampshire County town. The departure of Ritter, which coincides with Hatfield’s annual budget-making process, marks a “significant loss” for the town, Boyle said. The Gazette said Ritter cited an easier commute among the reasons for taking the Templeton job, which is much closer to his Harvard home than Hatfield. During Ritter’s tenure, Hatfield kept up with the times by creating a town website, which the outgoing official championed as a more efficient way to reach the town’s 3,000-plus residents. The Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Memorial Town Hall, though it was unclear if the administrator position is among the topics to be discussed at the session. A meeting agenda was not immediately available online. Hired by the Board of Selectmen, the town administrator is responsible for handling Hatfield’s day-to-day affairs, including implementation of policies set by the board. The administrator also “serves as the friendly face of government,” according to the town’s website. Read more at MassLive.com.

Grand Lake, Colorado (population 629): David Hook of Flagstaff, Ariz., who was on the town’s “short list” of potential employees during the hiring process, said Grand Lake Mayor Judy Burke, is scheduled to start work in Grand Lake’s Town Hall on Feb. 27. A New Jersey native, Hook has been living in Flagstaff for about 18 years, most recently employed as a project manager for Northern Arizona University. An engineer, Hook was employed at a civil engineering firm prior to his position at NAU, but the firm closed its office due to the economy, he said. In past positions, Hook was a city engineer at two communities, Greenfield, Ind., and Noblesville, Ind., was the public works director in Douglas, Ariz., and was the town engineer and water utility director in Oro Valley, Ariz. Parents of four grown children and grandparents of two, Hook and wife Cathie are familiar with Grand Lake, having visited the area several times with Cathie’s family. Flagstaff is situated at 7,000 feet in elevation and is a mountain resort community with a nearby ski resort and pine forests. Hook fills the position left by former town manager Shane Hale, who accepted a job in Cortez on Aug. 30. Hale was employed with the town for seven years. Read more at Sky Hi Daily News.

Transitions: Anaheim, CA; Livermore, CA; Rockwall, TX

Anaheim, California (population 365,463): Anaheim’s city manager, who has served in the position for more than two years, announced on Wednesday that he was resigning. Tom Wood’s decision comes on the heels of the City Council telling him they want a management change. City spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz says in a news release that the five-member City Council met in closed session on Tuesday and told Wood the city wants to move in a different direction. Wood’s resignation will be effective starting Dec. 8 and he will be paid about $124,000 for the remaining six months on his contract. Wood, who oversees a $1.3 billion budget, said in a statement that he leaves Anaheim with a balanced budget, significant reserves and low crime rates. The Orange County Register reports that Wood also expressed frustrations in the statement. The Register writes Wood is often credited with helping expand the Anaheim resort area around Disneyland and leading the charge to bring the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim. Wood has had over 20 years experience working with Anaheim’s management team, serving as deputy city manager, assistant city manager and, ultimately, city manager. Mayor Tom Tait released a statement thanking Wood for his service with the city, but he didn’t elaborate on the reason for pushing Wood out. Read more at KPCC

City spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz says in a news release that the five-member City Council met in closed session on Tuesday and told City Manager Tom Wood the city wants to move in a different direction. Wood, who has been the city manager for more than two years, announced on Wednesday that he was resigning, effective Dec. 8. He will be paid about $124,000 for the remaining six months on his contract.
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner.

Livermore, California (population 80,968): Marc Roberts, the community development director for the City of Livermore, is scheduled to be appointed the new city manager at Monday’s city council meeting. A city report said Roberts was chosen out of 12 applicants. If the council approves the staff recommendation, Roberts would assume his new post on Jan. 3, 2012. City officials began a search for a new city manager when Linda Barton announced her retirement in September. She has served 10 years as Livermore’s city manager. Roberts has worked for the City of Livermore for 24 years. A city staff report shows how Roberts has played a key role in several projects that have helped to transform Livermore: City officials say the initial salary for the city’s manager position is $196,320. Read more at the Livermore Patch.

Rockwall, Texas (population 78,337): The city of Rockwall is looking for a new city manager now that the city council has voted its current city manager out. Rockwall City Council approved a motion to terminate City Manager Julie Couch’s contract. The council decided on the motion in a 5-to-2 vote against Couch’s employment. Couch started her career with the city in 1979 as an administrative assistant. She appointed city manager in 1993. Assistant city manager Rick Crowley has been appointed the interim city manager. The resolution will be considered at the next meeting scheduled for November 21. Read more at WFAA.

Newport, Rhode Island (population 24,672): A Montana woman could soon be moving to Newport to take over the city’s operations. The Newport City Council announced Wednesday, Nov. 9,  that Jane Howington was offered the position as the next city manager, which would be effective Jan. 9, 2012, according to a release from Mayor Stephen C. Waluk. She will be the 12th city manager of Newport and is the first woman to assume the role. Howington currently is the city manager of Kalispell, Montana, where she has worked in that role since 2009. She has also worked as the assistant city manager for operations in Dayton, Ohio, and served as city manager of Oxford, Ohio. Howington also served in municipal positions in three Massachusetts communities. Kalispell is similar to Newport in that the two cities rely on tourism, Councilor Charles Y. Duncan said. While Newport brings in tourists during the summer, Kalispell has a high winter tourist population. This past August, the city council began a nationwide search for a replacement for City Manager Edward F. Lavallee, who will retire on Dec. 31. The council’s seven-member resume-screening committee reviewed 119 applications for the position. The council interviewed six of the most qualified candidates in October, then offered Howington the position on Oct. 30 after a second round of interviews. The number of applicants says a good thing about Newport, Waluk said, since he did not know of any other city that saw more than 100 applications for city manager positions. Applicants were not just the unemployed, but many people in other jobs who wanted to relocate to Newport. Waluk said it was Howington’s experience in several cities and towns that sold her as Newport’s next city manager. Councilor Naomi Neville said she believes Howington will interarct well with Newport’s community groups. The council will vote on Howington’s employment during its Dec. 14 meeting. Read more at the Newport Patch.

Bedford, New Hampshire (population 21,203): Town Manager Russell Marcoux, a Nashua native remembered for his years as alderman and with the Nashua Jaycees, died Thursday evening at Massachusetts General Hospital after being hospitalized with bacterial meningitis, Town Council Chairman Bill Dermody said. Marcoux was hospitalized at Elliot Hospital in Manchester on Oct. 31 and transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston days later. He died there around 6 p.m. Thursday, Dermody said. He was 64. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, and the strain caused by bacteria is the most dangerous form of it, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. The Dana Foundation lists a number of ways the bacteria can be encountered, including through contaminated foods such as cheese and other dairy products. How Marcoux contracted the illness hasn’t been released, but it wasn’t believed to be contagious. Marcoux worked in the public sector for almost 30 years, with a long history of serving New England municipalities. In Nashua, Marcoux served as a Ward 4 alderman and as alderman-at-large from 1975-84. From 1984-96, he was director of administration for the Gate City. Marcoux also was president of the Greater Nashua Jaycees and president of the Nashua Association for the Elderly. He was town manager in Smithfield, R.I., a town of about 20,000, from 1999-2004 before moving on to serve as town administrator of Derry for 21⁄2 years. Marcoux also served two years as president of the New Hampshire Municipal Association. Marcoux started work as the town manager of Bedford in February 2007. Scanlon said the appreciation for Marcoux’s work showed in the care pages at the hospital where he died. Izbicki recalled the strong rapport he shared with Marcoux when he was chairman. When Marcoux was hospitalized, the Town Council appointed town finance director Crystal Dionne as interim town manager. Before learning of Marcoux’s death, Dermody said he had contacted two outfits to help the council in its search for a professional interim to replace Dionne if an interim had been needed for a longer period. Dermody said Dionne will continue serving in Marcoux’s place for now, and will likely hold the interim position into the middle of December. Dermody said the council will meet Wednesday to begin discussions on how to proceed. Marcoux was a Nashua High School graduate, and he earned a BS and an MBA in administration and finance from the former New Hampshire College, now Southern New Hampshire University. He leaves behind three grown children, grandchildren and his wife, Jeanne, who is executive director of the Nashua Senior Activity Center. Funeral arrangements haven’t been announced. Read more at the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Hutto, Texas (population 17,120): Hutto City Council members in a special called meeting Nov. 10 selected Assistant City Manager David Mitchell to serve as interim city manager effective Jan. 1. The decision was made after the council officially accepted the resignation of City Manager Ed Broussard, who will leave the city at the end of December to take the city manager’s position in Missouri City, Texas. City Council members thanked Broussard for his service and wished him luck in his future career. Mitchell received unanimous support from the council before his appointment and said he looks forward to growing in the role. Mitchell was hired as the assistant city manager in September 2009 after serving for about five years as the assistant city manager for Harker Heights. Read more at Community Impact.

Chowan County, North Carolina (population 14,793): Bertie County manager Zee Lamb was hired Thursday to become Chowan County’s manager beginning Jan. 3. Lamb plans to work through December in Bertie after 11 years on the job. Bertie County lies just across the Chowan River from Chowan County. Lamb becomes the 4th Chowan County manager since 2008. Paul Parker was fired in September after leaving the county during a hurricane emergency. Before him, Peter Rascoe left to manage Southern Shores after two years in the Chowan County job. Rascoe replaced Cliff Copeland who retired under controversy in 2008 after 29 years. When Copleland left, county officials discovered a $29 million reserve fund had been spent to augment the county budget over the years. There were no criminal charges. Chowan County has largely recovered financially but still needs to increase its reserve fund to about $5 million from just over $2 million, Lamb said. While in Bertie, Lamb helped raise that county’s reserve fund to about $6 million from $2 million, he said. The state recommends counties have a reserve fund of 25 percent of its annual budget. Lamb will earn $116,000 annually. Read more at The Virginian-Pilot.

Hugo, Minnesota (population 13,332): The Hugo City Council on Monday approved the appointment of Bryan Bear as the city’s new administrator. Bear, the community development director, has been with Hugo for more than seven years. He will replace Mike Ericson, who is resigning this month after more than a decade with the city. Ericson’s separation with the city is amicable. He said he’s pursuing other opportunities in city government. Bear’s first day as administrator will be Nov. 22. Contract details have been worked out, and as part of his agreement with the city, Bear will continue to perform his current community development duties in addition to administrative ones. Read more on the Pioneer Press.

Lake Forest Park, Minnesota (population 12,598): Lake Forest Park’s interim city administrator Bob Jean, who started Nov. 4, is looking to serve the city during a transition period to a new City Council and mayor before they hire a permanent replacement. Jean, who retired as a city manager after serving in University Place for 15 years between other West Coast and Puget Sound cities, most recently was in Gillette, Wyoming filling in on interim basis. Jean got a call from Mayor Dave Hutchinson who he served on the Association of Washington Cities board with after former city administrator David Cline told Hutchinson he was going to take the city manager’s job in Tukwila. Jean said Hutchinson asked him to focus on three things, the transition to a new City Council and mayor, managing the city under a tight budget and tough economy and helping in the recruitment of a new city administrator. Jean said he’ll be in Lake Forest Park until March if needed but if a new city administrator is hired sooner he’ll turn it over to him or her sooner. Meanwhile the contract with interim finance director Steve Nolen, may be extended at this Thursday’s Council meeting, Jean said. Jean said he’s met all of the Councilmembers and was particularly impressed with their involvement in regional government issues, making sure LFP has been represented at the regional and state level. The mayoral and Council elections show more demands for change from the voters with Mary Jane Goss, Jeff Johnson and Tom French, comfortably in front right now. The political committee LFP Gov Watch endorsed those three candidates and criticized veteran Councilmembers Dwight Thompson and Ed Sterner, who ran for mayor and Council respectively Tuesday, for voting to put the levy lid lift Prop. 1 on the ballot in Aug. 2010. Read more at the Shorline-Lake Forest Park Patch.

Maryville, Missouri (population 11,971): City Manager Matt LeCerf submitted a formal, written resignation to members of the City Council Wednesday morning and later confirmed he is leaving Maryville to accept the position of town administrator in Frederick, Colo., a northern suburb of Denver with a population of about 9,000. LeCerf, who came to Maryville in June 2006 as assistant city manager and assumed the top job a little less than a year later, was hired by the Frederick Town Board from a field of five finalists chosen out of a group of 66 initial applicants. According to the Denver Post, the board fired Town Administrator Derek Todd in May on a 4-2 vote at the conclusion of a three-hour-long “special public meeting.” Required by his contract to give a minimum of four weeks’ notice, LeCerf told the Maryville council he would like to remain on the job through Dec. 26 before leaving to begin his new duties in Frederick. As Maryville’s municipal executive, LeCerf has been responsible for administering an annual budget of around $30 million and supervising a staff of 80 full-time city employees. Though Frederick is similar in size to Maryville, LeCerf said its proximity to Denver means the community faces a different set of challenges related to anticipated rapid population growth over the next few years. While excited about the prospect of helping the city meet those challenges, LeCerf said he will miss Maryville and is proud of the strides the city has made during his administration. Chief among those, he said, was voter approval in 2008 of a half-cent capital improvements sales tax that helped finance reconstruction of portions of Main Street and 16th Street. LeCerf’s tenure also embraced joint efforts with Northwest Missouri State University and Nodaway County Economic Development to bring new industry into the area, such as the Carbolytic Materials Co. plant east of town that began operations in 2009. Other initiatives have included completion of the $2.7 million streetscape project on the courthouse square, a new storm siren system, construction of two new water towers along with various water and sewer infrastructure improvements, and the creation of five miles of paved hiking and biking trails. The 34-year-old LeCerf said he was grateful to the council, city employees and the citizens of Maryville for their support during the early stages of his career. From a personal perspective, LeCerf said he has come to appreciate Maryville as a friendly, safe, family-oriented community where he and his wife, Kate, have enjoyed raising their two young children. Mayor Ron Moss said Wednesday LeCerf’s resignation meant Maryville was “losing a very valuable individual” who has helped expand the scope of City Hall beyond treating water and paving streets. Moss said the city has not yet begun searching for a new city manager but will do so soon. He said he expected LeCerf to play a role in devising the process used to choose his successor. A native of Philadelphia, LeCerf was a community planner in Kingsland, Ga., before coming to Maryville. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in public administration from Valdosta State University in Georgia. Read more at the Maryville Daily Forum.

Charlton County, Georgia (population 10,282): A man with over 30 years experience in city and county government will be taking over as Charlton County Administrator in January. Al Crace, recently of Roswell, Georgia, was chosen by a unanimous vote of the county commissioners to replace Steve Nance, who will be retiring at the end of the year. Crace, who also has his own consulting firm, most recently served as the program and assistant city manager in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Prior to that, he worked as county manager in Jackson County, manager of the unified government in Athens-Clarke County, and city manager in Gainesville, Rome, Waycross and Alma, Georgia. Crace will begin working in Charlton County on December 1 and officially assume his duties on January 1. Crace has a Bachelors of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech and served as a second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers. Read more at the Charlton County Herald.

Yoakum, Texas (population 7,879): Kevin Coleman, of Kerrville, was hired Tuesday as the new Yoakum city manager. The city council hired him during its monthly meeting. Coleman, who will begin Dec. 12, replaces Calvin Cook, who retired in July. He said he’s enthusiastic about coming to the city. Coleman said Yoakum already has a strong group of committed leaders and he is looking forward to working with them. Mayor Annie Rodriguez said she appreciates Coleman’s enthusiasm and wealth of experience. Rodriguez and members of city council enlisted the help of public executive service company Strategic Government Resources, of Keller, and Alan Taylor, SGR senior vice president, of Georgetown, to help with the recruitment process since June. Coleman was named one of the four finalists from a pool of more than 60 applicants.Rodriguez said she would like for him to focus on economic development and growth. Al Veselka, former Yoakum city manager and current interim manager, will help Coleman transition into the position, according to the mayor. Since 2007, Coleman worked with the City of Kerrville as the director of development services. The University of Kansas graduate said he was most proud of building strong relationships between city officials, builders and members of the community. Prior to working with Kerrville, he was the executive director of the Abilene Habitat for Humanity for nine years. From 1987-90, Coleman was city manager in Dewey, Okla. and from 1986-87, was the administrative aide to the city manager in Lawrence, Kan. He will move to Yoakum with his wife, Brenda Coleman, and two daughters, Lucy and Ella Grace. Read more in the Victoria Advocate.

Orland, California (population 7,265): Gail Wingard will step in as the part-time interim manager of the city of Orland and part of his job will be to hire a permanent replacement. Orland is currently without a city manager after councilors chose not to renew the contract of Paul Poczobut. Wingard was the former city manager of Winters before retirement. He filled an interim management role in Orland many years ago, as well as in Willows and Williams. Orland’s vice mayor, Wade Elliott, said Wingard is “refreshingly direct and pleasant.” Elliott said the contract will include Wingard working 3-4 days a week, as needed, at $60 an hour. This might last up to six months. However, part of his job is to “find his replacement and put himself out of a job,” Elliott said. The goal is to find a good fit for the city of about 7,500 residents, Elliott said. Recruitment can cost tens of thousands of dollars when outside consultants are hired, he continued, so the deal struck with Wingard is quite a bargain. The contract begins Nov. 15. Read more at the Chico Enterprise-Record.

Ipswitch, Massachusetts (population 4,107): Town Manager Bob Markel, who announced last week that he’ll resign Jan. 1, said yesterday that he has accepted a new job in Kittery, Maine. A former mayor of Springfield, Markel was appointed town manager in January 2005, replacing George Howe, who had served in the post for 27 years. Last week, Markel told The Salem News that he had applied for another town manager job this fall and was offered the position, but declined to name the town until a contract was finalized. Markel sent an email to town employees late yesterday afternoon naming Kittery as his new locale. Markel’s resignation comes one year before the expiration of his contract, which selectmen negotiated and renewed this spring. Selectmen have just begun to discuss plans to search for a new town manager; Monday was the first time the board met since receiving Markel’s letter of resignation. With less than two months until Markel leaves, Selectman Bill Craft said appointing an interim town manager is a possibility. When Howe left in 2004, Selectman James Foley filled in as town manager on a volunteer basis for about five months until Markel was hired. Markel’s salary is $122,133 for the current fiscal year. Before to coming to Ipswich, he was the town manager of Norfolk and executive director of the Boston Management Consortium, a nonprofit that works to improve efficiency in city government. He served as mayor of Springfield from 1992 to 1996. Read more at The Salem News.

Ocean View, Delaware (population 1,882): The Town Council unanimously voted to terminate Town Manager Conway Gregory and appointed Finance Director Lee Burbaker as his temporary replacement. Officials say they plan to define the organization structure and job descriptions and find a new town manager. After returning from executive session, Councilman Geoff Christ read a motion saying because Gregory had given notice of his intention not to extend his employment agreement until the expiration of its term it was “in the best interest of the town to terminate the employment agreement without further delay.” Last November, citing personal and professional reasons, Gregory announced he would not extend his contract past its March 2, 2012, expiration date. Gregory’s employment will continue until Nov. 18, or 10 days from the adoption of the motion, at which time Burbaker will serve as acting town manager until someone is hired to fill the position. The termination was without cause, Mayor Gordon Wood said. Gregory said he had no comment until he sought legal advice. The decision comes on the heels of lengthy debate over the University of Delaware’s Institute of Public Administration study, which examined the town’s organizational structure, the job description of the town manager and finance director and the salaries of both positions. Many residents supported the IPA recommendations, while some council members did not. Gregory will get paid, have his health benefits and get payments into his retirement fund until March 2, Wood said. The nearly five years that Gregory has held the position have not been without controversy. Residents openly disagreed with his management of the police department, his election to a Maryland town council and his salary. He also came under fire for driving a town car to and from work to his Denton, Md., home. But Gregory said his time with the town has been productive as he eliminated the spending deficit, helped to complete drainage projects, made improvements in John West Park, and acquired more than $1.5 million in public and private grants. Resident Elaine Birkmeyer said she is happy with the decision. Resident George Pickrell said although the decision wasn’t really a shock to him, it was waste of taxpayers’ money since his contract expired in March. Read more at DelMarVaNOW.

Dillon, Colorado (population 904): After four-and-a-half years in the town’s top post, Dillon Town Manager Devin Granbery is moving on. Granbery recently accepted a position as city manager of Sheridan, a role he steps into Dec. 5. His last day with Dillon will be Dec. 2. Granbery’s family is excited to get down to the metro area — Sheridan is near Englewood — as both his and his wife’s families reside there. Granbery is proud of his time in Dillon; he’s happy with his role in the creation of the renewal authority — and its first project, the Pug Ryan’s expansion — seeing the initial phases of the marina plan underway, and the temporary sales tax to help with road reconstruction. Holland doesn’t expect a new manager to be in place for at least three months. This upcoming Tuesday, council will vote to enter into a contract with a search firm to find Granbery’s replacement, along with the terms for interim managers. Holland has suggested two to act as co-managers in Granbery’s place for the time being: treasurer Carri McDonnell and police chief Joe Wray. Before his time in Dillon, Granbery was the town administrator for Silverton. Read more at the Summit Daily.


Transitions: Hernando County, FL; Bountiful, UT; South Pasadena, CA and more

Hernando County, Florida (population 172,778): David Hamilton’s tenure as Hernando County administrator ended Tuesday morning with a vote to terminate his contract. The 3-2 vote came after county commissioners heard from a lineup of residents who were as divided as the board in their opinion of the administrator. Commission Chairman Jim Adkins and commissioners Jeff Stabins and John Druzbick voted to terminate Hamilton’s contract immediately. Hamilton left the commission chambers immediately afterward without comment. The move caps several weeks of drama over Hamilton’s future after Druzbick asked him for his resignation two weeks ago. A day later, during the Oct. 25 commission meeting, Druzbick followed up with a motion to fire Hamilton, which was seconded by Stabins, a longtime critic of the administrator. Druzbick said at the time that he had lost faith in Hamilton over a variety of issues. The most recent was Hamilton’s recommendation to switch Susan Goebel from director of transportation services to director of environmental services and give her an $8,000 raise. He said Hamilton had misled the board when he was asked why administrative services director Cheryl Marsden had not signed off on the change. Hamilton called it an oversight. In reality, Marsden was opposed to the change. On top of news that Hamilton had applied for a job as Sarasota County administrator, Druzbick said he had reached his breaking point and was ready for Hamilton to go. But after Russell and Dukes spoke in support of the administrator, Hamilton convinced the board to allow him to draw up a transition plan and stay on until the end of the year to work on ongoing projects and provide guidance for the newest members of his leadership team. That all fell apart when Hamilton’s attorney wrote a letter to the county attorney’s office last week outlining his position in making the transition. He sought the full five months of severance and benefits package that he would get if he were fired, which would cost the county nearly $90,000. Stabins called for Hamilton to be fired immediately. Adkins sought to ask Hamilton to resign at a meeting he had set for Monday. But when Adkins got to Hamilton’s office Monday morning, he found Hamilton had taken the day off and that many of his personal belongings, including his model train and his fish tank, had been removed. Hamilton, 62, lasted longer in the job than either of his two predecessors, reaching three years and nearly eight months into his five-year contract. Read more at the St. Petersburg Times.

Bountiful, Utah (population 46,299): Tom Hardy, the veteran city manager of Bountiful who has guided the Davis County city for more than three decades, announced plans Monday to step down. According to a statement from Bountiful City Hall, Hardy has been called on a religious mission by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will remain with the city until February. In a letter addressed to the mayor and city council, Hardy said he “appreciates more than words can express the opportunity to serve Bountiful City for the past 31 years.” Hardy received praise from the council in a Nov. 3 story in The Salt Lake Tribune for his handling of the city’s finances and budget. Colleagues also say Hardy was always available to the residents of Bountiful. Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune.

South Pasadena, California (population 25,619): Former assistant city manager Sergio Gonzales was appointed interim city manager of South Pasadena on November 5 replacing John Davidson who was appointed city manager of Irwindale. Gonzales served as Davidson’s assistant since December 2008. He will receive an annual salary of $143,000, a 10 percent increase from his former compensation along with benefits that he currently gets. The City Council can only appoint a permanent city manager after the elections. Council member Richard Schneider also prised [sic] the appointment of Gonzales whom he believed will contribute to the stability of the city and stay in the city for a while. The council has two options to fill the permanent position. One is to appoint someone using its own judgement or conduct a formal recruitment process. Once the firm recruits and narrows down candidates, the Council would interview the selected individuals. The Council would then give the City Attorney the authority to negotiate the terms and conditions for a formal contract. This process would take anywhere between 3 and 4 months. Some residents have raised their concerns on transparency regarding filing in the position of city manager. Others claimed that the City can save money by eliminating the position of assistant city manager. Gonzalez came to South Pasadena in 2003 as a part of the community services department. Read more at Pasadena Now.

Belmont, Massachusetts (population 24,729): A retired Brookline Town Administrator is stepping in as Belmont’s interim Town Administrator. Yesterday Belmont’s Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to appoint Richard Kelliher of West Roxbury as interim town administrator on Nov. 7. Kelliher, who has 40 years of local town government experience, will take over his part time position on Nov. 19. Kelliher brings a wealth of experience to the table, including acting as Brookline’s town administrator for 16 years. Kelliher is a faculty member at the Moakley Center for Public Management at Suffolk University and a staff associate at the Collins Center for Public Management at University of Massachusetts Boston. He has also worked as the associate director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association and the executive director of the Office of Public Service in Boston.  Before the Selectmen voted, Kelliher made a statement regarding his uncertainty of the position’s specific expectations, and he suggested he and the Selectmen discuss how he meets or falls short of their expectations in January. Selectman Angelo Firenze commented on Kelliher’s remark, explaining the relationship between the Selectmen and Kelliher works both ways. Chair Ralph Jones suggested Kelliher’s experience would prove very beneficial to the Selectmen. Kelliher said his first step in his new position will be to get to know the department heads and create a “climate of trust.” He views his position as a “continuum” of his experience with town government. Jones said the Selectmen and Assistant Town Administrator Kellie Hebert will work with Kelliher to help him focus on the structure of Belmont’s town government. Jones said the board and Kelliher may explore a charter or bylaw change to redefine the town administrator role to better suit the needs of the community. Jones hopes to present a restructured town administrator—or perhaps town manager—position at the April town meeting. Because Kelliher’s position is part time, he will have specific areas of focus, Jones said. Selectman Mark Paolillo said he viewed Kelliher as one of the best town administrators in the state. Kelliher will earn $70 per hour. Read more at Wicked Local Brookline.

Salem, Illinois (population 7,485): Salem City Manager Thomas Christie has taken a settlement offer from the city council and will resign on November 30th.  In addition to the three months severance pay included in his contract, Christie will receive an additional three months of pay for agreeing to release all claims against the city. After the council accepted the agreement without debate, City Attorney Mike Jones outlined the terms.   “He will withdraw his pending claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and release all claims under federal and state law he may have against the city.  In exchange, the city has agreed to pay the city manager a severance package consisting of his salary and benefits through May 31st, 2012,” said Jones. Christie will also be paid for half of his accumulated sick leave, amounting to about another month of salary.  Like other city employees, he’ll also be paid for unused vacation time.  As a result of those payments, Christie will continue to receive a pay check from the city through September first.  Christie estimated the value of the settlement above the terms of termination provided in his contract at about $30,000. Christie says the previously undisclosed EEO complaint is a retaliation claim.  He indicated the claim came in the aftermath of an EEO complaint filed by Economic Development Director Tracey McDaneld that is still pending. Christie confirms he has applied for other jobs as city manager, but says he hasn’t decided if he will pursue that avenue or retire.  As part of the agreement, both sides agreed not to make disparaging remarks against the other. Raymer says after the council decided they wanted to make a change in the city manager’s position more than a month ago, the attorneys worked out the details of the actual agreement. Read more at WJBD.

Lake Alfred, Florida (population 5,015): City Manager Larry Harbuck is retiring. He announced at Monday night’s City Commission meeting he will retire in January after serving the city for 15 years. Harbuck, who turned 62 on July 13, said he and his wife, Debbie, were frugal for many years so he could make his dream come true. Now, they can enjoy time at their place in Floral City and do some traveling. He said they are also planning to spend more time with their son and granddaughter. He started his career with the city as public works director and served as interim city manager in 2009, eventually being named officially to the job later that year. He is paid $78,790 a year. He said he thought his biggest accomplishment as city manager was to enable the city’s department heads to step up, make suggestions and better the operations of the city. Several of his directors agreed. City Clerk Linda Bourgeios said he had helped the city employees prosper. Amber Deaton, the city’s finance director, said Harbuck was a wonderful boss and taught her to be more effective by teaching her to be more compassionate and understanding. Harbuck is a Vietnam Army veteran who served one tour in Vietnam and two years in Germany. He used the GI bill to get an associate’s degree in business from Lakeland Business and Fashion Institute. Having worked for 16 years for the City of Auburndale, mainly in building and zoning, then code enforcement, he helped found the Polk County Association of Code Enforcement. As part of that organization, he and others developed a curriculum so all code enforcement officers can now become certified through attending the Polk State College. He left Auburndale in 1996, coming to Lake Alfred as its public works director which, he said, was really his forte. While Harbuck is looking toward a new chapter in his life, he said he hoped the city will concentrate on community development in general and downtown redevelopment over the next two years. City Commissioner Jack Dearmin, who worked with Harbuck as public works director, said Harbuck was not a micromanager and said he felt city staff is able to work well together to benefit the city. Read more at the News Chief.

Florence, Colorado (population 3,622): On Monday, Florence Mayor Paul Villagrana announced City Clerk Dori Williams will serve as the interim city manager until the council replaces Lew Quigley, who retired last week. The council set an executive session to discuss the nomination of a new city manager at the end of the meeting. Read more at the Canon City Daily Record.

November 6 – 12 is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Today’s news revolves around animal shelters in municipalities across the country.

Dallas County, Texas (population 2,368,139): Testimony is under way in the trial of a former Dallas animal shelter manager accused of animal cruelty after he ignored an employee’s pleas to rescue a cat that was stuck inside a wall. The cat eventually died. Shelter employee Kimberly Killebrew testified this morning that she asked the city’s shelter manager, Tyrone McGill, multiple times about freeing the cat stuck in the wall in May 2010. Each time, McGill, 61, told her it would be taken care of, Killebrew told jurors. When Killebrew told McGill again about the cat, she testified that they needed blueprints and that they had “protocol to follow” before rescuing the cat. The cat could be heard for more than a week meowing and scratching at the bottom of a wall near a break room and bathrooms. The cat’s meows were “real distinct, real stressed,” Killebrew said. The cat’s meows grew weaker, she said. But it was not removed until more than a week later when it died and began to smell. Dallas County prosecutors David Alex and Brandon Birmingham said in opening arguments said that McGill threatened the jobs of anyone who cut the cat out of the wall because it would be destroying city property, adding that McGill had removed ceiling tiles because he thought the cat could climb out. McGill’s attorneys did not make an opening statement. On cross examination of Killebrew, McGill’s attorney Anthony Lyons questioned her about city rules that prohibit destroying city property without permission and why she didn’t rescue the cat. Killebrew said that she couldn’t without calling to get approval and it was not within her authority to make those calls. She instead repeatedly asked McGill about removing the cat. To remove the dead cat, the city cut a hole in the wall. A photo of the wall shows the hole was not much bigger than a plate that covers an electrical outlet. McGill faces up to two years in a state jail if convicted.

Employees first heard the cat crying and scratching inside the wall on May 3, 2010. They asked McGill and other supervisors what to do about it, court record show. The following day, shelter employee Kimberly Killebrew asked McGill again about freeing the cat, and McGill said he would take care of it. Employees heard the scratching ad crying for several days. By May 8, the cat was still moving inside the wall but it no longer cried. When asked about about the cat. McGill told Killebrew that ceiling tiles had been removed to allow the cat to get out, records show. The next day, McGill said the shelter would not cut the wall to remove the cat. Only when the cat died and the stench became unbearable was the wall cut, records show. McGill “accepted responsibility and indicated he would take care of the problem and permitted the cat to die in a cruel manner,” according to court records. Read more at The Dallas Morning News.

Des Moines, Iowa (population 203,433): Des Moines streets could have fewer animal control officers and residents might be called on to take strays to shelters under one city budget cut scenario that became public on Wednesday. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa — Des Moines’ contractor for animal control and shelter services — has been asked to cut nearly $450,000 a year from its budget, according to an email the organization sent to supporters on Wednesday. That’s more than half of the $868,000 a year the city pays the rescue league to provide animal control and shelter services. Rescue league leaders say a cut that steep would leave Des Moines with no animal control officers on its streets to respond to calls about stray cats and dogs and other animal safety, neglect and welfare problems. Instead, Des Moines residents would be relied on to bring stray animals to the shelter during shorter business hours. City Manager Rick Clark said that local officials are in the early stages of trying to figure out how to fill a $7.7 million budget hole over the next two years. It is too soon to know what programs and services are at greatest risk of cuts, including animal control, he said. Animal control services come out of the Police Department’s budget. As police look for ways to reduce expenses, it makes sense to consider a range of cuts, including animal control, Clark said. An email sent Wednesday to rescue league supporters urged them to ask city leaders to make zero cuts to an “already lean animal control budget.” Tom Colvin, the league’s executive director, said he appreciates the city’s budget challenges and he is not trying to fear-monger. He wants the public to understand the implications for public safety and animal welfare if such a large budget cut becomes reality, he said. The league has provided the city with stray animal shelter services since 2005. The nonprofit humane organization took over the city’s animal control program in 2009. At the time, city officials projected the move would save about $74,000 a year. The rescue league’s three-year contract with the city expires June 30. League officials had asked for a 1.8 percent annual increase in the contract to help pay for cost of living increases for animal control personnel. City Councilwoman Christine Hensley said residents should reserve judgment until formal budget proposals are submitted to the council. In 2010, rescue league officials responded to 12,579 animal calls in Des Moines — an average of about 36 per day. Those calls ranged from cases of neglect to reports of dangerous animals running loose to calls for assistance from police. The league has begun to make headway on a lot of the animal control problems Des Moines has seen in recent years, Colvin said. The rescue league has five Des Moines animal control officers. Cutting the budget by nearly $450,000 would mean zero animal control officers, Colvin said. A cut of $300,000 would enable it to employ two officers. City and rescue league officials met on Oct. 20 to discuss the proposed budget cuts, Colvin said. When the rescue league contracted with the city in 2009 to provide animal control services, it did so to help save taxpayers money, Colvin said. Read more at The Des Moines Register.

Racine County, Wisconsin (population 195,408): All area municipalities have soundly rejected Racine’s nearly $6 million animal control startup proposal, leaving the city to provide the service on its own. Racine officials presented the $5.9 million proposal — for basic shelter startup and equipment — in late July to area municipalities after Countryside Humane Society announced last year it will no longer offer animal control services starting in 2013.  Now, a few months later, the city is left looking at an approximately $4 million startup plan on its own after other municipalities opted out. Other municipal leaders said the cost was the biggest factor in their decisions. City Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox, who is heading the animal control startup efforts, said the only option left is to build a new shelter in the city and hire appropriate staff because there are no existing shelters within city boundaries for use. Animal control services currently offered by Countryside for about $192,000 this year, which the city’s proposal would assume, include: picking up strays, handling bite cases, responding to animal emergencies, assisting police and fire, issuing municipal citations and investigating complaints and reports of abuse and neglect. To do that Bowersox said the initial startup, including the new facility, property and equipment, would be about $4 million in addition to $650,000 total operational and personnel costs annually. She emphasized those are “comprehensive” figures so there aren’t any surprises later. The 10,000-square-foot facility would only be able to handle the city’s estimated 1,318 animals annually. A 15,000-square-foot structure was originally proposed to handle the county’s estimated 2,200 animals. So if other municipalities want to bring their strays in down the line, Bowersox said, “we’d only have so much space.” Bowersox said the city is slightly behind its original timeline but hoped to still be able to begin construction in March. During a presentation to City Council members at a Committee of the Whole meeting last week, Bowersox explained the need for an animal control plan, even though state statutes don’t necessarily require it. There is no state law that municipalities need to do animal control, she said, but statutory requirements do kick in once animals are actually picked up — like keeping them for seven days in appropriate conditions. City officials say animal control is important for both animals and the public. There is an average of 150 bite cases in the city every year with animal control in place, Bowersox said Friday. If city discontinued doing animal control, she warned those cases would escalate and there would be more traffic incidents with increased strays as well as issues with feral cats, packs of dogs roaming the streets, feces and animal population control. Caledonia Village President Ron Coutts said the proposed cost, about $105,000 for the village in 2013, was the biggest deterrent. He said the village is currently in talks with Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant among others. Municipal leaders agreed cost was the biggest factor. Saying it’s still early yet, they hoped to have more definitive animal control options in 2012. Read more at The Journal Times.

Sutter County, California (population 94,737): The new Sutter County Animal Shelter could open as early as January 2013, says Yuba City City Manager Steve Jepsen. Sutter County, Yuba City and Live Oak are finalizing their joint exercise of powers agreement for a new shelter on Live Oak Boulevard this month with the goal to break ground in January and open the following year. Sutter County will consider adoption of the agreement Tuesday. Yuba City and Live Oak are expected to follow suit at their meetings the following week. Talk about the need for a new shelter has labored for years, but a renewed emphasis started this spring after a grand jury report recommended the Sheriff’s Department investigate the shelter for possible violations of state law. The jury called the shelter filthy and cited a severe rat infestation, but the department concluded in September that high rates of illness and death among animals did not reflect criminal behavior or neglect on the part of employees or management. Nearly all the facility and procedure issues identified in the grand jury report have been resolved, said Randy Cagle, assistant community services director. Dogs and cats are vaccinated upon intake, most permeable surfaces have been sealed and there are new dog kennels and new hygiene and sanitation procedures. A consultant was hired for $9,000 to examine the shelter and is expected to submit a review of the changes in the coming weeks. The cats also have new cages with partitions to improve sanitation and cleaning ease and have solid metal sides to minimize transmission of air flow and illness. On Friday, 21 cats were lounging in their six condo towers, as they are known, some perching on shelves, others curled on bedding and one enigmatically dozing in his litter box. The old cat cages are in a new trailer in a room with impermeable walls and floors that will soon house kittens. A washing machine and dryer hummed in the adjacent room as the commercial dishwasher washed dishes — all major sanitation improvements. Though the 25-year-old facility has been upgraded, it’s exciting to finally have a new one on the horizon, Cagle said. Immediate, necessary improvements to the existing shelter cost $140,000, of which $31,000 will be recaptured through improvements that can be utilized at the new location, such as the cat condos and commercial washer and dryer set. The new facility cost is capped at $4.5 million with Yuba City paying $3 million. Overhead will be limited to 10 percent and workers compensation to 5 percent of payroll. Sutter County will remain the lead agency through the design and construction of the facility, and then Yuba City will take the lead. Yuba City expects to dramatically reduce costs under its leadership, Jepsen said. The shelter’s net budget under Sutter County peaked at $1.058 million in 2009-10 and has since dropped to $884,000 this year, he said. When Yuba City is the lead agency, it is projecting an annual budget of $784,000, with changes in administrative costs and workers compensation. Overhead costs are projected at $76,000, compared to $231,000 in 2010-11 under Sutter County. Those costs were reduced by more than $100,000 for this year’s budget. Within the agreement, each agency will have a weighted vote based on funding with a major majority required to act on budget or policy issues. Yuba City will pay 66 percent of the cost of its operations for the next two years, based on the 2009 census, but there will be a future discussion about adjusting cost for time and distance traveled. The three jurisdictions have hailed the pending agreement as a testimony to government cooperation. Read more at the Appeal-Democrat.

Alameda, California (population 73,812): After 126 years, the city of Alameda is giving up the animal rescue business. Faced with a severe financial crisis, the city will hand its animal shelter to a stalwart group of volunteers, officials announced Tuesday. Several city employees who work in the shelter will lose their jobs, and the police department will halve its animal control enforcement staff. The shelter typically gets 1,400 animals per year. The changes will help the city save more than $600,000 a year – a significant chunk of the $4.4 million it needs to cut from its general fund next year. The city will pay Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter $300,000 a year to run a facility that now costs the city $935,000 annually. Volunteers will feed animals, clean cages, walk dogs and oversee adoptions and licensing. The volunteers will contract with local veterinarians and the East Bay SPCA for spay, neuter and euthanasia. Police will take calls on animal abuse, vicious animals or other animal-related complaints. Officials and volunteers said they are thrilled with the 15-year contract, which they described as a sound solution to a difficult problem. The alternative, they said, was to contract with a neighboring city for animal shelter services. The cost would be less – about $250,000 a year – but Alameda residents would have to drive to Hayward, Fremont or beyond to find a lost cat or drop off a stray dog. Alameda’s savings might be other cities’ headaches, though. Staff members at neighboring city shelters fear they may be forced to pick up the slack for Alameda’s reduced animal services. Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter said they hope to equal, and even surpass, the services the city has been providing since 1885. They plan to hire eight full- and part-time workers and rely on 100 or so volunteers to expand the shelter hours. Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Long Beach, New York (population 33,275): Animal rescue organization Rescue Ink and Long Beach City officials celebrated the opening of the Long Beach Animal Shelter on Sunday. The facility, which was closed five years ago, will now be operated by the “rebels with a cause” group of bikers who are best known from the television program of the same name on the National Geographic Channel. Rescue Ink has a $15,000 contract to run the shelter for one year, staff the facility and work in cooperation with the City’s Animal Control office. The recently rehabilitated building is located at 77 Park Place in Long Beach. Read more at the Long Beach News.

Marion County, South Carolina (population 33,062): With the possibility of losing control of the Marion County Animal Shelter staring it in the face, Paws to the Rescue took a step back from its request for increased county funding for the facility Monday. As a result, it appears the nonprofit group will continue to operate the county’s only animal shelter for at least another year. Paws to the Rescue’s request for an increase of $22,000 per year for shelter operations raised some eyebrows in the Marion County Administrative Building. Such an increase — the current budget for the shelter is just $53,000 a year — seemed beyond the means of a financially-strapped county and caused some to wonder if the county would be better off resuming control of the center itself. Marion County Administrator Tim Harper recommended just that to council last week. Faced with that prospect, however, Paws to the Rescue Excutive Director Jen Nall told a county council subcommittee Monday that the proposed increase wasn’t a requirement for her group’s ongoing participation in shelter operations. She said the rescue could live with the current funding, although it would like to see a commitment to a 3- to 5-percent increase each year in that budget. Committee members seemed pleased with Nall’s willingness to continue with what it receives, but couldn’t guarantee the increase. After hearing from Nall on Monday, Harper withdrew his recommendation and said if Paws to the Rescue is willing to continue at its current rate, he’ll recommend the county offer it a new contract through the end of the current fiscal year (June 2012). Paws to the Rescue’s current three-year contract expired last month. Paws to the Rescue took control of the shelter in October 2008 in an agreement with council to improve the care of animals at the shelter. The agreement was for Paws to the Rescue to receive $4,400 per month from the county while the county would continue to be responsible for liability, insurance and utilities of the facility. The committee said it also wants the rescue to submit an audit to the council at the beginning of a new fiscal year. After that, it will be able to ask for an increase when next year’s is drawn up instead of during the middle of a fiscal year. Nall said after the meeting she willing to accept the contract if council approves the committee’s recommendation at the full council meeting, set for Tuesday. The rescue has significantly reduced the shelter’s euthanization rate, which was at 58 percent before it took over and is now down to 29 percent. Paws to the Rescue doesn’t depend on the county alone for funding; it also accepts donations. This year, the group brought in nearly $200,000, much of it from animal lovers from far away who’d heard about the center’s many needs. The donations cover food, vaccinations, vet visits, cleaning supplies, building improvements and more. Nall estimates the annual cost of keeping the shelter running is around $250,000. Still more help could be on the way. The current drive for a countywide penny sales tax could go to help the shelter. A new shelter is one of the many items on a list of projects the new tax could help fund. A decision hasn’t been made on whether to pursue the penny tax. The tax would have a set time limit — seven years — and would require the approval of the county’s citizens through a referendum. Read more at SCNow.

Bolivar, Missouri (population 10,325): Fur is flying as a tale of two animal pounds unfolds in Bolivar. Former employees of the Bolivar City Animal Pound and volunteers with animal rescue organizations say that what once was a smooth-running operation that kept nearly all animals from being euthanized is no longer providing a humane environment for animals and making it more difficult for animals to be saved from being euthanized. But a recent inspection of the pound by the Missouri Department of Agriculture resulted in just three findings that have been corrected, and Bolivar’s city administrator said little has changed in the euthanization and adoption rates at the pound. Marion Rutledge, former manager of the pound, says she was pleased with how few animals were having to be euthanized at the city’s kill facility. The euthanization rate of animals was 2.8 percent in 2010, down from 22 percent in 2008. Using contacts at animal rescue facilities across the country, and with the help of Brenda Closser, who coordinates the transfer of pound animals to rescue organizations, 268 animals — 42 percent of those that went through the shelter in 2010 — were sent to rescue facilities or no-kill shelters.  Rutledge said what she considered to be the pound’s success started to change this spring just a few months after Michael Jones was hired as the city’s animal control officer. She and former pound employee Chris McKinney both report incidents when they say Jones abused animals at the pound and made it more difficult for them to do their jobs. The situation became much more tense for Rutledge in June when she said City Administrator Ron Mersch told her that animals should be euthanized after the required five-day holding period. Though Rutledge and Closser had been coordinating animal transfers to other shelters and rescue organizations, it is impossible to do that in five days, Rutledge said, especially when the rescue organizations are out of state. She said this did not become an issue until after Jones was hired. Mersch said that conversation about needing to euthanize some animals after five days was the result of a rising animal population at the pound. At the time, Mersch told the BH-FP that too much taxpayers’ money was being spent housing animals until they could be taken to rescue organizations. But Rutledge said the 71 animals that had been transferred to rescue organizations up to that point in the year cost the city $1,300 to care for, while euthanizing those animals would have cost $3,000, and she supplied that information to city administration. Rutledge said she was told the city could not complete paperwork for rescue organizations, though Rutledge said the only paperwork she was doing was the transfer paperwork required by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Rutledge said that then the signed paperwork the rescue organizations had to return to the pound quit arriving in the mail, and she said the mail she picked up at Bolivar City Hall had been opened — with paperwork missing. Mersch said that much of the mail that arrives at city hall is opened in the clerk’s office, to the dislike of other city employees, too. Rutledge resigned from the city in August, saying she “was not willing to work there in those circumstances.” After Rutledge’s resignation, Mersch put Jones in charge of the pound with part-time laborers to do most of the day-to-day work under Jones’ supervision. McKinney began as a part-time laborer at the pound in November 2010 and worked under Jones’ supervision for about a month before he no longer was employed by the city. He said he was fired three days after submitting a letter to Mersch with concerns he had about pound operations that could cause liability issues for the city. Read more at the Bolivar Herald-Free Press.

Delta, Colorado (population 8,915): If negotiations are successful, the City of Delta animal shelter will soon be operated by CAWS, or Citizens for Animal Welfare and Shelter. The animal welfare organization is based in the North Fork Valley. In the meantime, Delta Police Department officers are dealing with reports of vicious dogs, but there’s no animal control officer to respond to reports of loose dogs, barking animals, or nuisance cats or dogs. The animal shelter is being operated in a very limited capacity with two part-time shelter technicians. This state of affairs brought several animal lovers to the Delta City Council meeting Oct. 18. Fran Goetz questioned why the city can support the golf course, but have no funds for animal control. Instead, city officials expect animal welfare non-profits to handle stray and abandoned animals. Debbie Faulkner of Crawford said the Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary is getting “20 calls a day” from residents, with over half coming from Delta citizens. More animals are being dumped than ever before, she added. This activity is “rampant” because people seem to think they won’t get in trouble if there’s no animal control officer on the job. Both she and Goetz said the abandoned animals pose a community health risk which increases liability for the city. Chris Miller attended the meeting to invite council members to a RSVP volunteer recognition ceremony but took the opportunity to express her concerns about safety and nuisances caused by animals running at large. The decision to reduce animal control is largely due to budget constraints, Delta Police Chief Robert Thomas said shortly after the services were “drastically” curtailed in the spring. Thomas said his priority is keeping police officers on the street, a direction which has the endorsement of city manager Joe Kerby. At a budget work session preceding the city council meeting on Oct. 18, Chief Thomas expanded on animal control operations. Actual expenditures for animal control were $85,940 in 2010, and are estimated at $53,940 in 2011. With the support of CAWS, Thomas said he expects 2012 expenditures to drop even more, to $47,264. His goal is to apply the savings towards additional patrol officers. He also believes animal control demands a regional solution. CAWS proposes to assume the cost of one of the shelter’s two part-time technicians; the other will remain with the City of Delta and, after training, will enforce the city’s animal control ordinances. Hopefully the training will be completed in late November or early December, Thomas said. JoAnn Kalenak, who has been representing CAWS during the lengthy negotiations with the city, planned to make a presentation to city council Nov. 1. She said CAWS hopes to spend several months “shadowing” city staff. CAWS also needs several months to build a volunteer base, raise donations and pursue grant funds. At the Nov. 1 meeting, city council members had an opportunity to review CAWS’s budget. Read more at the Delta County Independent.

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.

Economic Development and Redevelopment: St. Petersburg, FL, Dayton, OH, Scott County, MN, and more

“We’re coming to the conclusion that less is more.”–Jackson, Michigan, City Manager Larry Shaffer

St. Petersburg, Florida (population 244,769): A former St. Petersburg housing manager had what appeared to be a conflict of interest when he hired city contractors to repair his rental properties, according to a city audit. A St. Petersburg Times investigation reported last year that Thomas de Yampert used DRM Properties in 2004 to renovate two of his rental homes in St. Pete Beach. Since 2004, DRM received $859,000 worth of loans approved by the department managed by de Yampert, who was the city’s housing rehabilitation and finance manager. The Times reported in December that at least three other contractors worked on de Yampert’s personal properties:

  • Earl Pfeiffer, a general contractor who worked on one of de Yampert’s St. Pete Beach rentals, won $575,484 in contracts.
  • J. Cerda Roofing pulled permits on de Yampert’s rentals between 2002 and 2004 and won more than $100,000 in contracts administered by de Yampert’s department.
  • Irok Construction in 2005 renovated a garage of a St. Pete Beach rental owned by de Yampert and won $649,061 in contracts awarded by the city between 2003 and 2008.

The Times‘ findings, which also showed that there were no formal bidding procedures in de Yampert’s department and little oversight of his conduct, led Mayor Bill Foster to order an audit. After months of research, city auditors confirmed the Times’ account.

De Yampert, 62, announced his resignation in November 2010, but he didn’t leave the $85,000 job until Jan. 14. He had been in charge of the city’s housing and community work for 14 years. In the Dec. 17 Times story, de Yampert said he erred in judgment, but said he had little oversight of the process that awarded the contractors city contracts. Homeowners selected the contractors, he didn’t, he said then. But the audit concluded the opposite, finding that de Yampert’s department had few internal controls and bought property without City Council approval. De Yampert’s boss, housing and community development director Joshua Johnson, wouldn’t comment on the audit. The audit recommended that in the future, Johnson provide more oversight and involvement. Read more at the St. Petersburg Times.

Dayton, Ohio (population 141,527): Officials in a southwest Ohio city hope a plan for branding the city as immigrant-friendly will help bolster a shrinking population and rejuvenate its ailing economy. City commissioners in Dayton approved what City Manager Tim Riordan said is a framework for creating a more welcoming atmosphere at a time when all segments of the population are needed to help the city grow and prosper. The hope is to entice immigrants to live in Dayton and invite others of their nationality to join them, increasing the population and establishing businesses that would create jobs in an area hurt by lost manufacturing and other employment. In a decade that included the loss of major corporate employer NCR Corp., Dayton’s population dropped by about 15 percent from roughly 166,000 in 2000 to nearly 142,000 in 2010, according to U.S Census figures. The proportion of foreign-born residents is relatively small, just under 4 percent, or about 5,000, according to a 2010 Census survey.

Some planned recommendations aimed at boosting that number include increasing interpreter services in courts, government and health care agencies; creating a neighborhood district as a center for immigrant businesses; and recruiting tutors to help with language and literacy issues. Riordan said he has received some critical e-mails — most from outside Dayton — concerned that the community-wide initiative will attract illegal immigrants, but he says the plan is not about that. Steve Salvi, founder of Ohio Jobs & Justice PAC, is critical of the plan he believes will attract illegal immigrants to Dayton and possibly other parts of the state. Salvi objects to a proposed municipal identification card for immigrants who are ineligible for other identifying documents needed to access banking, health care and other services and said only illegal immigrants would fall into that category. He also opposes the recommendation for “immigrant-friendly” law enforcement proposals limiting checks of immigration status to those suspected of serious crimes only.

City officials will review all of the recommendations to determine which ones are to be implemented as they are rolled out over several years. Immigrant Festus Nyiwo, a former attorney from Nigeria now attending an area college, welcomed the plan. Ismail Gula, a native of Libya and a part-time teacher at the University of Dayton, strongly favors recommendations that would reduce barriers to immigrant business development.

Dayton is not alone in trying to integrate immigrants into the mainstream community. The city of Columbus began an initiative in 2004 aimed at helping immigrants navigate government and other services, and officials there consider it a success. Columbus was among 20 cities recognized last year by the National League of Cities for successful efforts to integrate immigrants into their mainstream communities. Read more at Canadian Business.

Scott County, Minnesota (population 129,928): If cities and townships want to score more jobs in Scott County, local business leaders say the county better start acting more like a business. The Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE) compiled a group of local business leaders, real estate experts and others to identify strategies to further the county’s goal of securing enough employment by 2030 to support half of its labor force. The committee completed work this summer and shared its findings with local elected officials in a meeting last month.

To compete with real estate space in adjacent counties and other regions, the county needs to create and promote a consistent image and identify, as well address site availability.In the tussle for business development, the community also needs to toot its horn more, said Michele Foster, a real estate adviser who facilitated the group. A robust public-private fiber ring circles the county, but “a lot of businesses don’t know about it,” she said.Local leaders were encouraged to capitalize on the county’s strengths, which include a skilled, educated work force; open land along major transportation corridors and the availability of rail, airports and the ports of Savage. Shakopee Mayor John Schmitt said he’d put the county’s work force up against any in the country.

But the county also needs to work on its weaknesses: the perception of being “south of the river” with flooding closures, limited influence on metropolitan planning, limited higher education options, the lack of large corporate headquarters and underutilization of entertainment venues (among others).

Since each town benefits from nearby jobs, the goal of the group is for communities in the county to market their available land together, with one source for brokers to come to when they’re seeking information. Those at the meeting said local government staff must be able to deliver on their discussions with businesses without drawn-out processes.

When he meets with a company interested in coming to Savage, Stock said he knows what his council will support. Others in the room couldn’t say as much for their councils. There needs to be a collective consensus and commitment on economic development strategies and the money it may take – whether that be incentives or putting in roads and utilities necessary so land is developable, said attendees at the SCALE meeting. Read more at the Savage Pacer.

Southington, Connecticut (population 44,167): The town is urging local property owners to apply for a new state loan program designed to clean up and reclaim polluted industrial sites. Officials said they were told about the program late last month and have been reaching out to property owners who might qualify for it. A total of $25.8 million is available to businesses and property owners statewide, said Ned Moore, an economic development agent for the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Of that, $21.2 million is available in the form of low interest loans. The maximum an applicant can receive this year is $2 million. Another $4.6 million will be given out in grants; the largest single grant will be $500,000. Moore said more money will be given out next year. This loan and grant program is for brownfields, polluted former industrial sites that are either vacant or underutilized. Besides cleaning up the sites, loans or grants are also designed to spur economic development and create jobs, said Maya Loewenberger, an ombudsman for the DECD.

One project that town officials are hoping will be chosen is the planned Greenway Commons development off Center Street. A New York-based developer wants to turn the site of the former Ideal Forge Co. into condominiums. Part of the old factory complex was torn down this summer with the help of state funding. Read more at the Hartford Courant.

Pekin, Illinois (population 34,094): Roger Greer said he had just installed battery-powered smoke detectors “in every room with a bed” at the former retirement home he and his wife own. He hoped that would impress the state fire marshal administrator who inspected the building Friday. “He told me I wasted my money. They have to be hard-wired,” Greer said.

Even that upgraded fire protection, however, likely wouldn’t prevent the 16 struggling people who have come to call The Place on Prince their home for months from being forced out of the building the city has officially deemed dangerous. But, because Greer and his wife have apparently accepted that reality and have said goodbye to some of their paying house guests over the past two weeks, the city is giving those remaining until next Friday to depart. That news, delivered fresh Friday morning to some of the residents of the 21-bedroom facility at 601 Prince St., prompted smiles and hugs. One resident said she was ready to leave for a home she found in Farmington. Another named Angie, without such plans, hugged Roxy Greer, Roger’s wife and “our angel.” “I think we’re going to be here forever,” Angie told her.

“It will still take a $70- to $80,000 sprinkler system to do it,” Roxy replied. City fire department inspectors told the Greers just that last year when the couple sought to reopen the former assisted living and nursing home as a residence for homeless veterans. Still, since at least last fall they have taken in displaced people in return for what they call monthly donations of several hundred dollars that some can pay from their fixed incomes.

That was the extent of their strategy, she said, when the couple bought the former Place on Prince in April 2010. They said they didn’t know and weren’t told that, once the business previously occupying it closed and they bought it, the two-story brick structure must meet city fire codes that include building-wide sprinkler and alarm systems and wired smoke detectors. The residents they took in also didn’t know that until Sept. 16, when the city posted official notice on the building’s doors that everyone must be out by Sept. 30. Five days before then, the city council heard a dozen residents plead for a reprieve or at least more time. A day before the deadline, the city postponed the eviction and on Thursday set the new date of Oct. 14. That was earned by the Greers’ efforts to help the residents find new homes, a job that City Manager Joe Wuellner said the city has also taken up. The city has compiled a list of 17 public and private agencies and shelters which the residents can contact for help. All but two of them, however, are in Peoria or Woodford County.

Jim Walter, known to his fellow Place residents as Jammer, wasn’t impressed with the list or other housing options in Pekin. August had arrived to inspect the building Friday in response to Roger Greer’s appeal of the fire marshal’s report from the Sept. 16 inspection. Before he began, he repeated the caution Greer has heard repeatedly, that it’s the city’s fire code and its safety requirements he must meet.

“If I have to have a sprinkler system, I guess I have to,” said Roxy. When she and her husband might install it, and when the residents at Prince might reunite after next Friday, she doesn’t know. Read more at the Pekin Daily Times.

Jackson, Michigan (population 33,534): Jackson City Manager Larry Shaffer is recommending the City Council change direction and start razing vacant houses instead of rehabilitating them. Shaffer compared the growth in vacant housing — 462 homes, at last count — to the spreading of a disease. Shaffer said the city’s home values have fallen 32 percent since 2007 and are expected to fall 8 to 10 percent more next year. Property tax revenues have fallen from $7.9 million in 2007 to a projected $6.9 million this year. Compounding the problem is that nearly half of the homes in the city are not owner-occupied, he said.

Shaffer and Community Development Director Patrick Burtch said it was obvious the city was wasting money when it would buy a vacant home for $15,000, put more than $100,000 into it — as it did with one on Detroit Street — and be lucky to get back a quarter of its investment. But Shaffer and Burtch, who have been working for the city less than six months, did not want to recommend a policy change with anecdotal evidence. So, they had staff inspect the vacant homes and 1,400 empty lots, and built a database. Shaffer and Burtch estimate that it would cost more than $30 million to rehabilitate the homes and less than $5 million to raze them. Furthermore, they said reducing the supply of homes would create more demand, causing home values to stabilize or start to rise again.

Burtch and his staff, who worked weekends to complete the inspections in about two months, will present the data to the City Council on Tuesday. It will then go to the planning commission, zoning board of appeals, historic district commission and other bodies for recommendations before returning to the council for action.

Shaffer said if the council decides to change the policy, then the city will begin obtaining the homes and seek funding to demolish them. He said the city already owns some of the homes, and it will be relatively easy to get homes owned by the Jackson County Land Bank Authority and harder to get homes that are privately owned. The city could seek Community Development Block Grants to raze the homes, and form partnerships with lenders that have foreclosed on the homes to share the demolition costs, he said. Once the homes are down, the city could do landscaping and fill in curbs and sidewalks to make the lots fit better with the rest of the neighborhood and more attractive for redevelopment, he said. Read more at Michigan Live.

Windsor, Colorado (population 18,644): A proposal for an economic incentives policy was presented to the Windsor Town Board last Monday night. The proposal was explained by Stacy Johnson, the town’s business development manager. She told the board to think of the policy as a package of guidelines. The program is an incentive program offered to companies looking to expand or locate their facilities in town. Some of the incentives the board is considering to offer include waiving certain fees and taxes, an expedited permit review process and matching dollars for a training program. The focus for this first plan is on primary jobs and primary employers, Johnson said.

Town board member Kristie Melendez asked about incentives for redevelopment. Johnson said that was a great idea. Melendez was also interested in making sure the board kept in contact with the Downtown Development Authority. The board will consider the full document at a future regular session for adoption. Read more at the Windsor Beacon.

Princeton, Wisconsin (population 1,214): The lunch crowd at Once In a Blue Moon in downtown Princeton on a cool Wednesday at the end of September kept the two waitresses on duty hopping. Every table on this sun-drenched day was full, mostly with women lunching, laughing and talking. Owners Denny — in the kitchen, and Deena Ballagh — in the dining room, worked fast to keep customers fed and happy. When diners finished with their meals they browsed the retail section of the business. To all appearances, everything is good in this little spot in downtown Princeton. The downtown as a whole might not be so lucky.

Princeton, which once had a waiting list of businesses drooling for a spot to open up on Water Street, now has seven or eight empty storefronts. Sure, it still has the weekly flea market and a growing number of antique stores that bring folks in by the thousands. It still has Twister, which calls itself a lifestyle emporium, and the Pizza Factory with its award-winning pizza variations, and a number of other stores. But seven or eight vacancies in a relatively small downtown is not good.

The Ballaghs came from California in 1996 , encouraged by friends who got wind of the burgeoning Tracy Porter empire in Princeton. The home décor maven had her fledgling Stone House Farm Goods store on a main corner on Water Street and people all over (later on even Oprah became a fan of Porter’s hand-painted pretties) were beginning to take notice. John and Tracy Porter had started what became a multi-million business licensing their designs and selling women’s clothing, home décor, furnishings and jewelry. Tracy Porter was once a guest on the Oprah Show featuring young American entrepreneurs.

Mimi’s, an Italian restaurant that oozed charm across the street, was great competition, Denny said. After several years’ run, Mimi’s closed. Other retail stores followed. The Porters had long since moved to Ripon and opened a design studio there in a renovated Oddfellows Hall, and later a large retail store that lasted only a short time. More than a year ago the Porters sold their huge home and acreage near Ripon and moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., to open a swanky retail shop. They took with them Tracy Porter’s sister Robyn Mockus who had earlier taken over the old Stone House Farm Goods building in Princeton and named it georgie’s. It stands empty today, as does the Oddfellows Hall in Ripon. The Porters’ empire is gone.

Downtown troopers in Princeton such as the Ballaghs and Dennis and Kristin Galatowitsch over at Twister understand that to survive, businesses must continually reinvent themselves. The Ballaghs keep their menu varied and fresh. They added the gift shop.

Like so many others, Kristin Galatowitsch was drawn to Princeton by its charming downtown. As an attorney with an office in Wautoma in the late 1990s, she would travel from Wautoma to the courthouse in Green Lake via the back way that led her along Water Street in Princeton. Once In a Blue Moon, Stone House Farm Goods, and another now defunct shop called Henry’s caught her eye. She spoke to Maura Koutoujian at Henry’s about how she ended up in Princeton in a retail store.

The store that now holds Twister was for sale, the Galatowitsches always liked the idea of a loft apartment and the price was right. They bought it with the thought of living upstairs and renting the downstairs space. Dennis, a civil engineer, was completing a stint with AmeriCorps Visa. Even though neither of the Galatowitsches had retail experience Dennis decided to give it a go.

That was in 1999. Seven other new shops opened in downtown Princeton that year. Because the Galatowitsches live in the same building where they have their shop it is convenient and less costly than maintaining a home separately. Kristin continues with her legal work and also works in the shop. They have evolved and learned the business during the dozen or so years they’ve been at it. Other shops come and go but they stay. They sell an eclectic mix of goods including kitchen gadgets, candles, wine and beer, toys and women’s clothing. They select items for their shop that people won’t find at a mall. Kristin Galatowitsch is not discouraged by the number of store vacancies. She prefers to look at them as opportunities rather challenges. Read more at The Northwestern.

Transitions: Boynton Beach, FL; Littleton, CO; Sandusky, OH and more

Boynton Beach, Florida (population 64,281): Commissioners this week came ever-so-close to removing the “interim” from city manager Lori LaVerriere’s title. Marlene Ross and Woodrow Hay and Vice Mayor Bill Orlove voted yes. It required four. Commissioner Steven Holzman and Mayor José Rodrigez said the city should do a search, which could well come back to LaVerriere anyway. LaVerriere, who had been assistant manager since 2008, took over in June when Kurt Bressner stepped down after 11 years.

In August, City commissioners voted unanimously to bump LaVerriere’s pay from $104,828 to $140,000. Bressner had earned $168,299.

Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday for human resources director Julie Oldbury to start a search. She said it would take about three months and suggested that competency tests for 10 finalists would run about $6,500. Oldbury also said Fort Lauderdale, at Boynton Beach’s request, sent résumés from a dozen finalists for manager and she would invite those people to apply. And although the position hasn’t been advertised, about a half dozen people have inquired about it or the assistant manager’s post. Orlove said layoffs and budget cuts have left the department with low morale and he worried about continuity, not to mention the time needed for a new person to learn the job. But Rodriguez and Holzman said even if the search came back to LaVerriere, it might uncover new ideas for how to run the city. Read more at The Palm Beach Post News.

Littleton, Colorado (population 41,737): The Littleton City Council welcomed new faces to two of the city’s most integral positions during its regular meeting Oct. 4. City Manager Michael Penny was wrapping up his second day on the job with his first city council meeting. A reception was held in his honor prior to the session to officially celebrate his arrival in Littleton. He’s taking over for former City Manager Jim Woods, who retired Sept. 30 after nearly three decades with the city. Penny is a Boulder native who spent the last seven years as town manager of Frisco, a mountain town in proximity to Breckenridge, Dillon and Silverthorne. Council also appointed Assistant City Attorney Kirsten Crawford as the acting city attorney after Suzanne Staiert was fired in September. Read more at the Littleton Independent.

Sandusky, Ohio (population 25,688): A North Carolina woman will serve as Sandusky’s next City Manager. Last night, the city commissioners chose Nicole Ard to lead Sandusky. Contract negotiations will begin next week, and she’s expected to take over in mid-November. The commissioners believe she’s the first woman, and first African-American to serve as Sandusky City Manager. Ard most recently served as assistant town manager in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Read more at North Coast Now.

Los Alamos County, New Mexico (population 17,950): The Los Alamos County Council voted last night to appoint Arthur “Harry” Burgess as the new County Administrator, effective November 6. Burgess is currently the City Administrator in the City of Carlsbad, NM and was selected after an extensive public input process this summer, followed by interviews two weeks ago with the top four candidates for this top executive position at the County. The search for a new County Administrator had been underway since February when the Council hired Prothman Company, a national executive recruitment firm, to assist in the hiring process. Prothman hosted two public listening sessions in June to gather feedback about the characteristics and qualities that citizens desired to see in the next County Administrator. Working with a subcommittee of Councilors, a job description was developed and approved by the entire Council. After posting the job announcement nation-wide this summer, over 50 qualified individuals responded. The list of applicants was narrowed to the top 12 individuals last month, and in the last two weeks, it was narrowed again to the top four candidates. They traveled to Los Alamos for a public reception in Fuller Lodge on September 22nd, coupled with an entire day of interviews on September 23rd with the Council, senior management team and a panel representing residents of White Rock and Los Alamos, the local business community, the School District and the County’s largest employer, LANL.  Councilors cited Burgess’ six years of municipal government experience in Carlsbad as a big factor in their decision to offer him the top job at the County. Burgess has successfully implemented several economic development projects that have propelled Carlsbad forward since he was appointed to the position in 2005. He also has experience working with DOE officials because of the location of the nearby Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), another plus, given the strong presence of the DOE in Los Alamos and its operation of LANL. Read more on the Los Alamos County Web site.

Cocoa, Florida (population 17,140): Retiring City Manager Ric Holt will receive nearly $64,000 in paid leave and severance pay from Cocoa as part of an agreement approved by the city council. Holt is retiring to deal with a family medical issue. Under a plan unanimously approved by the council, Holt, who has been the city manager since 2000, will retire at the end of April, but will get the equivalent of six months’ worth of pay in the interim while he is on leave. The city also will pay him more than $73,000 for unused vacation and sick days. His last day was Sept. 30. Holt had been planning to continue working as city manager until April, but instead is leaving the job now to help his mother, who has a serious medical issue, he told the city council. Holt’s salary was $127,546 a year. Holt began working for Cocoa as finance director in 1991.

Vickie Pacilio, manager of Cocoa’s Office of Management and Budget, said the city is continuing a staff wage freeze for the second straight year, has a hiring freeze in place and asked its department directors to voluntarily cut back on their departmental budgets. Cocoa currently employs 418 active employees down 35 from a year ago, she said.

Under the plan for the city manager’s position the council approved, Holt was put on paid administrative leave for the time being. The council also named Deputy City Manager Brenda Fettrow as the next city manager, pending the conclusion of two sets of negotiations between City Attorney Anthony Garganese and Holt and between Garganese and Fettrow. On Monday, Fettrow officially became acting city manager. Garganese said it is possible that Holt will act as a consultant during the transition period from now until his retirement, but Holt no longer will run the city on a day-to-day basis.

A city-prepared payroll analysis of the proposal indicates that Holt will be paid:

  • $63,773 for six months of pay, in a combination of paid administrative leave and severance.
  • $51,447 for 839 hours of unused vacation pay.
  • $21,734 to $24,186 for 354 to 394 hours of unused sick leave.

After taxes are taken out, his net pay during that time period will be $104,557 to $107,198. When the city’s costs for taxes, workers’ compensation and insurance are included, Cocoa’s total cost will be $161,845 to $173,183. Read more at Florida Today.

Shorewood, Illinois (population 13,452): Shorewood has pried loose the city manager from small town Princeton, IL. Princeton City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh was offered the Shorewood village administrator job, Mayor Rick Chapman revealed on Thursday, and likely will get it during Tuesday night’s board meeting. Fiegenschuh has held down the city administrator job in Princeton for about five years, Chapman said. Fiegenschuh is leaving a town of about 7,500 in Bureau County to replace former village Administrator Kurt Carroll. Carroll resigned in April to go work for New Lenox at a heft pay raise. Carroll is reportedly getting paid $153,000. Feigenschuh’s contract calls for him to be paid $112,000, Chapman said. Feigenschuh is set to start working Nov. 14, pending the approval of the village board, Chapman said, but will be attending meeting in the meantime to get up to speed with the business of Shorewood. Village leaders retained the Deerfield firm Vorhees Associates LLC to conduct a nationwide search for Carroll’s replacement. Vorhees came up with a pool of 100 applicants. Those 100 were winnowed down to six who were interviewed by the village board in recent weeks.

A native of Nebraska, Feigenschuh graduated from Wayne State College and earned his master’s degree from the University of Nebraska. Feigenschuh said he is familiar with Shorewood after having traveled through it numerous times on his way to Chicago. Read more at Shorewood Patch.

Lake Forest Park, Washington (population 13,407): Lake Forest Park City Administrator David Cline submitted his resignation to Mayor Dave Hutchinson effective October 14, 2011 and will take the position of city administrator with the City of Tukwila. Cline, who lives in Redmond, became city adminstrator of LFP  in May 2007, after serving as the Interim/Assistant City Manager in Burien.

Cline’s tenure was marked by the worst recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression and limits on government to raise property taxes. At the direction of the mayor and council, the city budget has been cut by $2 million over the last four years and staff has been reduced by 15 percent, Cline said. By law, the city has to have a balanced budget. In August 2010, voters defeated a property tax levy lid lift for city services by a 78 to 22 percent margin. Cuts were made again, but some residents want to vote out the incumbents who agreed to put the the levy to voters in 2010.

Cline, who holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Stanford and has taught English in Indonesia and lived in Bolivia, will manage a 300-plus staff in Tukwila. He’ll also receive about a 15 percent increase in pay. Read more at the Shoreline Patch.

Red Bank, Tennessee (population 11,651): The Red Bank City Commission abruptly voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to fire City Manager Chris Dorsey. Commissioner Roberts made the motion at the end of the meeting when it appeared the session was going to be adjourned after a brief meeting. Mr. Dorsey, who has served for six years, said, “I was blindsided.”

The panel had trouble finding an interim city manager. Mayor Millard nominated Mark Mathews, the fire chief. But he declined, saying he was not qualified. He said a person with a financial background was needed. Commissioner Jeno recommended that either Ruthie Rohen, city recorder, or John Alexander, finance director, take it. Both demurred. After a citizen went to the podium and said it was a shame that none of the staff would step forward, Mr. Alexander said he would take it. Mr. Dorsey, who was recruited from Memphis, had been in the post for six years. He operated the first four years without a contract. Read more in The Chatanoogan.

Gautier, Mississippi (population 11,280): Interim City Manager Robert Ramsay said he has started the process of advertising for applicants to fill the city manager’s job. On Tuesday, the mayor and council voted 4-3 to terminate Sidney Runnels as city manager, effective immediately. Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said the advertising will be done statewide. Fortenberry said he doesn’t know how long the process will take. Ramsay, who is also city attorney, has served twice before as an interim city manager. Fortenberry said the details of the hiring process have not been made. Fortenberry said the interviews would be with the interim city manager, the council and himself. The mayor said the top candidates may be brought in for public sessions. Fortenberry said he didn’t know the pay range for the city manager, but Runnels had been paid $78,000 a year. Runnels has requested a public hearing on his termination, and that was set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ramsay said the public hearing is required if the terminated city manager requests it. Runnels was unavailable for comment Wednesday but did say earlier that he was scheduled to have a heart catheterization procedure Friday. Runnels had served as city manager since 2008. Previously he had been city manager at Grenada, economic development director for West Memphis, Ark., and mayor of Canton. Read more at GulfLive.com.

Jerome, Idaho (population 8,952): Ben Marchant is no longer Jerome’s city administrator. Marchant, the city’s administrator since 2008, gave his resignation to the Jerome City Council during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. The resignation, accepted by the council, was effective the following day. Mayor John Shine declined to comment on whether the council wanted the resignation, calling it a personnel matter. Still, Marchant’s resignation came without any apparent advance notice. Marchant said the decision was his, but declined to elaborate on what led to his departure. Marchant said he didn’t have another job lined up when he left. Before the closed-door meeting, the council received a request from Marchant that indicated he didn’t have any immediate plans to resign. Marchant had sought council approval for an estimated $3,200 so he could attend a four-day professional leadership program hosted by the International City/County Management Association in Washington, D.C. Marchant was accepted into the program after applying for it with a letter of support from the mayor. The council rejected Marchant’s request with a 2-1 vote before going into closed session, with only Councilwoman Dawn Soto supporting it. Shine said he will fill in and do the administrator’s duties until a replacement is hired. He said the council still needs to plan that hiring process. Marchant said he’s enjoyed his time working in Jerome. His career started as an intern in the city of San Diego’s mayor office. He later worked in Hoffman Estates, a Chicago suburb. He was working in Maryland Heights, a city near St. Louis., Mo., when Jerome hired him. Read more at the Magic Valley Times-News.

Freeport, Maine (population 8,357): Dale Olmstead plans to retire in April from the town manager position he’s held for 30 years. The Town Council discussed plans to replace Olmstead during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. The council will meet privately with executive “headhunters” later this month and map out a search process by mid-November. The search likely will include input from community members and will require the council to revise the town manager’s job description, which hasn’t changed since the town charter was updated in 1976. Councilors indicated that they would like to have Olmstead’s replacement on the job about a month before he leaves to promote a seamless transition. After his retirement, Olmstead and his wife, Barbara, who recently retired from a longtime admnistrative position at Bowdoin College, plan to split their time between Maine and her native Texas, where she has family. Read more at The Portland Press Herald.

Valley City, North Dakota (population 6,585): City Administrator Jon Cameron and his supporters won a bruising fight Tuesday as voters agreed to keep his job as part of city government. On Wednesday, he announced that he was resigning that post, effective Nov. 11. Cameron said he is taking a job as a city manager in the southern part of the U.S., but he declined to name the city, saying it was up to that municipality to make the decision public. Cameron said he made the decision in tandem with his wife, Joan.

Cameron said smear tactics and character assassination used by those trying to end the city administrator job were unsavory and turned philosophical arguments over good government into personal arguments and vendettas. He said the election made it clear local voters rejected those tactics. But Cameron said the contentious fighting with former Police Chief Dean Ross for much of this year also devolved into personal attacks. Cameron said he thought it was important for city government to have a clean break with those recent fights.

City Commissioner Jon Wagar said he was surprised by Cameron’s decision to resign. Wagar said after Cameron recently removed himself from contention for the Sturgis, S.D., city administrator post, and Tuesday’s election win, he expected Valley City would have Cameron’s leadership through his retirement. But he said Cameron was convinced he had become the face of the city’s recent controversies. He said no timetable has been set for hiring Cameron’s replacement. Read more at the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Indian Wells, California (population 4,958): Embattled City Manager Greg Johnson abruptly resigned Thursday after a more than three-hour, closed-door session of the City Council. Johnson took no questions after the announcement and left City Hall immediately following a brief meeting with council members. His resignation is effective Nov. 4. It is unclear whether Johnson, who earns $254,625 annually and has been with the city for 15 years, will remain at the helm in the ensuing weeks. Hours before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, Johnson schmoozed with residents, shaking hands and smiling. He has been scrutinized for calling and emailing the CEO of First Foundation Inc. after one of the bank’s employees, an Indian Wells resident, raised questions about council perks and compensation in a public meeting. Haddon Libby, former senior vice president and director of the bank’s desert region, was later fired. Bank officials have declined to comment on Libby’s dismissal, calling it a personnel matter. Johnson previously has defended his actions, saying that seeking an apology through a supervisor was “not unusual in the corporate world.”

It was standing-room-only inside the council’s chamber at Indian Wells City Hall as more than 100 residents came to watch the matter unfold. Two patrol officers, an unusual site [sic] for a regular meeting, were stationed outside. At the start of the meeting, Johnson apologized to the City Council, staff and residents but did not mention Libby by name. Documents obtained by The Desert Sun show Johnson sent increasingly aggressive emails to Scott F. Kavanaugh, Libby’s boss and the CEO of First Foundation Inc., after Libby sent a written public information request to the city specifically seeking Johnson’s compensation and pension benefits. About a half a dozen residents, including the banker’s wife, spoke before council members adjourned for a closed session to discuss Johnson’s behavior. Thursday’s meeting was punctuated with outbursts, jeers and claps from residents, who hammered the council on a free car wash issue that Libby had previously questioned. Jacqueline Bradley took elected officials to task, asking each whether he or she had received car washes. The sticking point for many wasn’t the car washes themselves, but council member’s refusal to talk about the perk. “Many of us feel that your reputation is permanently tarnished,” Bradley said. Then she added: “I hope that I’m not going to have retribution for myself personally for having the courage to address this.” The room erupted into applause.

Most residents implored the council to do something to rein in what they described as Johnson’s out-of- control behavior. Some blamed Johnson. Others the City Council.

Libby’s wife, Julia, stepped up to the podium with one question: “What is the motive?” The council sat silent. “That is a question,” Julia Libby, 52, said.

Mayor Patrick Mullany broke the silence saying he did not know or have any ill will toward her husband. “Whatever hurt it has caused you and your family we’re very sensitive to,” Mullany said, noting that his son is also searching for a job. “I apologize to your family.”

Julia Libby responded: “Why did it take you so long to feel sorry? You allowed this to happen. I’m sure (Johnson) didn’t do this by himself.”

Mullany ended the back-and-forth with: “I’m not going to take a grilling.”

Julia Libby, who has breast cancer, said she is going into the hospital today. Haddon Libby has retained an attorney and will continue his job hunt out of the area. Read more at MyDesert.com.

Update: Indian Wells has reportedly appointed Mel Windsor to the post of interim city manager. Windsor has been the director of personnel and public safety. Indian Wells City Attorney Stephen Deitsch declined to give details about the compensation package Johnson will receive upon his resignation, which is effective Nov. 4. Read more at KPSP Local 2.

Wayland, Michigan (population 4,045): Wayland city officials may have more to say later Friday about the firing of city manager Chris Yonker. The city council let him go after his annual performance review, although a number of local residents reportedly spoke on his behalf. A prepared statement gives no reason for the firing. The Wayland City Council has not yet appointed an interim manager. Read at WoodTV8.