November 6 – 12 is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transistions: Riverside County, CA; Polk County, IA; North Las Vegas, NV and more

Riverside County, California (population 2,189,641): Riverside County Executive Officer Bill Luna is resigning his position as the top county administrator effective Oct. 4, county officials announced Thursday. Luna notified the County Board of Supervisors of his resignation on Sept. 15, and it was officially accepted Thursday. No reason was given for his decision. Former Executive Officer Larry Parrish will serve as the interim chief executive until a successor is found. Luna took over for Parrish in 2008, helping guide the county with its $4.7-billion budget through a recession that has been especially harsh in the Inland Empire. Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Polk County, Iowa (population 430,640): Newly hired Polk County Administrator David Jones is scheduled to start on Oct. 12, county officials said this week. Jones comes via Tazewell County, Ill., where he has served as county administrator and managed a yearly budget of $56 million. He has worked for Tazewell County – population 135,394 – since 2006. He previously spent six years as an assistant to the city manager in Cleveland, Tenn. In Polk County, Jones will help oversee a $242.5 million annual budget in Iowa’s most populous county. He will also help make key decisions on how the county will weather lower property valuations that could cost several million dollars a year in lost revenue. County supervisors voted to hire Jones in late July. Jones’ annual base salary will be $155,000. He will also receive a vehicle allowance equal to $3,600 a year and annual deferred compensation payments equal to 5 percent of his salary, or $7,750. Supervisors have also agreed to pay Jones $12,000 for relocation costs. The Polk County job opened in April when former county administrator Ron Olson resigned to become city manager in Corpus Christi, Texas. Read at the DesMoins Register.

North Las Vegas, Nevada (population 177,426): After several key employees, including the city attorney and acting city manager, left this summer, North Las Vegas is adding a crucial member to its team: a new city manager. In a 4-1 vote, the City Council on Wednesday night ratified the appointment of Timothy Hacker. He starts next week. Hacker, the former city manager of Mesquite, was the only candidate considered for the position. Hacker will receive a $180,000 annual salary, plus benefits. His contract includes a six-month severance package if he is released without cause.  On why he was suddenly fired from Mesquite: I was surprised. It was a 3-2 vote of the council. Two of them talked to me about it and the three who voted for it never spoke to me about it. I was an at-will employee and the average city manager serves for three to five years. When you get over five years, you take some satisfaction. I don’t want to speculate, but the tough economic times just caught up with the mayor and City Council and they chose to release me.” Read more at the Las Vegas Sun.

Woodland, California: (population 57,080): 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 on The Reporter.

Lincoln Park, Michigan (population 36,248): City Manager Steve Duchane is leaving his job with the city. Duchane said today he accepted a position in Eastpointe and will likely leave the city in late October. Duchane has been the city’s chief administrator for seven years. Duchane will have a base salary of $105,000 and will receive $4,600 in lieu of medical benefits with an annual deferred compensation package worth $6,400. He is paid $102,500 in his current position. Duchane has been the focal point of controversy during his nearly 30 years of public service. He was fired in 2003 as city manager in Sterling Heights for falsely stating that he had a bachelor’s degree on his resume. He went on to obtain a bachelor’s in community development and public administration and a master’s in public administration from Central Michigan University. Duchane assisted in numerous collaborative projects with Allen Park, Wyandotte, and Southgate. He said he’d like to finish some of those projects before he leaves, including getting Allen Park to join the Downriver Central Dispatch in Wyandotte, which Lincoln Park and Southgate are members of. With Duchane leaving, city officials must decide whether they will hire another city manager, or go a different route. Councilman Thomas Murphy has said he doesn’t like the idea of a city manager while Mayor Frank Vaslo has said without one, the city could fall back into (a financial) hole. Duchane said he will help the city in whatever way he can in replacing him. Duchane has played a key role in several collaborative projects Downriver, Vaslo said, and he is a little worried that some of them may fall through without Duchane. Valso said it is important for the city to fill the void as quickly as possible. Read more at the News-Herald.

Clearlake, California (population 17,723): The Clearlake City Council voted at its Thursday evening meeting to appoint a new interim city administrator. Joan Phillipe, currently interim general manager for the Foresthill Public Utility District in Foresthill Calif. – located in Placer County – received a 4-0 vote from the council to fill the spot on an interim basis. Council member Judy Thein was absent for the vote. After discussing the appointment in a closed session that occurred immediately before the regular meeting, the council voted on the contract in open session. Bob Galusha, the city’s engineer and current interim city administrator, explained that in February, while Steve Albright was serving as interim city administrator, the city began a recruitment process to find a permanent candidate for the position, which hasn’t been filled on a full-time, permanent basis since Dale Neiman left last November. The city went through an extensive recruitment process, and in June had announced that Canadian Tully Clifford had accepted the job. However, Clifford withdrew later in June, as Lake County News has reported. Galusha said that in August the city began its second recruitment process, seeking a new city administrator either on an interim or permanent basis. He said they interviewed five candidates, three of whom were interested in the position both in an interim or permanent capacity. Phillipe was one of those three also interested in taking on the job permanently, Galusha said. After interviewing and ranking the candidates, the council directed Galusha to negotiate an employment contract with the top applicant – Phillipe, Galusha explained. Galusha said the interim contract was for six months, with an evaluation of Phillipe set to take place three months into the contract. If, at that point, it’s decided that it’s a good fit both for Phillipe and the council, “You could renegotiate the contract and do a permanent contract,” Galusha said. He said that Phillipe has a significant amount of experience in small towns, including time as city manager in the cities of Colusa, Colfax and Loomis. She also formerly served as executive director at the California State Sheriffs Association in West Sacramento, Galusha said. The contract that Galusha presented to the council proposed $65 an hour, or $11,267 per month plus benefits. Because Phillipe has been a past employee in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the contract calls for the city to provide a portion of her PERS contribution, which is 12.3 percent of the $65 hourly rate. In addition, the city will give Phillipe a monthly housing allowance of up to $2,000, Galusha said. Altogether, the total cost is less than what has been budgeted for the city administrator position in the 2011-12 budget, said Galusha, who added that there will be a savings since the city administrator position will have been empty for the first four months of the fiscal year by the time Phillipe arrives. Galusha said Phillipe will report for work on Oct. 24. He said she currently is training a new general manager at Foresthill. He added that city staff recommended the council approve the contract. In response to questions from community members, Galusha and council members said Phillipe had a strong record that included experience with redevelopment. Read more at Lake County News.

Gilchrist County, Florida (population 16,939): A longtime county administrator is leaving. The Gilchrist County Commission voted three to two late today to fire Ron McQueen, effective immediately. He’s been with Gilchrist County for 17 years. Commissioner Randy Durden says McQueen had an unsatisfactory job evaluation about a month ago…and some commissioners remain unhappy with his performance. A special meeting to decide how to replace McQueen has been called for a week from today at 4pm. Read more at WCJB-TV.

Madison County, Virginia (population 13,308): Madison County Administrator Lisa Robertson is resigning.  Robertson says she’s going back to practicing law. The Madison County native has been the administrator since 2006. There is no word yet on who might replace Robertson and when that spot will be filled. Read at NBC29.com.

Lake Elmo, Minnesota (population 7,328): Bruce Messelt is trading in the city for a county. Messelt, Lake Elmo’s city administrator since September 2009, is leaving that post to become county administrator for Chisago County. The Chisago County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Messelt’s employment contract Wednesday. The county started its hiring process in July and Messelt was selected from 77 applicants. Messelt has more than 20 years of public and non-profit management experience, including work with the U.S. Department of Defense, the city of Tucson, Ariz., and Minnesota cities Moorhead and Lake Elmo. Messelt, a native Minnesotan and graduate of Concordia College and the University of Minnesota, is scheduled to start work Nov. 1 with Chisago County. Lake Elmo will hold a special meeting Sept. 27 to discuss the city’s plan to fill Messelt’s position. Johnston said the council will most likely request a list from the League of Minnesota Cities of people interested in filling in as the interim city administrator. Johnston said he hopes to have an interim city administrator in place by the time Messelt’s 30-day notice is up. The city council will decide if the city will conduct a search for a new city administrator itself or if it will hire a search firm, Johnston said. Read more at the Stillwater Gazette.

Lampasas, Texas (population 6,330): Pending the City Council’s negotiation of an agreement, an interim city manager could be hired Monday. A council member found Ron Wilde, a Cedar Park resident, online with Municipal Solutions, a nationwide staffing firm that helps city governments locate city managers and other personnel, Mayor Jerry Grayson said. The council selected Wilde out of a pool of three possible interim candidates. Grayson said he sees no reason for Wilde’s contract not to be finalized Monday. Grayson said Wilde previously worked in cities in Kansas and Washington. Wilde has a master’s degree in public administration, Grayson said. He also has experience managing a city with its own electricity distribution center, like Lampasas.  As the interim city manager, Wilde would run the day-to-day operations of the city, Grayson said. If the council approves the agreement for Wilde, he will begin work Oct. 10, said Stacy Brack, city secretary. Wilde could be contracted to work anywhere between six and 12 months, according to estimates by Brack and Grayson, until a permanent candidate can be found. The city is still searching for a full-time city manager since former City Manager Michael Stoldt was fired in late August. A job ad on the Texas Municipal League website states the position requires a bachelor’s degree in business, public administration or a related field, though a master’s degree is preferred, and at least 10 years of experience as a city manager or assistant city manager, including experience working in a city with an electric utility. Read more at the Killeen Daily Herald.

Stanwood, Washington (population 6,231): Former longtime Marysville city administrator Mary Swenson plans to attend her first Stanwood City Council meeting tonight as the temporary city administrator for Stanwood. Swenson is set to work 16 hours a week at a rate of $70 an hour. Her work will include moving the city through its upcoming budget process and labor negotiations, and the search for additional fire-fighting help. A contract employee with Prothman, a Seattle headhunting firm, Swenson plans to be on the job until Dec. 31 or until the city runs out of the $22,000 set aside for her work. For more than a year, Stanwood Mayor Dianne White has reported to City Hall most mornings to help city staff before she heads to her day job as a pharmacist. White, who is paid $1,100 a month for part-time mayoral duties, returns to her desk at the city during her lunch hour and then she’s back after her pharmacy shift ends in the afternoon. The mayor fired the city’s administrator in April 2010 because White decided the city needed a different style of management. Lagging tax revenues, however, didn’t allow Stanwood officials to hire another administrator, so the mayor stepped in. City clerk Melissa Collins has frequently phoned the mayor at the pharmacy to get her direction on a variety of subjects. At the end of Swenson’s service, White hopes to get from the new interim city administrator a report on administrative responsibilities and staffing needs, a development plan for each city department and a recommendation about how the city can better offer services that encourage economic development. Swenson, 54, retired from her job with the city of Marysville more than a year ago. Since then she has done some work for Prothman and the consulting firm Strategies 360. Read more at the Daily Herald.

Basehor, Kansas (population 4,613): The city of Basehor is moving ahead without former city administrator Mark Loughry, asking Basehor Police Chief Lloyd Martley to serve as an interim replacement. Basehor Mayor Terry Hill said after a special city council meeting this morning that despite some legal questions surrounding the council’s vote to remove Loughry Monday, the members had decided to move ahead with his termination. Hill said he would visit Loughry later today to collect his city keys and make arrangements to clean out his office. The city will also give Loughry a lump-sum severance payment provided for in his contract, Hill said. The amount of that severance payment was not yet available from the city this morning. During the meeting, Hill said he would talk to Martley about becoming the interim city administrator. The council took no formal action during the meeting, which was called for the purpose of determining if further action was needed after the council’s vote Monday to remove Loughry as administrator. Hill’s announcement followed a 15-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel and a 10-minute executive session to discuss finding someone to fill the duties of the city administrator. Meanwhile, Hill said the city would begin searching for a new permanent city administrator “almost immediately,” despite some legal uncertainties surrounding the council’s 3-2 vote to remove Loughry. Hill said one purpose of today’s special meeting was to warn council members that by letting their vote stand, they may be opening the city up to a lawsuit because of a violation of Loughry’s employment contract and a possible conflict with a charter ordinance passed by the city in 1995. The three council members who voted to remove Loughry — Dennis Mertz, Fred Box and Iris Dysart — said they were not concerned with that possibility, Hill said. Loughry’s contract states that if the council intends to terminate his employment, the council must provide him a written notice of that intent at least 10 days before taking action, and must also allow him to appear at a hearing to defend himself. The council did not take any of those actions before voting to remove Loughry, Hill said earlier this week. Hill said those three council members had still not stated a reason for their vote, and he did not understand what the reason might be. This past spring, the council members gave Loughry a positive performance review, he said. Hill said he’d been contacted by several city residents confused about the vote to remove Loughry, as well. If Martley is appointed interim administrator, this will be his second stint in that role. He served as interim administrator for more than two months in 2009, after former administrator Carl Slaugh resigned and before Loughry was hired. He currently holds the title of assistant city administrator, in addition to being the police chief. Hill said after the meeting that Martley was the council’s first choice to take over temporarily, though he wanted to meet with him to offer him the job before the council formally appointed him. Read more at The Cheiftain. The vote came after some city officials said that Loughry was getting too much health insurance coverage and had overstated the income from his last job when he accepted the position in Basehor. Loughry said Thursday that he negotiated the health benefits and that the previous salary Basehor officials looked at didn’t take into account benefits or a raise he was anticipating in Hays. And Loughry said the City Council broke his contract by firing him without giving him 10 days notice that the issue was coming up for a vote. Mayor Terry Hill on Thursday defended Loughry, saying his service has been fine for two years. Mertz called it an issue of fairness. Basehor gives municipal employees full health coverage but doesn’t pay premiums for their family members. Loughry said he negotiated the benefit for his family and asked Hill to make a notation in his contract later when he noticed it wasn’t there. A previous city attorney told officials after the change that only the council could amend the contract. For Loughry and Hill, the question is: Why now? Mertz said the benefits and salary issues have been simmering for a while. He believes the surprise vote was legal, even though Loughry wasn’t warned. Read more at the Kansas City Star.

Friday Harbor, Washington (population 2,120): Of its many claims to fame, the fact that Friday Harbor is managed by an administrator whose longevity is unmatched in Washington state is not  — widely known. But those days are numbered. After 24 years at the helm of Friday Harbor, retirement beckons for town Administrator King Fitch, and those plans have been set in motion. Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher today announced that Fitch intends to hand over the helm of the town’s day-to-day operations by the end of June, 2012, and that he notified town employees of that decision earlier in the day. Lacher said Fitch informed each member of the town council with a personal telephone call. Fitch’s pending departure will present a tough challenge for the town in the months ahead, she said. Even though calling the shots for the town for nearly a quarter-century may be enough, Fitch said the decision to step down is painful just the same. That tenure began even before Fitch was selected town administrator by former mayor Jim Cahail. Fitch, who stepped into the administrator post on Sept. 8, 1987, had been working part-time for the town as a building inspector at that time. Lacher said the list of accomplishments that Fitch put in place over the years is long and significant, which include securing of water rights for the town’s future growth, facilitating implementation of the state Growth Management Act, merging the island’s fire departments and overseeing several major public works projects, including the recent replacement of the submarine sewer line. By town ordinance, the administrator is appointed by and serves at the will of the mayor. Fitch and Lacher are currently working on a strategy and timeline for the upcoming transition. As for the future, Fitch, who will turn 65 in early January, said that he looks forward to having more time to spend with family and with his four grandchildren in particular. And though he and his wife, Pam, have no intention of leaving the island, Fitch said he looks forward to that day when he can also walk down the streets of Friday Harbor without making a mental list of all potholes, catch basins or cracks in the sidewalk that he needs to attend to the following day. Read more at the San Juan Journal.

Hyde Park, Vermont (population 474): On Thursday, September 8, at their regularly scheduled meeting the Hyde Park Selectboard officially welcomed and introduced new Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski. The Hyde Park Selectboard began discussing the idea of hiring a town administrator several months ago and began the actual process soon after. At the September 8 meeting, the board also appointed Rodjenski as Hyde Park’s Zoning Administrator and Town Service Officer. As a part of those duties he will be working closely with the Development Review Board and Planning Commission. According to Rodjenski, he was interested in the Town Administrator position in Hyde Park for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it was available at a timely moment for him. When the position was advertised Ron had just begun looking for fulltime work again after taking a few years off to be a stay-at-home dad. Rodjenski has roughly 20 years of experience fulfilling the needs associated with all three of his positions due to the fact that he has held similar posts in the towns of Richmond and Underhill. He has a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Central Connecticut State University, and he moved to Vermont following his graduation from that university in 1988. While he was officially welcomed by the board at their September 8 meeting, Ron actually started work on Tuesday, September 6. He has already attended three evening meetings, one each with the Planning Commission, Development Review Board, and Selectboard, while also meeting the town road crew and Town Office staff in order to familiarize himself with the town and what’s going on. Read more at the News & Citizen.