Transitions: Sarasota County, FL; Sussex County, DE; Rancho Mirage, CA and more

Sarasota County, Florida (population 379,448): New chief administrator Randall Reid promises less polish as he prepares to take the helm of Sarasota’s $857 million-a-year county government. On Jan. 23, Reid will become the key architect of the county’s recovery from a messy scandal that highlighted ethical lapses and favoritism in how the county awarded contracts to private vendors. The problems went largely undetected for years, but when they finally surfaced, they cost the former administrator his job. Rebuilding the public’s trust is job No. 1, and Reid says it will not get done with a public relations campaign. Reid, 57, says he intends to deal with problems openly, and that he expects a certain amount of messiness to seep into the twice-monthly meetings of the Board of County Commissioners. Read more at the Herald-Tribune.

Sussex County, Delaware (population 197,145): The New Year brings new leadership to Sussex County.  Today Todd Lawson takes over as the county administrator.  Former administrator David Baker announced his retirement last January, but held on to the position through the year as it took much longer for his successor to be named.  Then Lawson spent the rest of the year learning the ropes.  Lawson is now responsible for the day to day operations of the County government – and leads a workforce of about 500.  This week’s Sussex County Council meeting could bring some changes as well as the first order of business is the council’s reorganization. Read more at WGMD.com.

Rancho Mirage, California (population 17,218): A week after City Manager Patrick Pratt announced his retirement following 33 years with the city, the City Council offered his job Thursday to the city’s director of community development. The City Council held a special closed session Thursday to discuss how to fill Pratt’s job and voted unanimously to offer the position to Randal Bynder, said City Attorney Steve Quintanilla. Pratt, 60, declined to give specific reasons for his retirement, which will take effect Feb. 3. The job is Bynder’s pending successful negotiation of a contract, which will be voted on in open session. Pratt’s current annual salary is $242,778. Mayor Dana Hobart said the council was already inclined to consider in-house candidates for the job after getting word of Pratt’s plans last week, but Thursday’s state Supreme Court decision allowing California to scrap the state’s redevelopment districts, including Rancho Mirage’s, created a new urgency. Randy Bynder graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in architecture and urban planning on a Sunday in 1986, and started working as a planning technician in Rancho Mirage the next day. Read more at MyDesert.com.

Ionia, Michigan (population 11,394): After serving as interim Ionia County Administrator since June, Stephanie Hurlbut was appointed by the Ionia County Board of Commissioners as Ionia County Administrator. Commissioners approved a two-year contract and a definition of Hurlbut’s position. Hurlbut will be taking on the role after all commissioners approved the appointment. Her role will be as administrator and also to perform the duties of the finance officer, her previous position. She will be paid for five extra hours a week to perform the finance officer role. Read more at the Sentinel-Standard.

North Bend, Oregon (population 9,695): It’s expected to be a smooth transition when North Bend City Administrator Jan Willis’ tenure as City Administrator ends, and her replacement takes over the first of the New Year.  Terrence O’Connor moves over from his City Manager position at Coquille to replace Willis. Read more at Coos Bay North Bend Oregon News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transitions: Clay County, MO; East Providence, RI; Christianburg, VA and more

Clay County, Missouri (population 221,939): Clay County commissioners praised outgoing County Administrator Alexa Barton’s professionalism, leadership and compassion during her final meeting in that role. After 10 years with Clay County, Barton is moving on to the city administrator position in Grain Valley. Charlie Barr, who has spent 24 years with the county and currently serves as director of parks, recreation and historic sites, will take on the interim administrator job until Barton’s replacement is found. Eastern Commissioner Katee Porter said Barton had accomplished a difficult task: earning Porter’s respect. Compared to Clay County, Porter said the Grain Valley job would probably be “a piece of cake.” Barton read from a statement as she said goodbye to a decade of work. Read more at The Kearney Courier.

East Providence, Rhode Island (population 47,037): Peter Graczykowski, selected candidate for East Providence city manager, has accepted a contract with the city, Mayor Bruce Rogers said in a voicemail early Wednesday afternoon. Rogers said an “agreement will be going to [Graczykowski] today” in the way of a contract. Rogers also said that Graczykowski will be providing his two-week notice to his current employer, the town of Vernon, CT, where he currently serves as human resources director and town administrator. The council chose Graczykowski after holding an executive session after its public interview of another finalist for the position. The council offered Graczykowski a contract the next day. Both sides have been in negotiations regarding salary and benefits until this morning. Read more at the East Providence Patch.

Christianburg, Virginia (population 18,841): After months of debate and some delays, Christiansburg’s appointment of a new town manager ended Tuesday night succinctly and without fireworks. The Christiansburg Town Council looked to one of its own for the hire, voting 4-2 to promote longtime assistant and current interim manager Barry Helms. Helms has been serving as interim town manager since the council asked former Town Manager Lance Terpenny to resign last year. The town received 77 applicants for the position, drawing candidates from 25 states. Springsted, a private search firm with offices in several major U.S. cities including Richmond, was hired by the council for $19,500 to assist with the hiring process. The town council met in numerous closed sessions to interview candidates before narrowing the pool down to Helms and an unnamed candidate employed in Western Virginia. An appointment had been scheduled on recent meeting agendas but was pushed back each time. Though council members have had heated exchanges throughout the process, Tuesday’s appointment lasted all of five minutes. Mayor Richard Ballengee began this portion of the meeting by reading a prepared statement, in which he lauded the town’s decision to work with Springsted on the hiring process, which he called “productive and successful.” Councilman Jim Vanhoozier moved that the council appoint Helms as the new town manager, which was seconded by Vice Mayor Mike Barber. Councilmen Henry Showalter and Cord Hall cast the “no” votes, though no discussion was offered. In previous meetings, the two have expressed wariness that other council members might already have made up their minds on Helms instead of truly validating the process. The vote passed swiftly, and the council moved on to the next agenda item without further discussion. Helms was hired as an administrative assistant in the town manager’s office 17 years ago, and was promoted to assistant town manager when Terpenny became the town manager in 1996. Terpenny served as town manager for 14 years and most recently earned a salary of about $130,000. Terms of Helms’ salary have not yet been disclosed. Tuesday night’s vote made Helms’ appointment effective immediately. Read more at the Roanoke Times.

Lamar County, Georgia (population 18,317): Robert “Bob” Zellner of the Redbone community in south Lamar County is now the county administrator. His hiring came after a brief closed session at a called meeting Sept. 13 at the county administration building. Zellner was at work two days later. His salary was set at $60,000 a year. Zellner, who worked for Lamar from 1983-89 and Upson County from 2006-07, came from his most recent job in Worth County, where he has been since 2009. During his career he has also worked in Hampton and Villa Rica. Read more at the Herald-Gazette.

Dumfries, Virginia (population 18,013): The Dumfries Town Council made Dan Taber’s position as interim town manager permanent last Tuesday. On a 5-0 vote, with Councilman Willie Toney abstaining and Councilwoman Kristin Forrester absent, the council approved a two-year contract for Taber with a yearly salary of $110,000 and no benefits. Taber retired after 37 years with the Prince William County Police Department as one of three assistant chiefs. He holds a master’s degree in public administration. In his role as Dumfries town manager, Taber said stabilizing the town’s approach to government will be one of his top priorities. Taber becomes the Dumfries ninth town manager in 17 years. Taber was hired as the town’s police chief a year ago and has received favorable comments from both citizens and council members since. About six weeks ago he was appointed interim town manager when Kim Alexander left for a manager position in Culpeper. Taber said during the time he has been interim manager, he has been exposed to issues such as zoning, procurement and contracts that he had not dealt with as police chief. Read more at InsideNoVA.com.

Sycamore, Illinois (population 17,519): How long Brian Gregory will be Sycamore’s acting city manager is unknown at this point in time, but the timetable makes no difference for the 10-year Sycamore government veteran who plans to pick up where Bill Nicklas left off. Gregory will take the reigns as city manager Oct. 1 on a temporary basis while the city council conducts a regional search for a permanent replacement. The search – which could include Gregory if he chooses to apply – will not distract the new acting manager, who said he is focused on preparing for the upcoming budget discussions for Fiscal Year 2013. Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy said the council does not want to draw out the process and is planning a “fairly brief” search process for the permanent city manager. He said discussions are ongoing among council members, but an official announcement for applicants should happen in the near future. The search comes on the heels of Nicklas’ decision to take an associate vice president position at Northern Illinois University. Nicklas will end his 13-year tenure with the city Sept. 30, when there will be a public reception in his honor at the Sycamore Center Council Chambers from 4-6 p.m. Read more at the Daily Chronicle.

Warrenton, Virginia (population 14,634): Warrenton’s new administrator, Jeff Parrott, is already calling the position a good fit, as he juggles multiple long-term projects and gets acquainted with the town. Hired last month to succeed John Freeman, who is moving, Parrott is no stranger to rural living. He was born in Roanoke Rapids and raised on a family farm in Virginia. In college, he was pursuing a degree in public administration when he heeded the call to public service with the Richmond Bureau of Police. Later, he served a tour in the Air Force as an air crew member on B-52 bombers and was an Army reservist. His subsequent work with the federal government was with the CIA, the Federal Aviation Administration and Homeland Security before he retired with 20 years of service. He was assistant county manager in Moore County for a couple of years before deciding to move to this area to be closer to family. Along the way he earned a bachelor’s degree in management and is working on his master’s. Warrenton Mayor Walter Gardner said the town is fortunate to bring in someone with Parrott’s background. Parrott is busying himself with getting to know the many aspects of his new job including the town’s budget and its people. In addition, he said he is looking at ways to make things more effective and efficient, and bring businesses to Warrenton that would thrive here. Parrott is working closely with the town’s revitalization committee on the Small Town Main Street program, which kicks off here next week, and getting ready for next month’s Harvest Market. He is also looking to capitalize on the historic nature of Warrenton as it relates to tourism and attracting new people who want to retire in a small town atmosphere. Married with four sons, Parrott lives at Lake Gaston. Read more at VANCnews.com.

Woodhaven, Michigan (population 12,875): City Administrator Kyle Tertzag has resigned. The City Council voted unanimously to accept Tertzag’s resignation and a separation agreement at the regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday. Neither the resignation letter, nor details of the separation agreement have been made public. Tertzag was not at the meeting. Mayor Patricia Odette said she wanted to thank Tertzag for his dedication to the city of Woodhaven and wishes him the best in his future endeavors. The council voted unanimously at a special meeting Aug. 22 to place Tertzag on paid leave until Tuesday’s meeting. According to city officials, Tertzag was not allowed in City Hall during the leave. A box of his belongings was removed from his office and placed behind the city clerk’s desk. His photo and biographical information were removed from the city website by the morning of Aug. 24. Deputy Police Chief Robert Harabedian told The News-Herald Newspapers the Police Department was not conducting any investigation while Tertzag was on paid leave. Odette appointed Tertzag as city administrator Dec. 1, 2009, while he was still an Allen Park councilman. He was a substitute teacher before beginning the job Dec. 2, 2009. While working in Woodhaven, Tertzag remained an Allen Park councilman until March 15, when he submitted a letter of resignation to the council. His first term on the Allen Park council began in 1995. Tertzag graduated from Saginaw Valley State University July 14 as a Michigan certified public manager. He had been taking online and evening classes for about a year. He gave a speech at the commencement ceremony last month. Odette congratulated him at a July 19 council meeting for becoming a certified public manager. Read the story on the News-Herald.

Milton, Delaware (population 2,576): Under a figurative cloud cast by an ailing state of financial affairs and legal woes, town officials announced July 25 that the next town manager in Milton would be Wilmer “Win” Abbott, the chief executive for the town of Fenwick Island. The choice fills a year-long void created by the abrupt departure of George Dickerson, the former town manager who is suing the town and the mayor and several members of the Town Council over circumstances of his suspension last September and subsequent firing earlier this year in March. For town officials, Abbott’s arrival is timely, starting his new job Friday, a day after a workshop to review a fourth draft of the town’s proposed $1.48 million fiscal-year budget for 2012 that officials are grappling to balance. The budget year starts in two weeks, Oct. 1. Abbott is modest, a salesman-turned-politician-turned-municipal servant with a head for numbers and a knack for attracting funding sources and building bridges — just what town leaders need. Most of all, he considers himself skilled at striking a delicate balance between leadership and subservience. And while he’s adept at employing tactics that pull together departments and funding sources, he’s not about to lay out a vision for Milton before his start date and a formal nod from Mayor Cliff Newlands and the six-member council. Newlands counts Abbott’s management style and knowledge of finance and politics among desired assets. The mayor would not discuss Abbott’s salary, but acknowledged that the immediate past town manager earned $70,000 a year. Abbott will supervise an accounting staff, a project coordinator who heads code enforcement and public works. To save money, Milton elected officials are leaning against filling the vacancy left by town clerk Stephanie Coulbourne who resigned in June to start a business. “We would be saving money –$62,000 for the clerk’s job,” Newlands said. Abbott became a municipal hire in 2009, after former Fenwick Island Town Manager Tony Carson moved on to do the job in Berlin. Read more at DelMarVaNOW.com.

Transitions: Who’s in and who’s out, week of September 14-21

Ann Arbor, Michigan (population 113,934): Steve Powers is starting as Ann Arbor’s new city administrator. Powers, a 49-year-old Illinois native, has a lot to learn about Ann Arbor. Things like: Green is important. Transportation doesn’t necessarily mean a vehicle. And translucent isn’t transparent enough — not to the watchdog citizens surely to scrutinize his every move. But that’s the easy stuff. Powers, who will receive a $145,000 base salary, also faces the unenviable task of trying to reconcile differences with the city’s labor unions — particularly police and fire, which have had contentious relations with the city’s current leadership. To put it simply, they saw Ann Arbor’s last city administrator, Roger Fraser, as an adversary. Coming from Marquette County, where he served as county administrator for the past 15 years, Powers has the distinct advantage of being a fresh face. Ann Arbor officials stressed during the recent search process they were looking for an administrator who could communicate well with employees, be a consensus builder and manage in an aggressive collective bargaining environment. Ann Arbor has eight collective bargaining units and close to 200 of the city’s 700-plus employees are represented by the police and fire unions.  AFSCME, the largest union, represents about 230 employees who recently agreed to major concessions that the city has been unable to get out of police and fire. To date, the city has been unable to achieve the kind of concessions it has wanted from its public safety unions, and negotiations with both police and fire are now in binding arbitration. As a result of those standstills, many jobs have been eliminated, and police and fire services have been impacted. In recent years, when city budget cuts came down and deep cuts to public safety were exacted, Fraser was seen as the guy left holding the ax. The city reduced its work force by 30 percent during his nine-year tenure and the unions weren’t happy. Not helping matters were situations like what happened in February 2010. Just three weeks after firefighters agreed to voluntary concessions that included a 4 percent reduction in compensation, which they hoped would save jobs, they were told by Fraser and his administration that six more positions than previously expected were slated to be cut. One representative of the firefighters union put it this way at the time: “That’s like doing a guy a favor and having him come back and hit you with a baseball bat.” In addition to his time in Marquette, Powers brings experience from his days in Oregon where he was an assistant county administrator responsible for human resources, labor relations, risk management and organizational development. Powers, who oversaw 240-plus employees, reports success in negotiating concessions and notes most Marquette County employees have had their pay frozen for two years. Read more at AnnArbor.com.

Centennial, Colorado (population 100,377): Dave Zelenok will fill the role of interim city manager for the city of Centennial until a permanent replacement can be found. The Centennial City Council picked Zelenok, who’s been acting city manager since Jacque Wedding-Scott announced her resignation in August. Zelenok joined the city of Centennial in 2007 as its public works director. He previously held that position for the city of Colorado Springs and was its director of transportation as well. The city of Centennial last week issued a call for an executive search firm to help find a new city manager. Read more at the Denver Business Journal.

Folsom, California (population 72,203): Evert Palmer, Folsom’s assistant city manager for the last five years, has been named city manager effective Oct. 14, replacing the outgoing Kerry Miller, Mayor Andy Morin announced Tuesday. Palmer, 51, will receive an annual salary of $201,420. His contract will be voted on by the City Council at its Sept. 27 meeting. Palmer has been with the city for more than 15 years. In addition to serving as assistant city manager, he has been director of administrative services and assistant finance/information technology director. Miller will retire in mid-October. He credited Palmer with having a “collaborative spirit” and said he is “highly skilled at creating partnerships.” Read more at the Sacramento Bee.

Davis, California (population 65,622): Davis’ new city manager, Steve Pinkerton, spent his first day on the job two weeks ago brushing up on local issues. But no amount of preparation could ready him for the marathon City Council meeting that started at 6:30 p.m. and ended nine hours later, just before daylight broke the following morning. That was his second day of work. Pinkerton’s wife, Audrey, is a partner at an environmental law firm that serves clients throughout the state. Two of their children — Daniel, 2, and Joshua, 11 — live with them in Davis. Pinkerton’s daughter, Carly, 18, is a freshman in college and son, Michael, 16, lives with Pinkerton’s ex-wife in Stockton. During the transition from serving as the city manager of Manteca, a city about 70 miles south of Davis, Pinkerton and his family alternated between commuting and staying at a hotel downtown. They have since bought a home by the North Davis greenbelt and are almost completely moved in. While Davis and Manteca have similar population sizes — 65,000 and 68,410, respectively — every city has different challenges and issues to learn about. Pinkerton, who grew up in the college town of Columbia, Mo., earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and geography from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and a master’s in economics and planning from the University of Southern California. Pinkerton, who will be paid $188,000 per year, replaces Bill Emlen as city manager. Emlen served as city manager for 4 1/2 years before accepting a position with Solano County last September. Before Pinkerton served as city manager in Manteca, he spent 13 years leading Stockton’s revitalization efforts. He also held managerial positions in the Southern California cities of Long Beach and Redondo Beach. Read more at the Davis Enterprise.

Pender County, North Carolina (population 52,217): Pender County Manager Rick Benton has announced he will retire at the end of the year.  Benton came to Pender County in August, 2008. Benton, who has spent more than 30 years working in county and city government,  told The Pender Post his decision to retire was a personal one, and he had not been asked to leave. Benton plans to continue living in Pender County.  Commissioner Jimmy Tate, who was instrumental in bringing Benton to Pender County,  praised Benton’s work. Read more at The Pender Post.

Grundy County, Illinois (population 50,063): Grundy County has hired a new county administrator but not everyone on the county board was on board. With a 15-3 vote last week Coal city resident Shawn Hamilton was hired to fill the vacated position of Dan Duffy, who left in July to fill the village administrator’s position in Minooka. Hamilton will receive a salary of $70,000, a little less than what Duffy received, and about $30,000 in benefits. Hamilton was chosen out of 22 candidates. He is a fourth-generation Grundy County resident who is also well-known in the community because of his participation on a number of boards including the Coal City School Board and the Grundy Economic Development Council. Hamilton’s financial experience includes his most recent positions as a business manager for the Center for Professional Development in Oakland, Calif., a lead manager for the U.S. Bank in Aurora, and a senior financial analyst for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. Read more at the Herald-News.

Coffee County, Alabama (population 49,948): When Rod Morgan resigned as Prattville’s financial director in January, many job opportunities existed in the Birmingham and Montgomery areas. But Morgan felt like he was being “led” home to the Enterprise area – an area with comparatively fewer opportunities for someone with his extensive education. The move has paid off, though, as Morgan was recently hired to be the Coffee County administrator. Morgan, an Enterprise native, said he and his family felt right in returning to Coffee County. The 1990 Daleville High graduate brings plenty of experience to the job. He graduated from Troy University-Dothan in 1999 with a degree in finance and in 2001 with a master’s degree in business administration. In 2004, he earned a law degree from the University of Alabama. He joined a law firm in Montgomery and mostly handled public financing cases. Through that, he developed relationships with some of Prattville’s leaders. After a few years at the law firm, Prattville’s financial director resigned, and then-mayor Jim Byard offered the job to Morgan, who accepted. In that position, Morgan mostly used his financial background, but he said his law school training aided in economic development issues, like recruiting businesses. It also helped in obtaining grants as he knew the full spectrum of the process involved. In his new job, he said the financial responsibilities are very similar, but the overall tasks are a bit broader than the ones he had in Prattville. Morgan said he plans to get a feel of the county’s finances before suggesting any ideas to the county commissioners for implementation. The learning curve may not be too steep as Morgan said he kept an eye on the local government while working in Prattville. Morgan lives in Enterprise with his wife, Christina (Yager), and daughters Kaleigh, Kinsley, Caroline and Ashley. Read more at EpriseNow.com.

Steele County, Minnesota (population 36,576): After six months on the job as Steele County Administrator, Riaz Aziz informed county commissioners in a closed door meeting Tuesday night that he will be moving on. Aziz informed department heads of his decision on Wednesday, promising to stay on board until the end of October so he can “tie up loose ends.” Aziz cited “personal and professional” reasons for the resignation, though he emphasized the driving factor was the distance between he and his family at this time. Aziz assumed the position in March, after longtime county coordinator Dave Severson retired. Read more at the Owatonna People’s Press.

Sagadahoc County, Maine (population 35,293): The Sagadahoc County Commissioners hope to hire a new administrator soon after Pam Corrigan resigned abruptly on Aug. 24. Corrigan, who started work as the county administrator for Sagadahoc County in 2007, cited emotional distress and what she viewed as an oppressive performance evaluation process as reasons for her immediate departure. Carol Grose, chairwoman of the Sagadahoc County Commissioners, said Corrigan will be missed and said that commissioners plan to advertise for a new county administrator. Salary and other details related to the position remain to be worked out, Grose said. Commissioners have not set a target date to fill the position, she said, but they hope to do so as soon as possible. In the meantime, other employees in the county’s administrative office have stepped up to share the administrator’s responsibilities. Grose said the commissioners continue to hold their meetings as usual. Read more at the Times Record.

Falmouth, Massachusetts (population 31,531): Julian Suso, the town manager of Framingham, has been offered the same job in Falmouth. By a 4-1 vote, Falmouth selectmen Monday night appointed Suso to the job pending additional background checks and successful contract negotiations. Suso’s competition for the job was fellow finalist James Boudreau, the town administrator of Norwell. In making the decision, the majority of board members expressed the belief that both men could do the job but that Suso could start contributing from day one. Bob Whritenour Jr. resigned as town administrator in Falmouth in November of 2010. Suso was selected from an initial pool of 78 applicants. A screening committee presented four candidates to selectmen and Suso and Boudreau moved on from that group. The position had an advertised annual salary of $139,000. Read more at Wicked Local Cape Cod

Sedalia, Missouri (population 21,284): After a little more than a month on the job, Sedalia City Administrator Gary Edwards said he is looking to bring an inclusive approach to managing the city that welcomes a wide range of input on the community’s direction. Edwards joined the city at the start of August, coming from Wickenburg, Ariz., where he been town administrator since 2007. But he is no stranger to Missouri or Sedalia. Before taking the job in Arizona, Edwards was manager or administrator in the Missouri cities of Moberly, Festus, Ste. Genevieve and Branson West. He has also was the chief of staff and communications director for former U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and had worked as a news director for KDRO in Sedalia. Edwards credited the work of past and current council members, mayors and city employees for building the strong reserve fund the city has set aside, which he said will be important to helping ensure that Sedalia can weather a prolonged period of national economic uncertainty. Despite economic concerns across the country, Edwards said the city has reported rising sales tax revenues so far through this fiscal year, which he cited as an indication of Sedalia’s “strong and diverse economic base.” Edwards said he plans monthly staff meetings to review expenditure and revenue performance with department leaders, and he discussed starting a performance measurement system for the city aimed at measuring the efficiency of each department. Describing his management style as inclusive and democratic, Edwards said he wanted to involve council members, city employees and members of the community to participate in determining the priorities and objectives for the city. Through his collaborative work with elected officials, city staff and residents, Edwards said he hopes to help make Sedalia a better place than it was when he arrived. Read more at the Sedalia Democrat.

Pittsburg, Kansas (population 20,233): After 45 years of service with the City of Pittsburg, interim City Manager John Van Gorden has decided to retire effective Oct. 1, 2012. Since starting as a laborer with the City on Feb. 22, 1967, Van Gorden has held various jobs within the City such as Director of Public Works, Director of Parks and Recreation, Assistant City Manager and, his latest title, interim City Manager — a position he has held on four separate occasions. Van Gorden’s latest stint as interim City Manager began four years ago with the departure of former City Manager Allen Gill. Through his four stints overseeing City operations, Van Gorden has always had the tag of “interim” attached to the title. The reason for the attachment is because Van Gorden currently lives outside the city boundaries and cannot hold the City Manager title by city ordinance. He and his wife Joye have five children between them and eight grandchildren. He said his focus after public life will be on his family. Despite the fact that his retirement is a year away, Van Gorden said that walking away from a city he has worked for 45 years will not be easy. As for the city, O’Bryan said that the search for Van Gorden’s replacement will begin soon. Read more at the Morning Sun.

Forest Lake, Minnesota (population 18,375): City of Crookston Administrator Aaron Parrish has been offered a similar job in the outer Twin Cities suburb of Forest Lake, and he told the Times today that he and his wife, Lisa, will spend the early part of this week mulling over the draft of the employment agreement. Parrish, one of a half-dozen finalists for the position in the city of around 15,000 that’s close to his roots, interviewed for the position Sept. 16-17 and, after a comprehensive process that involved Forest Lake city officials, council members and citizens, the Forest Lake Times reported over the weekend that he was the top choice in a straw poll and was subsequently offered the job. At the “step one” level in Forest Lake, Parrish would make an annual salary of $107,000. He’s paid $88,000 a year in Crookston. Parrish, city administrator in Crookston for eight years, has said that it would take a certain situation for him to pursue a career move elsewhere. Geography would play a part, he said, if it was closer to his home town. He said the search process in Forest Lake was very comprehensive and included a tour and lunch with department heads, individual interviews with the mayor and council, a meet and greet with the public and dinner with the mayor and council, all on Friday. Saturday, he interviewed separately with department heads, a community panel, the mayor and full council. The Forest Lake Times reported in its story over the weekend that Parrish wasn’t everyone’s top choice, but that Parrish scored high in just about every step of the interview process. Read more in the Crookston Times.

Chowan County, North Carolina (population 14,739): If you take Paul Parker at his word, the former Chowan County manager was absolutely clueless that he was about to lose his job the night Chowan commissioners called him into a closed session Sept. 6. Of course if that’s true, then it’s further proof that Chowan commissioners made the right call to terminate Parker’s employment after less than a year in the county’s top administrative post. Parker’s actions the week Hurricane Irene was bearing down on the Albemarle — actions that ultimately led to his firing last week — suggest someone seriously lacking a sense of what it means to be a public servant. As the Chowan Herald of Edenton recently reported, Parker decided to leave Chowan on Aug. 25 — two days before Irene made landfall on the North Carolina coast — because he wanted to keep a doctor’s appointment he had made in Wilmington weeks before the storm threatened. Parker said he had exhausted his supply of medication and needed a refill and couldn’t get one without seeing his doctor. While that decision could have been excused — it’s feasible Parker could have traveled to Wilmington, seen his doctor and returned to Chowan on Aug. 26 — what he did next wouldn’t have been acceptable of any public official paid to protect the public in a crisis, but particularly one responsible for planning and managing the emergency response for an entire community. In response to a text from the county clerk, Parker said he had no plans to return to Chowan until Aug. 29 — two days after the storm had passed over the county. Parker would later tell commissioners that he had planned to ride out the storm in Pender County, where he owns a home and where his wife still lives, because he wasn’t sure he could make it back to Chowan before Irene hit. Apparently thinking better of it, Parker decided to return to Chowan the night of Aug. 26, hours before the massive storm was scheduled to pass over the region. By then, however, Chowan commissioners had already stepped into the breach, holding a meeting in their manager’s absence to declare a state of emergency, authorize county expenditures for hurricane preparations and to plan the county’s response to Irene. Parker said commissioners treated him coolly when he got back to Chowan — he described feeling like a “popsicle” — but even then he did nothing to change what by then had become their increasingly sour judgment of his management and leadership skills. The very next morning — as Irene’s winds and rains were already beginning to punish the region — Parker missed a 6 a.m. scheduled meeting of county officials to monitor the storm. Parker’s excuse for being absent was that he couldn’t get out of his driveway — his temporary residence in Chowan was a county-owned home — because of fallen debris. Apparently it didn’t occur to him to pick up his cell phone and call any number of Chowan or Edenton officials who would have given him a ride to the meeting. Presumably, missing that meeting was the last straw. Commissioners determined that Parker’s focus was somewhere other than Chowan and that, at least right now, he wasn’t capable of making the personal sacrifices that come with being a county manager. They voted 6-1 to fire him. It obviously was a much more difficult decision than the vote margin suggests. A divided commission board had given Parker — the county’s interim manager at the time — the permanent job only last November. Parker’s obvious concern about the welfare and safety of his wife and home in Pender County with the approach of a giant storm was also a mitigating factor in what otherwise could only be viewed as irresponsible behavior. In retrospect, the three commissioners who voted against giving Parker the permanent job last November were prescient in their criticism of their four peers’ decision. They said they objected to what they considered a hasty and incomplete recruitment process. The county received 70 applications for the county’s vacant manager’s job, but none of those candidates were ever interviewed. Instead, four members of the commission board decided to hand Parker the job because it was quick — he was already in Chowan working as interim manager. At the time he arrived in Chowan, Parker was serving as assistant county manager in Pender County and had served as its interim manager several times. However, he had never actually held the title of county manager himself. Read the story at the Daily Advance.

La Marque, Texas (population 14,509): The economic development manager for the central Texas town of Live Oak will be the interim city manager for La Marque. City council members approved hiring Carol Buttler to replace Eric Gage, who is leaving the city next week to go back into the real estate business. Buttler, 57, has been the economic and community development manager for Live Oak since 2009. Before that, she spent five years as the assistant city manager and director of business and community development for Hondo. She also spent 10 years working for the city of La Porte before taking the job in Hondo. Buttler will make $3,308 per pay period (twice a month) plus a $500 monthly car allowance, according to city records. She would assume the interim city manager’s job Sept. 22, the day after Gage is set to leave. While she could be considered for the full time job, Hocking said Buttler’s hire is for now on an interim basis. The city will conduct another search for a full-time city manager, the mayor said. That search might not happen until after the May elections in which the mayor and two council positions will be up for a vote. But, should someone come along before May who fits the bill, the mayor said it is possible the council would considering hiring a full-time city manager ahead of the elections. Buttler could not be reached for comment. Read more at the Galveston County Daily News.

Ocean City, Maryland (population 7,173): Dennis Dare has retired as city manager of the town of Ocean City after four City Council members voted in closed session last week for him to retire on Sept. 9, or be fired. The council president said little to elaborate on the move, which contributed to questions from the public about the closed session vote. He did say the vote regarding Dare was not related to any improprieties, not related to Dare’s salary and not related to any business contracts or hiring connected with Dare’s work as city manager. As city manager, Dare was responsible for hiring and firing city employees, assigning contracts, ordering research and carrying out the will of the council. Dare has worked for the city for almost 30 years. When the council convened on Sept. 9, word that Dare’s career was in question drew a packed house of people calling for details about the Sept. 8 closed session. Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said he did not agree with “the new direction,” the four members of the council were touting as part of the vote for Dare’s retirement. Meehan on Wednesday sent Ocean City Today a letter to the editor, which called Dare’s dismissal “a vindictive move made without proper justification.” When the four members of the council majority moved behind the closed session doors where they voted for Dare to resign or be fired, Meehan remained seated at the dais with council members Doug Cymek and Mary Knight. Council Secretary Lloyd Martin was required to attend the closed session but he and Meehan each said, “It’s a sad day for Ocean City.” City Solicitor Guy Ayers said the council vote was legal. Dare had a contract with the city that guaranteed 120 days severance salary. While the agreement Dare accepted is a city personnel matter that cannot be fully made public, Pillas said he would receive several months of pay, his full 30-year retirement plan and any other benefits. The members of the majority said the vote regarding Dare was in line with moves they made after gaining the necessary fourth seat on the seven-member council in October. Pillas said moves that were part of that campaign to reduce city spending included lowering the starting salaries of new city employees and abolishing town committees as part of a move to seek more private sector input regarding tourism. It was during the contentious discussions about a reduced salary schedule for new hires and a revised benefit plan that the majority clashed with Dare, as well as those in the new minority who opposed the moves. The town charter requires a city manager to serve at the pleasure of the City Council. If that position is vacant, the charter stipulates that the mayor assumes the responsibility during the interim. Meehan took on his new duties as city manager during Tuesday’s work session by reading management reports. Still, Meehan said the department heads are on edge following the forced retirement of the manager who had 17 departments report to him. Knight said the council majority has some candidates in mind to become city manager and has shared the identity of one with the minority. Jim Hall said he had one candidate in mind personally, but would not specify where the candidate came from. Ashley said the majority has considered an inhouse candidate. Pillas said she is considering “about three candidates who are in house.” Read more at Ocean City Today.

Longboat Key, Florida (population 6,888) Longboat Key Town Manager Bruce St. Denis signed a separation agreement Friday, Sept. 16, officially ending his 14 years of service to the town. The agreement to depart followed the news that a majority of the seven-member Town Commission wants him out of office. Town Attorney Dave Persson said St. Denis is the exception in his longevity in the position. Several commissioners have expressed a growing collective voice that the town is facing tremendous challenges in redevelopment, fixing its pension liabilities, and affording labor contracts services and beach maintenance. Several want to see change and want a “change agent,” have decided that while St. Denis’ strengths were the right fit for the past cycle of the island, the future calls for a different skill set, and that St. Denis is just too tied to the policies and some of the problems that the board is trying to repair.  St. Denis has held the top position in the town as manager for 14 years and while he was aware of performance issues and was told on several occasions over the past six months that his job was in jeopardy, it was last Monday that St. Denis learned that five of seven commissioners — enough to terminate him according to town law — had serious performance issues. Mayor Jim Brown had asked Town Attorney David Persson a week prior to independently poll commissioners one-by-one to gauge what he sensed was growing dissatisfaction. Five — Mayor Jim Brown, Vice Mayor Dave Brenner and Commissioners Lynn Larson, Jack Duncan and Phill Younger all expressed issues with St. Denis. Commissioners Hal Lenobel and Pat Zunz did not want to see St. Denis gone, and Lenobel has verbally supported and defended St. Denis throughout the process. Persson told St. Denis the results and encouraged St. Denis to talk to each commissioner, and he did. St. Denis concluded after his discussions that a majority wanted him out of the position and that triggered his decision to voluntarily leave. Persson said the mayor was aware of performance issues and if a majority were inclined, it would allow St. Denis the opportunity to make his own decision instead of putting him through a review that would become part of his employment record. It was an attempt to humanize the process, said Persson. The terms of the town’s contact with the manager state that if St. Denis exits voluntarily, no severance is granted unless one is negotiated. If St. Denis opted not to resign, five commissioners could terminate without cause and the town would have to pay St. Denis one year’s worth of salary and benefits in a severance package that would cost about $260,000 to taxpayers. And instead of putting himself through a review process that appeared destined to end in termination, the voluntary stepping away and granting of the severance was negotiated and agreed upon Friday afternoon. The terms of the termination agreement state that St. Denis will be on call to assist the interim town manager starting Monday, Sept. 19 until Oct. 15. Within seven days following Oct. 15, the town will pay a total of $268,364.81 to St. Denis in severance in the following breakdown:

  • Twelve months base salary totaling $177,507.20.
  • $49,702.01, representing 28 percent of his base salary into his existing 401K
  • $16,507.79 for 12 months of medical premiums
  • $24,647.81 in unused vacation pay

St. Denis also agreed to not criticize the agreement or any aspect arising out of the agreement. Both the town and St. Denis also released each other from any future liability for past official acts and actions. St. Denis told Longboat Key News Friday evening that he has no regrets and that the opportunity to manage Longboat Key was the crowning event of his career. To streamline and expedite this process, the mayor has asked the town attorney to make contact and explore options for an interim town manager. Brown said it is important that the board come to a consensus as to the type of interim town manager they seek. Brown believes the interim manager can expect to be employed by the town from six to eight months while the town conducts a search for a permanent manager. Brown added that the process for selection of the permanent town manager should include development of the type of manager the commission is looking for as well as a proposed salary range. Read more at Longboat Key News.

Sturgis, South Dakota (population 6,627): Sturgis has a new city manager. Officials announced they’ve contracted Daniel Ainsle from northern California for the position. Ainsle worked as a development manager for the city of Merced, California, and will start his new post November 1. Former Sturgis City Manager David Boone resigned earlier this year after being convicted of grand theft. Read the story at KELOLAND.COM.

Salida, Colorado (population 5,274): Before the start of the special Salida City Council meeting Tuesday, Jack Lewis, city administrator, announced he would be leaving his job Oct. 5 to become city administrator in Black Hawk. Lewis has held the job in Salida since Feb. 2, 2009, and earlier worked in private business at Jackson Hole Resort. He told The Mountain Mail Wednesday Black Hawk “seems like a better fit for me at this time in my life.” Black Hawk is the No. 1 gambling city in the state, Lewis said. Lewis said if needed, he will assist in the selection process for a new Salida administrator. At the council meeting Sept. 20, council was scheduled to determine how to handle the hiring process. In the meantime, Lewis said he will remain on the Salida Natural Resource Center Development Corporation board, until council makes a decision to “kick him off or keep him on.” He said he would like to stay on the board, but it might depend upon the time commitment. Lewis said he will “absolutely” miss Salida, but plans to “check in” periodically. Read more at the Mountain Mail.

Basehor, Kansas(population 4,613): The Basehor City Council voted Monday night to oust city administrator Mark Loughry from his position, in a split decision that led one council member to storm out of the building. Four months after unanimously re-appointing Loughry as the city administrator, the council voted, 3-2, to remove his appointment after council president Dennis Mertz’s motion to do so. Along with Mertz, members Fred Box and Iris Dysart voted to remove Loughry, and members David Breuer and Travis Miles voted against the motion. Soon after the vote was taken, Breuer stood up, threw a packet of papers across the council’s table against a wall, and walked out of Basehor City Hall. The council voted to adjourn the meeting quickly afterward. Loughry was absent from Monday’s meeting. Mayor Terry Hill said he was on vacation with his family. Hill said he had asked city attorney Shannon Marcano to look into the possibility of a veto or another measure to undo the vote. The council voted to remove Loughry after addressing its final agenda item for the night, a proposed addendum to Loughry’s employment agreement with the city. The addendum stated that Loughry would “receive the same cost of living increase as other City employees” and that the city would pay 100 percent of health insurance premiums for Loughry and his family. Marcano said the proposed addendum was meant to formalize the pay and benefits that Loughry’s contract originally “anticipated.” After a vote to deny the addendum to Loughry’s contract (3-2, with Breuer and Miles opposing), Mertz made his motion to remove Loughry from the administrator position. After a discussion between Mertz and Marcano regarding whether the material should be discussed in open session, the council voted on the issue with no further explanation.

Update:

Oconto City, Wisconsin (population 4,513): City Administrator Linda Belongia died last Wednesday after a 15-month battle with cancer. She was 56. Belongia served the city for nearly a quarter century. Belongia became clerk-treasurer in May 1988 and was re-elected to that job until 2006. The council at that time decided to make the post an appointed one, along with adding duties of city administrator. Services for Belongia were held Monday.

Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona (population 3,894): Dewey-Humboldt is back to square one in getting a new town manager in place after Garrett Earls informed council members this past week that he was withdrawing his acceptance of the job – again. Earls interviewed for the position in mid-April, along with three other finalists. Earls withdrew his name from the pool of town manager candidates on April 27, and promptly withdrew his withdrawal on the same day. At a May 26 meeting, the council voted 6-1 to offer the position to Earls. In the event negotiations fell through, the council voted to offer the position to Yvonne Kimball. Former councilman David Nystrom explained his ‘nay’ vote at that meeting, saying Earls had no formal training for the town manager position in Williamstown, population 3,215, which has no zoning requirements. On June 10, Earls signed a job offer from Mayor Terry Nolan, agreeing to a start date of Aug. 13 and an annual salary of $67,000. At a Sept. 7 town council meeting, the council members went into executive session for legal advice from Town Attorney Susan Goodwin regarding a communication from Earls. Nolan and the council cannot discuss publicly what happens in executive session. When council resumed the open session, Nolan announced that Earls, former town manager of Williamstown, Vt., had withdrawn his application, citing personal issues as the reason. Earls’ letter also expressed concern over the town’s requirements for fingerprinting, background check, drug and alcohol screening, and a 12-month probationary period. The town’s Administrative Regulation 10-07(6.2) requires a drug and alcohol screening within 24 hours of an offer of employment. Mayor Terry Nolan confirmed that Earls never complied with the drug and alcohol screening requirement. The council has directed Goodwin to contact Yvonne Kimball and determine if she is still available and interested in the town manager’s job and, if so, to begin negotiations. Read more at the Daily Courier.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (population 3,722): More than six months after a divided Carmel City Council agreed to oust embattled City Administrator Rich Guillen, the council voted unanimously tonight to hire a new city administrator. Jason Stilwell, currently serving as assistant county executive officer/budget director of Santa Barbara County, will assume the role Sept. 28. There were 128 applicants for the job, and Sacramento-based search firm Peckham and McKenney weeded through resumes and recruited candidates, ultimately bringing in seven for interviews. The council discussed the prospective hire in closed session, and invited several representatives of community groups to meet and review a few candidates. The city paid Peckham and McKenney $16,500 for the search. Stilwell’s three-year contract sets a $176,500 annual salary; he’ll also receive $15,000 toward moving expenses. Read more at the Monterey County Weekly.

Gold Beach, Oregon (population 2,253): With Ellen Barnes leaving in mid-October to take a position as Molalla city manager, the Gold Beach City Council set about Monday to discuss a replacement. They did not have to look far. Sitting across from them was Barnes’ loyal assistant, city planner and city recorder, Jodi Fritts. Little did Fritts know that a few questions posed by the Council about whether to spend $6,000 for the League of Oregon Cities to perform a search for Barnes’ replacement would turn into a full-blown interview at a public meeting. Fritts apparently passed the interview with flying colors because a short time later the City Council voted unanimously to name Fritts as Barnes replacement. An executive session will be held to discuss Fritts’ salary and an employment contract. Barnes endorsed Fritts and also noted there is a network of city administrators throughout the state willing to assist her at any time. Fritts started out being an utilities administrator for the City and then the bookkeeper under Shirley Walker. She eventually left the City to work for Curry County in its planning department. At one time she was the planning director for the County. Fritts returned to the City a few years ago and has been Barnes assistant concentrating on planning, and the IT financial system conversion. A key consideration for the City Council was hiring someone as City Administrator who was committed to staying in Gold Beach. Barnes lasted two years and former police chief P.J. Janik lasted even less than two years. Fritts graduated from Gold Beach High School, and raised her children in Gold Beach. As she said, she’s not going anywhere.  Barnes will honor her contract with the stipulation she provides 45-day notice before leaving her position. Her last official day will be October 21, although she told the City Council Monday that she will take some vacation so that she will actually be leaving the City in mid-October. Barnes was one of four candidates picked from a pool of 42 applicants for the Molalla City Manager position, and on September 6 was hired from the pool of the four finalists. According to Gold Beach Mayor Jim Wernicke, Barnes had notified him and the majority of the Gold Beach City Council that she would be pursuing a position elsewhere. Barnes utilized a ‘head-hunting’ service through the League of Oregon Cities to find a job that would fit the skills of Barnes. The City of Gold Beach has a tumultuous history with keeping the City Administrator position filled, with a high turnover rate and long periods of the position remaining vacant, but Wernicke says this time is not part of that checkered past. Read more at the Curry County Reporter.

Veazie, Maine (population 1,937): The Town Council voted Monday to enter negotiations with a retired Holden town manager to fill the vacant Veazie manager’s seat on a temporary basis. Councilors voted 4-1 to speak with former Holden Town Manager Larry Varisco about the possibility of him working as town manager two or three days per week while the town fields applications to fill the position in the long term. The council voted not to renew former Town Manager Bill Reed’s contract at a meeting on Sept. 12. Reed’s contract stipulated that the town would need to give him a month’s pay for each of his 18 years as manager if they voted to terminate his contract. His severance package totals more than $100,000. Council Chairman Joseph Friedman said he was interested in picking a temporary replacement from a crop of former managers including Varisco; Sue Lessard, who has resigned as Hampden’s town manager; and former Castine and Belfast town manager Terry St. Peter. The temporary position would last until the town finds its next manager, a task that Friedman estimated would take about eight weeks. Friedman said he leaned toward Varisco after the former Holden manager expressed interest in helping Veazie with its transition during a recent phone call.  Next week, the council will discuss whether it wants to conduct the search for a long-term manager itself or hire an outside group, such as Eaton Peabody Consulting or Maine Municipal Association, to advertise the opening and sift through applicants. Friedman said he felt Veazie could handle the search on its own and shouldn’t need to pay money for someone else to do the work, but the council would discuss all its options next week. Read more at the Bangor Daily News.

Dewey Beach, Delaware (population 341): Dewey Beach Town Manager Diana Smith will no longer be a staple at town hall or take her seat at the middle of the council table at commissioners’ monthly meetings. At a Sept. 9 meeting, Dewey Beach Town Council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Diane Hanson to accept Smith’s resignation, effective immediately. After the vote, Hanson and Commissioner Jim Laird would only say the issue was resolved confidentially. Smith did not attend the meeting or return calls for comment. Her town hall email has been disabled. Commissioner Rick Solloway said in an email potential litigation played a role in the decision to let Smith go. Solloway said he recommended council vote to keep Smith on for a 30-day transition period, but he said the majority of commissioners voted against the idea. Smith sent an Aug. 22 letter to commissioners, requesting termination from her employment because, she said, certain council members micromanaged her official duties. Smith wrote a May 19 email to town attorney Glenn Mandalas, saying she had a right to terminate her employment agreement for good reason, meaning she would collect a severance package of half her annual salary. Smith was hired Feb. 1, 2010, with a starting salary of $70,000. Council voted 3-2 to appoint Mark Allen as interim town manager until council hires a permanent replacement. Allen holds a master’s degree in business administration from Penn State. He said his 25-year career as a naval officer and his own company, a motor sports firm, have given him the leadership skills needed to help the town through the transition. He said his own company, Mark Allen Racing, gave him valuable experience in finance. According to Commissioner Zeke Przygocki, Allen was one of two residents who sent resumes to town hall to apply for the temporary position. Solloway said he believes Allen will work hard to allow a smooth transition. Hanson and Commissioner Marty Seitz opposed Allen’s appointment. Hanson said in an email it served no purpose to explain her vote. Town council unanimously voted Sept. 2 to put commissioners Jim Laird and Marty Seitz in charge of creating a committee to search for a new town manager. Laird and Seitz are the only members of council who are not up for re-election. Betty Laird was appointed chairwoman of the town manager search committee. Laird is chairwoman of the policy committee and wife of Commissioner Jim Laird, who abstained from the vote to appoint her. Laird was chairwoman of the search committee that ended in the hiring of Smith. Read more at the Cape Gazette.