Transitions: Glendale, CA; Rockingham County, NC; Oviedo, FL and more

Glendale, California (population 205,952): Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa has been appointed to the same position with the city of Glendale, the city announced Tuesday. Ochoa takes over for current Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird, a former Monrovia city manager himself who is stepping down at the end of the year. Ochoa will officially take over the job on Jan. 3, 2012, according to a Glendale city spokesman. Ochoa said in an interview Tuesday night that his departure will be “bittersweet.” Ochoa started as an intern in Monrovia in 1993, working his way up the ladder until he was appointed to the city manager position in 2004. A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Ochoa obtained a master’s degree in public administration from USC while working for Monrovia. Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman said in a prepared statement that Ochoa was selected because of his impressive “credentials, his values, his track record and multi-dimensional understanding of local government and municipal operations.” In terms of population, Ochoa’s leap from Monrovia to Glendale is enormous. Glendale is more than five times the size of Monrovia. Ochoa will also take charge of a much larger city work force. About 1,800 employees work for Glendale, compared to approximately 300 in Monrovia. Ochoa said his experience would translate, however, because the city faces many of the same challenges–economic development, declining revenue–that he’s faced here. Ochoa’s salary is still being negotiated, according to the Glendale News-Press. Ochoa currently makes about $182,000 per year in Monrovia, not including benefits and bonuses. Starbird makes about $240,000 annually, the News-Press reports. Ochoa said he was approached by a Glendale executive recruiter in September and has been going through the application process since. He tendered his resignation at the Monrovia City Council meeting Tuesday and will stay on as city manager until Jan. 2, 2012, he said. Ochoa said he plans on moving to Glendale as soon as the real estate market allows. He lives in Monrovia with his wife Sophia Ochoa and their children Nicolas, 14, and Tessia, 10. Read more at the Montrose Patch.

Rockingham County, North Carolina (population 93,643): There is a new man in charge in one Triad County and he may be a familiar face to some. Tuesday, the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners appointed Lance L. Metzler as new county manager, who is currently the county manager in Montgomery County. Metzler’s qualifications to serve as the chief executive officer of Rockingham County Government include many years of professional experiences, visionary leadership, and governmental innovations. In a news release the county said Metzler will begin work December 5. Since 2005, as county manager for the County of Montgomery, some of his top accomplishments are the following: the first Strategic Plan for the County; the first official Capital Improvement Plan; a team approach for operations and long-term planning; and a pro-active approach to growth and customer service in a diverse community. He served as county administrator/manager for the County of Northampton, VA, between 2000 and 2005. Some of the milestone accomplishments included: first Sustainable Technology Industrial Park in the nation; a new County facility to house County services; collaborative efforts for regionalism to address housing, water and sewer needs; aggressive Land Use Plans; and Distinguished Budget Awards. As town manager for the Town of West Point, VA, from 1997 to 2000, his accomplishments included hiring and developing qualified department heads with teamwork philosophy; an industrial park; a Farmer’s Market; a Bikeway and Scenic Vista; a historical walking tour; a police department; an Emergency Operation Program; and Wastewater Treatment and Airport service development through regional efforts. Metzler also worked for the Town of Kingstree, SC, and the Town of Troy, NC. He has been featured in numerous governmental magazines, publications, and productions; is a credentialed International City/County Manager’s Association (ICMA) Manager; and is actively involved with city/county governmental associations. In addition, he was charter president of the West Point Rotary Club, a member of Seven Lakes Baptist Church, and a Pi Kappa Phi Alumni. Metzler has an undergraduate degree in Urban/Regional Planning at East Carolina University and is currently completing a master’s in Public Administration from Old Dominion University. He has done graduate work at Virginia Tech along with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Public Executive Leadership Academy (PELA), and the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute (SEI). Read more at WFMY News 2.

Oviedo, Florida (population 33,342): After an extensive internal search, city officials have made a decision in appointing a new city manager. At a special meeting on Oct. 20, the Oviedo City Council voted unanimously to offer the city manager position to Kathryn Breazeale. Breazeale is a familiar face to the city, as she has been the active budget officer since December of 2010. Breazeale has previously served in several positions that qualify her for the responsibilities that come with a position such as city manager. Serving as the director of administrative services for the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, Breazeale will enter this position with a vast knowledge of city affairs. With a master’s degree in public administration, more than eight years of progressively responsible local government experience and four years in the private industry as a CFO, the city council’s decision was made based on merit and experience. Additionally, the city is also still in pursuit of a financial director. The position is open and all qualified candidates are urged to apply. The finance director is part of the city manager’s senior management team that performs a variety of professional, supervisory and technical accounting and finance work, according to city documents announcing the position. The guidelines express that an ideal candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college in accounting or business administration and also have at least five years of experience in finance administration and government fund accounting. The city is also looking for someone who has been in a similar position before, serving as either a director or assistant director in a larger organization. Pay for this kind of position ranges between $90,000 to $100,000 in annual salary, according to the release. Read more at the Seminole Chronicle.

Belmont, Massachusetts (population 24,729): Belmont’s Board of Selectmen announced Monday night that Town Administrator Thomas Younger has tendered his resignation, effective Nov. 18, after serving in the job since 2005. It was an amicable split, said Selectman Ralph Jones, the board’s chairman, and had been planned for a while. Jones said the selectmen held off announcing Younger’s departure because he was a finalist for town manager spots in Winchester and North Andover. He was not selected for either position. In a statement, the selectmen thanked Younger and wished him well. Jones said that the selectmen are looking for an interim town administrator, whom they hope to have in place by the end of the month. They have already begun contacting possible candidates, though Jones declined to name them. Read more at the Boston Globe.

Elk River, Minnesota (population 22,974): The city’s new administrator is running things for the first time — after apprenticeships spanning two decades in other Minnesota communities. Others might have seen a city with a high tax rate and a decrease in property values. But Elk River’s new city administrator sees “a jewel.” Elk River is the Sherburne County seat and the second-largest city (after St. Cloud) in what has been Minnesota’s fastest-growing county for much of the past decade. It is a city of possibilities — from its quaint Main Street and cozy downtown district to the superstores that straddle Hwy. 169. It is the one community within a rural county that has access to several major arteries, with Minneapolis just 30 miles away. For Portner, it’s a dream job. Of course, this is a guy who, years ago, savored spending a day in a small western Minnesota city, observing as officials talked about trying to develop around a post office. He grew up in New Ulm unsure where his future would take him. But he was always observant — even of things others took for granted. New Ulm was a city that took care of itself, he recalled. The yards were manicured, the streets clean. He went to the University of Minnesota and landed an internship with then-U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad. Portner had considered a teaching career. Then he began meeting police chiefs, school superintendents and city officials. After earning a master’s degree at Hamline University, Portner learned in 1991 that Brooklyn Park was looking for an assistant to its city manager. He spent six years working in what was then Minnesota’s fifth-largest city. He later moved to Plymouth, another large suburb, and served as the city’s administrative services director. He felt fulfilled in Plymouth but jumped at the chance to go to Elk River. The city initially offered the job to Kevin Lahner, city administrator in Burlington, Wis. When Lahner declined, Elk River chose Portner to succeed Lori Johnson, who resigned and is now city administrator in Otsego. There were 71 applicants for the job that Portner ultimately got. He and his wife, Penny, a Forest Lake teacher, live in Andover, a location that creates a 20-mile commute for each of them. They have two daughters and a son. In spite of a 45.7 percent tax rate and a 5.6 percent decrease in property values, Elk River has tremendous potential, he said. With the levy, there’s an additional 3 percent tax increase, he said. But the positives far outweigh the economic climate. Read more at the Star Tribune.

Leland, North Carolina (population 13,527): Leland’s new town manager, David A. Hollis, begins work at his new post on Tuesday. He succeeds William B. Farris, who will retire December 16 after more than 30 years of municipal work experience, five of which he served as Leland town manager. Hollis is a licensed engineer, who previously worked for North Carolina engineering firm, W.K. Dickson and Company. He also has served as chief project engineer for New Hanover County and as the superintendent-plant manager for Brunswick County’s Water Resources department. The Leland resident was the chairman of the town’s planning board and a member of the Leland Code Rewrite Committee, which has led revisions of the town’s ordinances. He was appointed to both groups in 2008, but resigned when he accepted the position as town manager, said Carol Ann Floyd, Leland town clerk. The town received 34 applications for the town manager position. The town council and Mayor Walter Futch led the hiring process. Hollis will receive an annual salary of $95,000 and will receive a $300 monthly vehicle allowance. Read more at the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

Grand County, Utah (population 9,225): The Grand County Council will be without an administrator beginning Nov. 18. Council members approved 4-2 a resolution last week to exercise the council’s right not to renew the county council administrator’s employment agreement based on “restructuring of the position.” Melinda Brimhall, the current council administrator, said the decision was mutual. Brimhall said the discussions about the status and future of her job began a year ago, after what she referred to as significant personal attacks against her from a number of county elected officials. Brimhall is the seventh administrator to be hired by the county since citizens voted in 1992 to change the form of county government. Brimhall assumed the role of county council administrator in the fall of 2009, after working as a management analyst in the city manager’s office in Casa Grande, Ariz. At the time she was hired, Brimhall made a verbal commitment to stay for two years, she said. Council chairman Chris Baird said at the Oct. 18 meeting that ending Brimhall’s contract is a mutually beneficial decision. He added that the county will restructure the position to better conform to modern state codes. Council members Audrey Graham and Ken Ballantyne voted against the action, stating their disappointment with the county council for allowing the problems between the council administrator and other elected officials to reach this point. Baird offered his appreciation to Brimhall during the meeting and said it was a “tough decision” all around. Brimhall said she is not sure what her next step will be, but she will be leaving the Moab area after completing her final month as council administrator. She will be given six months’ severance pay as part of the agreement. Read more at the Moab Times-Independent.

Rockwood, Tennessee (population 5,705): Rockwood City Council has offered the city administrator’s job to Jack Miller, Crossville’s former top official. Miller received the nod over former Roane County Executive Mike Farmer in a 4-2 vote during a special session Monday, Mayor James Watts said Tuesday. Former Morgan County Executive Becky Ruppe also applied for the city administrator’s post, to be vacated soon by Jim Hines, who is retiring. Watts said he will meet with Miller this week to negotiate a contract and salary, and council will be asked later this month to approve the pact. The job was advertised at $50,000 annually, Watts said. Watts said Miller has a work record that includes extended stints as city manager in several cities. Miller was abruptly fired in January 2008 by the Crossville City Council through a prepared resolution that stated he wasn’t “performing up to desired standards,” according to published reports. Hines, 66, announced plans to retire several weeks ago. Hines, who also performs the duties of city building official and city recorder, said he may stay on as a contract employee to continue to do the building official’s duties. Read more at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Minden, Nebraska (population 2,923): Matthew Cederburg has accepted the position of City Administrator/Finance Director for the City of Minden. Cederburg, who was recently hired as City Clerk/Treasurer  for the city in June, 2011, was offered the opportunity at the October 12 City Council special meeting and will immediately make the transition into his new position. The formal swearing in of Cederburg will be at the November 7, 2011 City Council meeting. Cederburg fills the administrator position that has been vacant since early summer. Read at The Minden Courier.

Hickman, Nebraska (population 1,657): Silas Clarke of Omaha has been hired as the new city administrator for Hickman. Clarke replaces Brett Baker, who resigned in May to become Seward’s new city administrator. Clarke will begin his duties Nov. 14, said Kelly Oelke, Hickman’s finance director and city clerk. Clarke was assistant grant administrator for the city of Omaha and worked as the high schools’ director of the attendance collaborative at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He also was the capital improvement plan coordinator in Onawa, Iowa. Clarke has a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis on local government and a bachelor’s degree in political science. Hickman is about 15 miles south of Lincoln. Read more at the Journal Star.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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