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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Transitions: San Mateo County, CA; Washington County, MN; Brentwood, CA and more

San Mateo County, California (population 718,451): County Manager David Boesch, who was hired and groomed to succeed his predecessor three years ago, will leave his position in less than two weeks. Boesch’s resignation announcement this morning came on the heels of a special closed session meeting late yesterday by the Board of Supervisors to discuss his performance evaluation. Boesch said it was clear he and the board had differing philosophies and that he was resigning in the best interests of the organization. Boesch’s last day in the office will be Nov. 15 although his resignation will not be formal until Dec. 31. During that time, he will help transition the interim county manager who has not yet been chosen. Board President Carole Groom said there will be a nationwide search. Boesch joined the county as assistant county manager in February 2007. He was named county manager in November 2008 and officially stepped in the following January after former county manager John Maltbie’s retirement after two decades of service. Boesch was unanimously selected from a candidate pool of 38 winnowed down after recent interviews. Although Boesch was long thought to be Maltbie’s replacement, county officials conducted a wide recruitment. At the time, the Board of Supervisors cited his achievements in criminal justice, health care and budgeting priorities as reasons he rose to the top of the list. He worked  on the health system redesign, planning for a new jail, green building and Shared Vision 2025, a community-wide set of values used to shape the future. Once in the county manager’s seat, Boesch continued work to chop away at a $100 million structural deficit and suggest new methods of budgeting. Prior to working for San Mateo County, Boesch served as Menlo Park city manager from 2000 to 2007, director of community development for Sunnyvale and director of community development for Nashua, N.H. Read more at The Daily Journal.

Washington County, Minnesota (population 238,136): After 25 years at the Washington County Government Center, County Administrator, Jim Schug will retire on Jan. 26. Even after thinking about it for several months, Schug said the ultimate decision to retire was a difficult one. Schug began in Washington County as the community services director and assumed his current post in 1994. The Washington County Board of Commissioners will now begin the process of selecting a replacement for Schug. Schug has more than 37 years of experience in county government, including as a social worker and in human services before becoming an administrator. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas. Outside of his county administration role, Schug serves on the board of directors of Lakeview Health System, the Stillwater Rotary Club, the Tozer Foundation Board, the Minnesota Association of County Administrators, the Minnesota City/County Management Association and the International City/County Management Association. After his retirement, Schug said he and his wife, Connie, look forward to spending more time with their three daughters and five grandchildren. They live in Stillwater and plan to stay there while also traveling more in the future, Schug said. Read more at the Oakdale Lake Elmo Review.

Brentwood, California (population 51,481): After working 14 years for the city, new Brentwood City Manager Paul Eldredge said that while employees treat him the same, he is trying to get to know everyone all over again in his new role. Eldredge came to Brentwood in 1997 as a senior staff engineer, then moved up to assistant city engineer, followed by assistant director of public works and assistant city manager in January. He managed several major housing, retail and capital improvement projects during Brentwood’s major growth period, including the Streets of Brentwood, the downtown streetscape project and the wastewater and water treatment plants. Although Eldredge enjoyed working as a city engineer, he started getting more exposure to Brentwood’s leadership as assistant city manager while completing his master’s of business administration degree. Former City Manager Donna Landeros became a mentor to Eldredge and encouraged him to succeed her because of his personality and previous training. Before retiring Sept. 30, Landeros said she talked to Eldredge about the city manager position and added that it never gets boring developing good policy and being responsible to five elected officials on the City Council. Eldredge, who turned 40 on Thursday, started his new job Oct. 1. Eldredge has worked with all of the city’s departments in various capacities. He said he has also formed good working relationships with neighboring governmental agencies. City Clerk Margaret Wimberly said the transition from Landeros to Eldredge has been seamless because everyone knows and respects him. Eldredge is working with the City Council to develop a list of goals for Brentwood over the next six to 18 months. He steps into his new leadership position at a busy time with downtown revitalization and Civic Center construction projects coming to a close and as community concern over big-box retailers heats up, with speculation that a Walmart store proposal could be on the horizon. Read more at the Silicon Valley Mercury News.

Monrovia, California (population 36,590): City Manager Scott Ochoa announced that he’s resigning effective Jan. 2 to take Glendale’s top administrative post, ending nearly two decades of employment with the city. Ochoa, who has held his current position since March 2004, tendered his resignation letter at Tuesday’s City Council meeting after the Glendale City Council had appointed him their next city manager earlier in the day. Ochoa, 40, first started working for Monrovia in 1993 as an intern in the City Manager’s Office and Community Development Department, making $6.50 an hour while he was a senior majoring in government at Claremont McKenna College. He worked his way up to several management positions, including assistant city manager and assistant executive director of the Redevelopment Agency before former City Manager Don Hopper retired in 1994. Monrovia City Council members said they were saddened to see Ochoa go, describing him as a visionary with strong organizational and communication skills. Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said Ochoa has taken the city to new heights, not just keeping it “even-keeled” but allowing it to excel amid very bad economic times. During Ochoa’s tenure, the city has been able to create the successful Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) program to combat blight and crime while empowering neighborhoods and to focus on economic development, Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said. Councilman Tom Adams said one of Ochoa’s most impressive achievements was reopening City Hall on Fridays, while keeping the same extended schedule of 10-hour days Mondays through Thursdays. Ochoa said he is proud that the city has grown its economic base during the worst recession since the Great Depression, filling holes in the city’s sales tax base and bringing in vibrant businesses like Kohl’s, T. Phillips Alehouse and London Gastropub. The city received its lowest sales tax revenue ever in 2009-10, with $5.2 million. However, that figure increased to $5.7 million the following fiscal year and is expected to reach $6 million this fiscal year, officials have said. But Ochoa’s tenure hasn’t been without lessons, he said. If he had a chance to do it over, he probably would have gotten involved in the 2008 negotiations with the Monrovia Police Officers Association sooner, since they became “acrimonious” and “unprecedented” for the city. The City Council approved a five-year contract with the association that ended the dispute over compensation that had dragged on for months, but not before the group had taken out billboards around the city thanking the city manager and council for “higher violent crime” and “fewer officers patrolling.” The relationship with the association “is on the mend” today, he said, and all parties realized that infighting was not in the best interest of the city. KGEM talk show host Ralph Walker said Ochoa was an official that community members either embraced or differed in opinion with. While Ochoa was quick-witted, he could also be biting in the same breath, Walker said, and some questioned whether he was people-oriented enough. The City Council directed staff Tuesday to bring back options to recruit a new city manager. Lutz said it’s likely an interim city manager would be hired until a replacement could be found. Ochoa receives an annual salary of $181,958 and $33,231 in benefits, according to city officials. While Ochoa’s future salary in Glendale is still being negotiated, City Manager Jim Starbird, who is retiring in December, earns an annual salary of $240,000 and receives $25,000 in benefits, according to a city spokesman. Starbird, a onetime West Covina city manager, is also a former Monrovia city manager, having worked there during the 1970s and 1980s. Read more at the Pasadena Star-News.

Fluvanna County, Virginia (population 25,691): Fluvanna County is looking for a new administrator after their old one resigned. Jay Scudder had only been with the county for a little more than a year. Fluvanna Board of Supervisors Chairman John Gooch says while the county wishes the relationship with Scudder would have worked out to a mutual benefit, the board wishes him well.  The county will not comment specifically on what lead up to Scudder’s resignation. Read more at NBC 29.

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.

Leelanau County, Michigan (population 21,708): The end to the tenure of former county administrator Eric Cline may not have been more pleasant than the fate of Leelanau’s first administrator some 25 years ago, but the timing was better. Larry Savage’s contract was yanked by a 4-2 vote of the County Board in 1986 while he was vacationing with his family in Hawaii. He resigned upon returning. Cline’s resignation came during a one hour, 45 minute closed session last Thursday, providing the administrator a face-to-face exchange. While details of the session, closed upon the request of Cline, are not public, Cline clearly wanted to keep his job. The county attorney, who attended the meeting to discuss union contract negotiations, was asked to join the evaluation after commissioners had spent about an hour behind closed doors with Cline. He ended up resigning, with his final day set for Friday. Cline continued to work through this week. As part of his contract, he will receive three months of pay and insurance coverage following his departure. Commissioners had given Cline a three month reprieve after his last job review in July by a 4-3 vote, with county board chair Tom Van Pelt casting the deciding vote following a long hesitation. One of his supporters in that decision, commissioner David Shiflett, did not attend the meeting last week. The County Board voted 6-0 to accept Cline’s resignation. Shiflett’s absence from the latest meeting had no bearing on Cline’s decision to resign, Van Pelt added. He did not speculate on how he would have voted if another vote was taken to continue Cline’s employment. Commissioner Melinda Lautner cast the lone no vote when Cline was hired, and again cast a vote to terminate his contract in July. Cline’s arrival came with warnings of impending problems. After a drawn-out process that lasted more than a year after former administrator David Gill announced his resignation, the County Board narrowed its field of candidates to a top four. Two of those candidates turned down the job due to salary disputes. Lautner said Cline was the fourth choice. He was hired for $68,000 plus a $5,000 moving expense reimbursement — the salary level rejected by the candidates above him. Cline — whose background was mostly in city government; he had been laid off as assistant city manager in Alpena — knew he faced a steep learning curve, but felt he had made progress. Commissioners talked about him not making a “good fit” in his relationship with the board. Commissioners have not laid out a path to deal with Cline’s resignation. After the closed session ended and the resignation announcement, commissioner Richard Schmuckal suggested that county clerk Michelle Crocker, community planner Trudy Galla and executive assistant to the administrator Georgia Robertson divvy up the duties on a short-term basis. Galla and Robertson had previously served as interim administrators. The county has had five administrators over the 25 years the position has existed. Schmuckal also suggested that the county look into hiring an “interim” administrator during the hiring process of a replacement, mentioning former administrator David Gill and former County Board chair Pat Yoder as possible interim candidates. Officially, no decision was made. The next scheduled County Board meeting is set for Tuesday, Nov. 8. Cline’s evaluation and resignation came just one week after the County Board completed a hectic schedule leading up to its approval of a 2012 budget. Van Pelt said the budget schedule did not play into the administrator’s evaluation process. Read more at the Leelanau Enterprise.

Sevierville, Tennessee (population 15,781): SEVIERVILLE — City Administrator Steve Hendrix has resigned, telling Mayor Bryan Atchley in a letter that he no longer felt he was the right person for the job. Hendrix could not be reached Wednesday for comment. He told senior city staff about the resignation during a meeting Wednesday morning, according to information provided by city spokesman Bob Stahlke. Hendrix gave a 90-day notice as required by his contract. He was serving as city manager in Pittman Center when, in 2006, he was appointed assistant city administrator under his predecessor, Doug Bishop. After Bishop died of a massive heart attack in 2008, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen named Hendrix interim director. Following a national search, they selected him as the new administrator in June 2009. During that time, Hendrix took the reins over the city’s most massive project — the Central Business Improvement District (CBID). As part of that, he oversaw the golf course expansion and the opening of the Events Center. As the city has dealt with the recession, he oversaw some of its most austere budgets in recent years. He also had to take the reins and move the city forward at a time when it was reeling from the unexpected loss of Bishop, who was directly involved in many of the city’s negotiations and personally developed many of its plans. Like his predecessor, Hendrix was known for putting in long hours at the job. He could often be reached or found at his office long after 5 p.m. He worked well with the executives from the other local governments, who meet regularly to discuss countywide issues. It isn’t yet clear what action BOMA will take. The board would normally meet Monday but had canceled that meeting because of the Winterfest kickoff. Hendrix’s responsibilities included overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. Read more at The Mountain Press.

Hugo, Minnesota (population 13,332): After leading the rural Washington County community of Hugo through a population boom, major development growth and a fatal tornado, City Administrator Mike Ericson is moving on to the next challenge. Ericson announced his resignation in an Oct. 19 letter to the mayor and city council. His last day will be Nov. 21, marking more than 11 years with the city. In his resignation letter, Ericson said he had planned to leave next year “to move on in my professional career” but decided to move his departure date forward. The council will approve a separation agreement on Monday and is poised to appoint Community Development Director Bryan Bear as administrator. Bear, who has been with the city for more than seven years, called the split amicable and said he has enjoyed working with Ericson over the years. In recent months, Ericson has applied for open city administrator jobs in other metro communities and was a finalist in both Forest Lake and Mendota Heights. He said Thursday he’s eyeing other opportunities, but doesn’t currently have an offer on the table. He would like to remain in city government and keep his family in the east metro. Ericson came to Hugo in April 2000 after more than a year in Maplewood as assistant to the city manager. Before that, he was city administrator for more than six years in Watertown, Minn., and an administrative assistant for two years in St. Louis County, Minn. He received a degree in public administration from Winona State University and a master’s in urban and regional studies from Minnesota State University-Mankato. When he arrived in Hugo, the city’s population was little more than 6,300. He said Thursday he’s proud the city was able to aptly handle the population boom while maintaining its rural character and small-town feel – features held closely by Hugo residents. Ericson also said he was proud of the city’s response to the deadly 2008 tornado that tore through the city. Petryk applauded Ericson for embracing that attitude and for fostering a people-centered atmosphere at city hall. In his letter, Ericson thanked the city for making his family’s tenure in Hugo “a fun time.” Read more at the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Kingston, Massachusetts (population 12,629): Jim Thomas took over as Kingston’s town administrator last week, saying one of his priorities is to lead a review of Kingston’s master plan. The town has not reviewed its master plan since the ’90s, but experience suggests it should be reviewed every five years.  Another priority is economic development, he said. Thomas, 51, who previously was town administrator for West Warwick, R.I., has worked in town government for 25 years. Read more at The Boston Globe.

Sturgis, South Dakota (population 6,627): With a goal of helping to revitalize the downtown and keeping more of the financial benefits of the Sturgis motorcycle rally in the community, the new city manager of Sturgis took office this week. Daniel Ainslie, who was the development manager for the city of Merced, Calif., started the job on Monday by immediately hitting the streets and reaching out to Sturgis residents. Ainslie replaces David Boone, who resigned in April after being found guilty of insurance fraud. He also was the first city manager for Sturgis. Ainslie, who was born in Lemmon, said he had been to the Sturgis motorcycle rally twice before he applied for the job and liked what he saw back then. Ainslie said Sturgis has a lot of potential for growth because the name of the community has national recognition. Ainslie’s other primary goal is to work on the revitalization of the entire downtown area. While working as the development manager in Merced, a central California city of 79,000, Ainslie worked on projects that included a $10 million public parking structure, the restoration of the historic Merced Theater and the development of a 14-unit craftsman-style housing development. Ainslie starts his new job while a petition to change the city manager form of government is being circulated. He said, however, that he hopes the residents of Sturgis will give him a chance before deciding on the fate of their form of city government. Read more at the Rapid City Journal.

Woodside, California (population 5,287): After reviewing dozens of applications and interviewing six people in their search for a new town manager, the Woodside Town Council offered the job to an insider — the current assistant town manager. Kevin Bryant, 40, was the council’s unanimous choice in a closed session vote on Oct. 26, Mayor Ron Romines said. Recent days have been spent negotiating Bryant’s contract, which includes a $195,000 annual base salary, health and pension benefits and a $300 monthly vehicle allowance. The retiring town manager, Susan George, who has worked for Woodside 18 years, is paid an annual salary of $196,000. From a “really strong pool” of 94 applicants, six candidates, including Bryant, were chosen for final interviews with the council and town staff, according to executive recruiter Bobbi Peckham, whose firm was paid $16,000 plus expenses to find George’s replacement. The fact Bryant has no job-hopping plans was also a selling point, Romines said. According to Peckham, the average tenure of a town manager is four to seven years. Bryant lives in San Carlos with his wife and two children, a preschooler and a second-grader at Brittan Acres Elementary School. Read more at the Palo Alto Daily News.

Minden, Nevada (population 4,204): The Minden Town Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to hire China Spring Youth Camp office manager Jenifer Scott as their new town manager. The decision was reached after more than two hours of debate that included 15-minute presentations from finalists Scott, John Greenhut and Travis Lee, Douglas County senior services and public transportation manager. Two other finalists, Michael Jarrett and Aaron Palmer, withdrew from the process prior to Wednesday’s meeting. Scott, 29, is a 17-year resident of Douglas County and a graduate of Douglas High School and Boise State. She described herself as hardworking, dependable, a skilled project manager and good listener. Scott said she had experience managing office staff, budgets, grants, and had testified at the Nevada Legislature on behalf of the camp for juvenile offenders. Scott’s candidacy was supported by Minden vice chairman Steve Thaler who hired her as the camp’s office manager. Thaler urged the board to “scale back the type of person” for the position. Board members Matt Bernard and Charlie Condron favored Greenhut, a Minden resident for six years and retired South Lake Tahoe public works director. Greenhut was a finalist for the position two years ago, and said he reapplied because “I think I have the perfect fit.” He previously worked for the California communities of Gilroy, Sunnyvale and Morgan Hill. Greenhut said he had extensive experience in project management, grant-writing and administration, staff development and handling enterprise funds, reserves and rate-setting. He described his management style as participatory, but said in an emergency he was capable of making independent decisions. In acknowledging that he hired Scott at China Spring, Thaler said he wasn’t biased in her favor. In supporting Greenhut, Condron said the candidate “talked about every one of the issues I wanted to hear about. Water is the big one.” Roxanne Stangle originally withheld her support from any candidate. Stangle said she’d heard from a dozen constituents questioning why the town needed a manager, especially at the salary range of $74,246-$99,756 plus benefits, for the community of 3,000 residents. Chairman John Stephans declined to support any particular candidate, leaving Greenhut with a 2-1 advantage over Scott. The first two times Thaler made motions to give Scott the job, they died for lack of a second. Condron’s motion in support of Greenhut failed 3-2. After a two-minute break, Thaler made another motion in support of Scott which passed 3-2 with Stangle and Stephans adding their support. Bernard assured Scott that despite the split vote, she would have the support of all board members. Town counsel George Keele said he would begin working on Scott’s contract on Thursday. The vacancy was created with the July resignation of Roger Van Alyne who served as the town’s first manager for 15 months. Scott was selected from 38 applicants. Read more at The Record-Courier.

Seward, Alaska (population 2,247): James Hunt, the new Seward City Manager who arrived here last Friday from Kuna, Idaho, has spent the past week in town getting acquainted with his surrounding, the town’s personalities, and with the new job he has landed. He’s had his eyes on Seward since 2007 when he was here as a finalist behind Phillip Oates. Wearing a soft plaid shirt and jeans, with a cup of coffee in his hands, Hunt seemed more relaxed and approachable than during the formal interview process visit  just a short time ago. He’d been dealing with a sewage back-up in his rented house late the night before, that’s how he explained the informal attire. But he took that first mishap in stride, and didn’t appear daunted either by the fierce windstorm that blew through town Tuesday. He’s lived in places like Oregon, where it rains for nine months of the year, or arid places like South Dakota where constant winds blew over the Northern Planes, and where snow-filled streets made even crossing the downtown streets difficult. It was more of a culture shock moving to South Dakota than here, he said. Hunt repeatedly said he felt “very excited” to be here, and is confident that he has the background and temperament to fit in well with the community. He  has been seeking the small town quality of life  Seward offers, as well as the fishing opportunities. Hunt looks forward to waking up, and taking in the “awe inspiring” natural beauty of the resources. He also believes that he has arrived at just the right time to be able to help seize on some economic opportunities that could provide decades of growth unique for Seward such as Coastal Villages and other possibilities for the deep water port, and the Alaska Railroad, which in turn could provide economic well being in the future for its residents. Hunt had spent his first couple of days and weekend driving the streets, and meeting and greeting the residents, especially local business people. He has found everyone to be very warm and welcoming, although folks have not hesitated to bring up their concerns such as rising city fees and cost of living. He says he appreciates hearing from citizens, and promises to set aside time to return phone calls for people to stop by the office, or they may prefer  invite him to talk at a different location of their choosing, which may be less intimidating, he said. By Wednesday afternoon, Hunt had attended a Port and Harbor Advisory Board meeting as they developed their capital improvement wish list for state and federal funding. He’d also attended a meeting with the Seward Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, led by Tom Tougas and Ron Long. They had invited UAA Center for Economic Development Director Christi Bell to Seward in hopes of getting her back to aid them with their efforts to implement ideas that formed at Town Hall style meetings, following the recommendations of last year’s independent survey. Hunt said it appears they’re on the right track. One of his top goals will be to try to remove the barriers to the city being more responsive and customer-friendly which is a problem that he has witnessed elsewhere, and helped other municipalities successfully turn around. Hunt grew up in Sacramento, California, and looks to his mother’s example as a teacher for his own “call to service.” He and his wife Diane, who will move here to live in a couple of months, have lived in Oregon, California, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Hunt has a teaching degree and substitute-taught in those last three states. He also worked in, or started up several private businesses, including sales management, an upscale import repair business, computer networking and imaging, and he was a consultant with his wife’s business, an enterprise called Nuisance Abatement LLC. They volunteered frequently in many of the communities in which they lived. Hunt volunteered, and then worked two years for the Council of Governments in territories in the Tri-State Areas of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, helping dozens small communities with issues such as senior housing, transportation, lobbying, comprehensive planning and economic development. In 2004,  he began two years as Town City Administrator in Onowa, Iowa and “just loved it.” By then he had already found his true calling, Hunt said. Because of the economic downturn, and the fact that communities were more focused on survival than meeting code requirements, he and Diane have phased out their nuisance abatement business. But wherever he travels, he still can’t help noticing unattractive urban sights that, if addressed,would increase property values and make the area more attractive to potential new residents and businesses. Locals would be “stunned” to see the sort of negative things that visitors have written about Seward on Trip Advisor, he said. Hunt hopes to be able to bring his years of experience dealing with issues, and with economic development genrally to his job as City Manager. The couple has a grown daughter and a granddaughter. Read more at Seward City News.

Navassa, North Carolina (population 750): The Navassa Town Council has approved a three-year contract with Town Administrator Claudia Bray, over the objections of some who wanted to leave that decision to the new town board. The contract was approved on a 4-1 vote Thursday. Councilman Milton Burns voted against the contract because “it is so close to the election” on Tuesday, he said. Burns had urged his fellow councilmen to wait until after the election so the new town council could consider the matter. Bray’s current salary is $48,000 a year. The new town council will have a different makeup, with two seats changing. Mayor Pro Tem Michael Ballard and Councilman Craig Suggs, both of whom voted in favor of the employment contract, are not seeking re-election. Frank Willis, who is running for Suggs’ seat, had asked the council last month not to take up new business, including the administrator’s contract, “until we have had time to understand these issues.” Under North Carolina law, a town administrator serves at the pleasure of the board, which means that even with a contract, an administrator can be terminated “at will” by the governing body. But the new contract with Bray guarantees her six months of severance pay with full medical and insurance benefits unless she is fired “for cause,” such as willful neglect of duty or a felony criminal conviction. Read more at the Star News.

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: Fort Worth, TX; Washington County, MN; Winchester, MA and more

Fort Worth, Texas (population 741,206): By his own admission, Tom Higgins likes to stay in the background. For most of his 24 years with the city, he was the economic development director, working behind the scenes to bring companies and jobs to Fort Worth. As interim city manager for 10 months, Higgins lost his much-beloved anonymity, and the spotlight is expected to get brighter after the City Council’s decision last week to remove the “interim” tag from his job. Though Councilman Danny Scarth talked of Higgins having the “complete and full confidence” of the council, Higgins, 68, who will be paid $233,393.06, knows that Mayor Betsy Price has already said the city will start a national search next year. From wrestling with the city’s pension program to tackling long-delayed work on streets, then finding more funding once the current street backlog is eliminated, Higgins clearly has a lot on his plate. What’s more, he wants to see city employees embrace a culture change to provide more customer service to residents — one of the themes of Price’s mayoral campaign. Council members praised Higgins’ handling of a budget this year that included a 3 percent raise for general employees and no layoffs. But Higgins warns that next year’s budget could be far more difficult. The sluggish real estate market is one cause for pessimism, and Higgins said he expects property values to stay flat, at best. City staff members have begun looking at where to hold the line on expenses to prepare for another shortfall. Long-term projections show the city facing shortfalls in each of the next five years. Just because something is in the budget, he notes, that doesn’t guarantee that the money will be spent. Despite coming close to retiring three years ago, Higgins doesn’t sound ready to quit just yet. A noted early riser, Higgins is often in the office well before dawn poring over documents and getting work done before the phone calls and meetings begin. He keeps a notepad by his bed to jot down ideas and sometimes sits on his patio in the middle of the night deciding what the next move should be. He joined Fort Worth in 1987 as the one-man Department of Economic Development, helping to land the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility and luring companies to the now-booming Alliance Corridor just as it got off the ground. Making those deals work, outmaneuvering other cities, was all part of the excitement that fueled the competitive fire, Higgins said. And he still gets satisfaction driving by businesses or hotels that have brought jobs and visitors to the area. That experience should serve Higgins well as city manager, said Mike Berry, president of Hillwood Properties, which developed Alliance and worked with Higgins on many of those deals. Berry said Higgins’ attention to detail, calm demeanor and institutional memory will be assets for the city. But Berry said time hasn’t passed Higgins by. He can see the big picture and is good at finding new ideas for seemingly intractable problems, Berry said, mentioning that he was in Higgins’ office last week, talking about finding a solution to the perpetually clogged Interstate 35W. Read more at the Star-Telegram.

Washington County, Minnesota (population 238,136): Longtime Washington County Administrator Jim Schug announced Thursday he will retire early next year after 25 years with the county. Named county administrator in 1994, Schug began his quarter-century with Washington County as the director of the county’s Community Services Department. He has worked in county government for more than 37 years in Crow Wing, Redwood and Washington counties, beginning his career as a social worker. Schug, who lives in Stillwater, announced his plan to retire in late January in an email to employees on Thursday. He had previously informed Washington County’s five commissioners, according to a county news release. Schug’s 2011 salary is $150,065. A timeline for finding Schug’s successor was not made immediately clear on Thursday. Commissioner Autumn Lehrke, who represents south Washington County, in an interview Thursday praised Schug as “great to work with” during her 10 months on the board and said “his knowledge base will be greatly missed.” County Board Chairman Gary Kriesel, a commissioner for seven years, said he has witnessed Schug’s skills as a leader. Schug respects the employees and is a positive motivator, he said. Kriesel said the five commissioners will discuss soon the process to replace Schug. Kriesel said his “expectation” is that it would be an internal search. Lehrke agreed. Even those who don’t follow county government closely should appreciate Schug’s contributions, Kriesel said. Over the years Schug has made recommendations to the County Board that led to the county’s solid financial standing and its successful delivery of a wide range of services. Surveys have shown residents are satisfied with county government, Kriesel said. Read more at the Woodbury Bulletin.

Winchester, Massachusetts (population 21,374): The Winchester Board of Selectmen Thursday night unanimously selected Richard Howard, outgoing Malden mayor, as its new town manager, the board said in a statement. Howard was among four finalists for the position, and beat out officials from Saugus and Belmont, a list narrowed from 54 original applicants. In November, Howard announced he would not seek a fifth term in office in Malden. Also a lawyer who served business-oriented clients before his time in electoral politics, Howard had said he would explore non-elected public life or return to law. His departure marks the end of an era in Malden, where Howard has served as mayor since 1996, and a bump in pay. Winchester advertised compensation up to $160,000. Howard earned $114,400 as Malden mayor in 2008, the latest figures available. The other finalists for the job were Saugus town manager Andrew R. Bisignani and Belmont town administrator Thomas G. Younger. Swampscott town administrator Andrew W. Maylor was a finalist before accepting the town manager job in North Andover. In a phone interview, Howard said he would likely take the helm in Winchester in early January, after the new mayor of Malden is sworn in Jan. 2. Currently he and Winchester officials are negotiating the terms of his employment there, he said, including salary, benefits, and other standard contractual items. The transition will require some adjustment, Howard said, but was quick to compare the communities. While Winchester is less than half the size of Malden — at just over 21,000 — Howard said both communities share a desire for transit-oriented development, and more specifically, the remodeling of their high schools. This year, workers are completing a $70 million renovation of Malden High School, the last segment in Howard’s career-long effort to remake and rebuild the Malden Public Schools. Some of the key differences between the communities fall squarely along the population trend. The Winchester town budget is roughly half of what the Malden city government spends in a year. The political structure is also wholly different, and will mark Howard’s first step outside of an elected position. The transition means less hours during evenings and weekends filling the ceremonious duties of a mayor of a medium-sized city, Howard said — duties that he will come to miss, he said. Read more at the Boston Globe.

Cocoa, Florida (population 17,140): Deputy City Manager Brenda Fettrow last month became acting city manager and will become Cocoa’s first female city manager when her contract is finalized in the coming weeks. Fettrow replaces Ric Holt, who was the city’s longest-serving city manager, holding the job since 2000. The Cocoa City Council last month accepted his retirement offer. Fettrow was deputy city manager since 2008. She previously worked for 20 years at Brevard Community College, most recently as vice president of student services and interim executive director of the BCC Foundation. Before that, she was president of BCC’s Cocoa campus. Read more at Florida Today.

Clearlake, California (population 15,250): Clearlake’s new interim city administrator received a warm welcome at her first council meeting on Thursday evening. Joan Phillipe started work on Oct. 24. The council voted to hire Phillipe on an interim basis at its Sept. 22 meeting, as Lake County News has reported. Most recently she worked as interim general manager for the Foresthill Public Utility District in Placer County, and also previously served as city manager in Colusa, Colfax and Loomis. Her interim contract is for six months, after which the council could decide to hire Phillip in a long-term capacity. She has reportedly expressed interest in taking the job permanently. During public comment, Supervisor Rob Brown appeared at the podium with a large gift basket filled with a number of items including freshly baked bread, local produce and wine, gift certificates and tickets for local school sporting events, which he offered Phillipe as a welcome gift. Phillipe told the council later in the meeting that she anticipates “a very positive future” working with the city. Council member Judy Thein thanked Bob Galusha, the city’s engineer, who has acted as interim city manager for several months as the hiring process was taking place. Thein said Galusha won’t have to do double duty in the future. Mayor Joyce Overton said a meet and greet to introduce the community to Phillipe will take place on Nov. 10. Read more at Lake County News.

Lake Wales, Florida (population 14,225): It’s been a while since Lake Wales had a new city manager who was also new to the area. That’s why city of Lake Wales and the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce – in partnership with several local businesses – will host a reception for Therese Leary from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Nov. 3, in the lobby of Lake Wales City Hall at 201 W. Central Ave. Leary of Hilton Head, S.C., was one of two candidates selected for interviews for the post to succeed City Manager Judy Delmar, who announced last year that she would be retiring. When R. Dale Brown of Palestine, Texas, withdrew his application in late August after difficulties with a Skype.com interview and concerns of professionalism among the commissioners, the Lake Wales City Commission voted unanimously to offer the job to Leary. She accepted the job in early September and the City Commission approved her contract on Sept. 7. Her first City Commission meeting will be next Tuesday. City Commissioner Betty Wojcik – who is executive director of the chamber – approached Delmar about planning a reception for Leary and covering the costs with a partnership between the city and chamber. Local businesses such as Center State Bank, Florida’s Natural Growers and Lake Wales Main Street will sponsor the reception. Wojcik said they chose 4:30 p.m. to give people a chance to drop by and still take part in or attend the Lake Wales Literacy Council’s Spelling Circus or the Florida’s Natural Foundation awards, both scheduled for that night. Leary served as general manager for Indigo Run Community Owner’s Association in Hilton Head, N.C. She also served as city manager for Lake Park and Crystal River in Florida, as well as for cities in Connecticut, South Carolina, and Vermont. She hold a master’s degree in management and organizational development from Antioch University in Keen, N.H., and has studied with the New York University business law program. In her interview, Leary said she planned to move to Florida whether or not she got hired by Lake Wales. She described herself as a “consensus-builder” who would seek a team-oriented approach to both city management and public and private partnerships for economic development and recreation. Read more at News Chief.

Harrisburg, North Carolina (population 11,526): The Harrisburg Town Council voted Oct. 24 not to renew the town administrator’s contract and removed her from all town duties immediately. Five of the seven council members were present for the vote Oct. 24 at a regular town meeting. Jeffrey Redfern and Jeff Phillips were absent. The others unanimously approved the decision to put Michele Reapsmith on administrative leave with pay until Nov. 30, when her contract ends. Reapsmith was hired finance director in 2009 and was appointed town administrator in 2010. She said her departure was a mutually beneficial decision. Council member Bill Williams said he had always good relationship with Reapsmith, but he voted in favor of the decision. Williams said the council was “looking into some things,” but he wouldn’t comment further. A special meeting “to discuss personnel matters” in closed session is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 29, he said. The council could vote to take action on the matter, but any voting is likely to take place publicly, after the closed session. Harrisburg voters will elect four council members Nov. 8. Read more at the Charlotte Observer.

Wilcox County, Georgia (population 9,255): Tommy Higgs who was hired in June by Wilcox County Commissioners as county manager has tendered his resignation, effective immediately. Higgs said he cannot support some provisions of a plan that commissioners have unveiled for “expediting payments by Wilcox County to its vendors and service providers.“ In leaving the position he has held for the past four and a half months, Higgs added, “I would like to extend my most sincere and profound thanks to my former co-workers, the many new friends I have met and especially to the many citizens who welcomed and provided me with opportunities to really become a part of this great county.” When Higgs was hired, he was given a six-month contract with a clause for renewal if everyone concerned was satisfied. Commission Chairman Tracy Tyndal says he has received no letter of resignation, but was informed by County Clerk Paula Jones that Higgs turned in his keys, cleaned out his desk and told courthouse personnel that he was resigning. The contract, he said, does not expire until the end of November. Tyndal said the commission met last Wednesday in a called session, to discuss a plan for paying 201 unpaid bills totaling $336,000. When Higgs was asked about the situation, Tyndal said, the county manger responded that he was controlling cash flow. In the first two weeks of her employment, Ms. Jones was getting many collection calls, according to Tyndal, so she started investigating and found the unopened bills. Read more at the Cordele Dispatch.

Valley City, North Dakota (population 6,585): Outgoing Valley City Administrator Jon Cameron’s new job is in the Oklahoma city of Perry. The controversial city official announced earlier this month that he’s resigning after months of political turmoil in the city, but he didn’t say where. He said he would leave it up to officials in that city to make the announcement. Perry City Council member Shelbi Duke has confirmed that Cameron will be working there starting next month, replacing a retiring city manager. Cameron also then confirmed it. Perry is about 60 miles north of Oklahoma City. It has a population of about 5,200, slightly smaller than Valley City, which has about 6,600 people. Cameron says it’s about four hours from Dallas, where he has children and grandchildren. Read more at The Bismarck Tribune.

Loomis, California (population 6,430): Loomis’ new town manager considers Loomis a “gem.” Rick Angelocci began as the Loomis town manager on Oct. 13. He replaced Perry Beck who retired on Sept. 30. Angelocci, formerly the assistant city manager and community development director for the City of South Lake Tahoe, will be paid $110,000 per year, plus a $300 per month car allowance. Beck’s pay after 11 years on the job was $116,000. According to a report written by Beck, the council began the search process in May and received 127 applications. The search was narrowed down to seven interview candidates and then four finalists. Councilmember Gary Liss said he is very supportive of Angelocci, as are other council members. Liss said he was most impressed with Angelocci’s background in planning and in working on collaborative agreements with multiple jurisdictions. According to Beck, prior to working for the City of South Lake Tahoe, Angelocci spent two decades at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and held the position of Chief of Operations. Based on his planning background, he will also serve as the town planning director. Kathy Kerdus, who held the position, recently retired. Angelocci calls himself a “problem solver” and said he looked very closely at Loomis before applying for the job and was impressed with what he discovered about Loomis. Angelocci said when he was scouting the town, he stopped at Taylors for lunch and left his smartphone on the table. He said he realized it and feared the phone would be gone, but he said he was pleasantly surprised to find an employee had picked it up and was holding it for him. He felt the incident spoke of the character of the town. Angelocci remarked that Loomis had stayed true to its original values outlined when Loomis incorporated. Angelocci said he was also pleased with Loomis’ finances. The new town manager said he plans to continue the traditions already established for Loomis and stay on the path the town has consistently taken. Angelocci said he plans to stick to “slow growth, no debt, continue with sustainability. I hope to do as well as Perry.” Angelocci is divorced and has two daughters still living in South Lake Tahoe – Larissa, 16, and Sarah, 13. He said he is living in an apartment in Roseville and plans to rent for a year before settling in a more permanent location. He said his oldest daughter is a junior at South Lake Tahoe High School, but he may consider sending his younger daughter to Del Oro High School. Read more in The Loomis News.

Indian Wells, California (population 4,958): The Indian Wells City Council hired retired Beverly Hills city manager Roderick J. Wood as the interim Indian Wells city manager during a special meeting on Thursday. Wood, 62, has 40 years experience in municipal government, serving as city manager for multiple cities, including Indian Wells from 1989-1992. Land developer and former Indian Wells mayor Dick Oliphant suggested Wood, a La Quinta resident, for the interim position, Mayor Patrick Mullany told the 40 residents present at Thursday’s announcement. Wood, who retired about 18 months ago and is drawing a pension from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, will be paid $15,000 monthly. He is eligible only to work 960 hours a year. He will receive no other benefits, according to his contract. His familiarity with the Coachella Valley is one of Wood’s strong points, council members said. For his part, Wood said he recognizes he will have to figure out the issues quickly. But after familiarizing himself with the city budget and the city’s priorities, Wood said his next task will be to foster the public’s confidence, which has been shaken in previous months by the in-fighting among council members and the more recent controversy involving Indian Wells’ soon- to-be former City Manager Greg Johnson. On Oct. 6, Johnson, 50, abruptly tendered his resignation after allegations that he got resident Haddon Libby fired from his job after Libby publicly questioned Johnson’s salary and benefits. Johnson’s last day will be Nov. 4. He, however, has not been conducting the day-to-day city business. Mel Windsor, the city’s Public Safety and Personnel director, has been acting interim city manager since Oct. 7. Libby has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer, First Foundation Bank, and a complaint against Indian Wells — a notice of intention to file a lawsuit. Some of the residents who attended Thursday’s special meeting believed the council would address Johnson’s resignation and compensation. The announcement of an interim city manager took them by surprise. City officials have remained tight-lipped about Johnson’s severance package, which is expected to be disclosed at council’s next regular meeting, Nov. 3. Johnson earns $254,625 annually and stands to get a year of salary, and accumulated sick and vacation pay. Council interviewed four head-hunting firms on Wednesday and Thursday for the city manager search, but has not made a selection. Once a firm is chosen, the city manager search is expected to take as long as five months. Read more in The Desert Sun.

Viroqua, Wisconsin (population 4,362): The Viroqua City Council, Tuesday night, approved hiring city clerk John Severson as the new city administrator. Severson has served as city clerk for the last six years. He will step into the city administrator role, replacing Matt Giese, who left Viroqua at the end of August to be the village administrator for Cottage Grove, Wis. Mayor Larry Fanta announced Severson’s promotion following a closed session at the council meeting. Prior to Severson’s tenure as the city clerk for Viroqua, he was the clerk/treasurer/administrator for the village of Viola for 10 ½ years. With the internal promotion of Severson from city clerk to city administrator, Fanta said the city will need to find a replacement for the city clerk position. Read more at the Vernon County Broadcaster.

Van Alstyne, Texas (population 3,046): After nearly six months of searching, Van Alstyne appointed a new city manager. Philip Rodriguez was selected out of 70 candidates at Tuesday night’s meeting. He is currently the assistant city manager at Cedar Park, Texas and this new position in Van Alstyne will be his first time serving as a city manager. Mayor Kim DeMasters said the city is growing and she believes Rodriguez is the best candidate to help with that growth. Rodriguez will start his term at the end of November. Read more at KXII.

Grantville, Georgia (population 3,041): Grantville City Manager Mike Renshaw has informed the Grantville City Council that he will be leaving the city in late November to take a position as county manager of Camden County, NC. Renshaw has worked for the city for nearly a year after Grantville went without a city manager for about the same length of time following the abrupt departure of former city manager Scott Starnes, who was arrested on drug-related charges in October 2009. Grantville Mayor Jim Sells said that Renshaw has been “an asset for the city” and will be missed. Renshaw was recently offered a new one-year contract on a split vote from the council, but he opted to take the NC position instead. When Renshaw took the Grantville job at the very end of former Mayor Casey Houston’s tenure in late 2010, Grantville “had been without a city manager for a year, so there was a pile of work that was left undone,” said Sells. His last day of employment with the city will be on Nov. 24. Renshaw’s is only the latest in a wave of resignations by city employees. In recent weeks two electricians and the city clerk have resigned, for a total loss of six employees, out of a total of 23, in just six weeks. Sells said that he expects Renshaw to be replaced quickly. Renshaw said he’s excited about his new opportunity. He said he is most proud of the new “professionalized” police department. He said he and the city staff have also been working “to get the city in a position to take advantage of economic development opportunities in the near future.” Renshaw said he believes the city is better off than he found it. Read more at the Newnan Times-Herald.

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.

Transitions: Mohave County, AZ; Clermont County, OH; Alexandria, VA and more

Mohave County, Arizona (population 200,186): County officials have confirmed that County Manager Ron Walker plans to leave his position at the end of next year. Walker was hired as the county manager in May 2001 at a salary of $87,000 and was placed in charge of a $151 million budget and 1,200 county employees. The Board of Supervisors approved a new contract with Walker in 2009 and extended it by 18 months in January. He currently makes more than $170,000 and is in charge of $77 million budget and 777 employees with around 117 positions unfilled. He will go off the payroll on Dec. 31, 2012. In the last two years Walker has been involved in a number of conflicts between the public and the county. In August 2010, Golden Valley resident Luca Zanna filed a lawsuit against the county, the Board of Supervisors and Walker for violating his rights because Supervisor Buster Johnson asked Zanna to stop passing out flyers on county property during a town hall held by Sen. John McCain in November 2009. Zanna also accused Walker of libel after a letter to the editor from Walker and a letter from Sockwell were published in local newspapers. Zanna later dropped that claim from the lawsuit. Walker and the county were involved in another conflict in February 2010 when he refused to let Kingman resident Mervin Fried enter the County Administration Building with a pitchfork. Fried was arrested for trespassing and after a lengthy court process was acquitted of the charges. Fried was arrested again earlier this year after he wore a shirt with an obscenity on it to a public meeting on the county tax rate. He is currently fighting the charges. In March 2010, Walker increased the security presence at the County Administration Building by installing a metal detector, hiring more security officers and requiring all residents to check their guns when they entered the building. At the same time the Board approved changes to the county’s policies such as a dress code for Board meetings, prohibiting the public from passing out political information on the county grounds and prohibiting weapons in county buildings. According to a profile written in a 2002 edition of the Miner, Walker served 26 years in the Navy and retired as a captain in 1994. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from Eastern Texas State University and was teaching seventh and eighth graders in San Benito, Texas when he joined the Navy in the late 1960s. He went through the officers program and started work as an aerospace engineering duty officer for anti-submarine aircraft on aircraft carriers. He later moved to working on fighter planes. He earned two masters degrees in systems management from the University of Southern California and in financial management from National University while in the Navy. He served on the USS Saratoga in the aerospace repair facility during combat action in Libya and during the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking in 1985. He also was a senior leader in various other Navy aerospace maintenance and engineering organizations, including Attack Carrier Air Wing Fifteen, Naval Air Station Miramar, in San Diego, a deputy commander for Naval Aviation Depots in Washington D.C., an adjunct professor in management science at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, Calif., and a director of the Department of the Navy Total Quality Management Training Center and Naval Leadership Training Unit in San Diego. When he retired from the Navy in 1994 he moved to Lake Havasu City and started work as a management consultant with the Federal Quality Institute of Washington, DC. He completed performance audits and worked with executives. He ran in the 2000 primary against Treasurer Dora Goodmiller and lost. He then applied for the county manager’s position. He was one of four finalists and was offered the job in 2001. Read more at the Daily Miner.

Clermont County, Ohio (population 197,363): Clermont County Administrator David Spinney has announced plans to retire Jan. 1. Spinney has served as the county administrator for the past 10 years. Prior to serving as county administrator, Spinney was an assistant county administrator and the director of planning and development. He was the Milford city manager between 1988 and 1994. Spinney was the town manager of Indian Head, Maryland between 1985 and1988.  Spinney has been a public servant for more than 36 years. Spinney said his biggest accomplishments involve local transportation and infrastructure improvements. Read more at Consider This Clermont.

Alexandria, Virginia (population 152,583): When Rashad Young arrives in Alexandria to begin his job as the new city manager, he plans to listen for nuance as well as broad points of view. The council plans to vote on and execute his contract Monday. Young, the city manager in Greensboro, N.C. (population 269,666), has had experience with thorny community issues both in North Carolina and in Dayton, Ohio, where he previously worked. The Alexandria that Young walks into is a community with a $566 million budget and several major challenges around every corner. The future of the Alexandria waterfront, the relocation of 6,400 federal workers into the city’s Mark Center and the fate of the GenOn power plant property after its shutdown next year all offer chances for city government to succeed — or fail. Young said he had been briefed on those issues but needs to learn more. Working in the Washington area has long been a goal for him, and these issues “will shape this community for years to come,” he said. Young and his wife of nine years, Tameka, drove from Greensboro to Alexandria for a weekend visit and toured the city by car, foot and boat. They have not decided where to live or what schools their two boys, both preschoolers, will attend. Young said one of his accomplishments in Greensboro was reorganizing city government, which he completed, he said, by “asking, ‘Why is it structured this way? Does that help or hinder our [goals]?’ If you lead with what you’re trying to accomplish, rather than ‘Does this fit the personalities we have?,’ I think you have a better conversation, a better basis for what you’re trying to achieve.” Read more at The Washington Post.

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. Read more at Fox 8.

The Alexandria job, which pays between $190,000 and $225,000, has been vacant since May, when James Hartmann left to work for Seminole County, Fla. Bruce Johnson, Alexandria’s chief financial officer has been acting city manager since May. He was not a candidate for the manager’s job. Read more at The Washington Post.

Plantation, Florida (population 84,866): Plantation city officials next week will name its chief administrative officer, who serves as the right hand man to the mayor. Gary Shimun, Davie’s former Town Administrator, was chosen from a field of 73 applicants. Davie officials fired him in January amid complaints he kept council members in the dark and ignored calls from residents. Unlike most cities in Broward County, Plantation’s elected mayor acts like a city manager, running the city’s day-to-day business, supervising department heads and preparing the budget. Mayor Diane Veltri Bendekovic’s salary is $117,221. But Plantation’s mayor has had an assistant who serves in a similar role as a city manager. If the Council approves the hiring on Wednesday, Shimun would replace Dan Keefe, who is retiring Dec. 30. Shimun is expected to earn the same salary as his boss. Councilman Bob Levy said Shimun’s resume was the only one he was sent. He said the council was asked to interview Shimun privately by next week. “I put in a call to him yesterday but he hasn’t returned my call,” Levy said. “He’s a credentialed city manager which is important. On paper he looks great. His qualifications of course are impeccable but I do want to know what happened in Davie, that’s what I want to ask him about.” Read more at the Sun Sentinel.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin (population 65,883): City Manager Mike Huggins announced that he is resigning from his position, effective mid-December. Huggins has served as Eau Claire City Manager since 2006. During a phone interview, with the Chippewa Valley Post, Huggins said he is in good health, does not have another job lined up, nor does he plan on moving from the City of Eau Claire. When asked, Huggins said he was not planning on running for any political seat nor does he, at this time, plan on pursing another career for the City of Eau Claire. The City Manager is responsible for the hiring and managing of the city staff; carrying out the directives of the City Council; and assisting the City Council in developing policy and strategic directions to provide for the common good of the people of Eau Claire. In his blog post, Huggins said his priorities as City Manager include providing the appropriate executive leadership to assure timely, equitable, and fiscally responsive delivery of City services; encouraging informed and responsible citizen engagement in local governance and community decision-making; and strengthening the community and intergovernmental partnerships essential for maintaining a high quality of life for all residents. With Huggins resignation, the city council must now appoint an interim city manager and start the process of recruiting a permanent city manager to replace him. The process could take anywhere from  3 to 6 months from Huggins last day on the job. Read more in the Chippewa Valley Post.

East Lansing, Michigan (population 48,579): More than 100 people attended a farewell ceremony for Ted Staton on Sunday at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. Staton served East Lansing as City Manager for 16 years. Speakers including East Lansing Police Chief Juli Liebler, Mayor Victor Loomis and representatives from the city council, Michigan State University and East Lansing Public Schools paid tribute to Staton’s service.  Staton was presented with a series of gifts from local leaders throughout the event – a varsity letter jacket, books and a video looking back at his tenure – but the most impressive was a check presentation for the newly established Staton Family Endowment Fund. The fund honoring the Staton family’s commitment to education has raised $25,450 so far. The money will be used by the East Lansing Educational Foundation to add tools like books, technology and musical instruments to East Lansing schools. Staton will become the city manager of Upper Arlington in Ohio, and the speakers took pleasure in ribbing Staton about moving to Ohio State University territory. Even Staton’s goodbye cake depicted a Buckeye succumbing to a Spartan. Read more in the Lansing State Journal.

Tigard, Oregon (population 48,486): New city manager Marty Wine will take hold of Tigard with a $140,000 annual salary on Dec. 1. While much of her eight-page contract is standard and mirroring that of former city manager Craig Prosser, Wine will also get her requests granted for a $4,800 subsidy to pay for rent for six months and money up to $10,000 for closing costs in the sale of her current home in Newcastle, Wash. The council members acknowledged her requests were “not common but not unheard of,” and considered the difficult housing market for Wine’s move. Wine will also get one week of paid vacation when she begins, although city policy now indicates employees must wait six months to get any paid time off. Councilor Marland Henderson called the terms a “friendly offer” and the council voted unanimously to approve the five-year contract, which can be terminated at any time. This means a pay bump for Wine, who said her current salary as assistant chief administrative officer of Renton, Wash., is $132,100. The salary is also slightly below that of Prosser’s, which was $140,907 when he left office, interim city manager Liz Newton said. Read more at The Oregonian.
Cowley County, Kansas (population 36,311): Jeremy Willmoth, the finance director for Raytown, Mo., will become the new Cowley County adminstrator. The new administrator is expected to start the job Dec. 1. According to interim administrator Phil Jarvis, Willmoth was notified Saturday by consultant Bob Saunders, who facilitated the search, that he had been selected. Willmoth has agreed to take the position and already notified his current employer, Jarvis said. He has been Raytown’s finance director since January 2008. Raytown is located southeast of Kansas City, Mo., and has a population of around 29,500. He previously was employed as the deputy director of finance for Jackson County, Mo., also in the Kansas City area, from May 2006 to January 2008, and was budget administrator for the same county from July 2000 to May 2006. Willmoth earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Park University in Parkville, Mo., in 1999 and a master’s degree in public affairs from the same school in 2006. Read more at the Arkansas City Traveler.

Willmoth will be offered a starting annual base salary of $90,000; a monthly car allowance of $300 and monthly cell phone allowance of $50; family health and dental insurance offered at the same rate charged to other county employees; and eligibility for 10 working days of vacation and 12 sick leave days upon full employment with the county. Additionally, Willmoth will be allowed to obtain three written bids for moving expenses, with the county to pay the lowest bid for relocation to Cowley County. The projected date of full employment is on or before Dec. 1. Read more at The Winfield Daily Courier.

Duluth, Georgia (population 31,942): A selection committee appointed by the Duluth City Council recommended Tim Shearer, former city administrator for Angels Camp, CA, as the sole finalist for the position of Duluth city manager. The council will soon act on the committee’s recommendation, according to an announcement by the city. Shearer was selected following a nationwide search that included rounds of interviews and in-depth reference and background checks. The city received a total of 31 resumes from individuals throughout the United States. If approved, Shearer would succeed Phil McLemore, who is retiring after 15 years of dedicated service as city administrator. The council recently changed the name of the position from city administrator to city manager to reflect the actual duties of the position. McLemore officially retires on Dec. 31. “I have been blessed with the opportunity of serving Duluth for the past 15 years working with great people to take Duluth to a higher level of quality and livability,” he said. McLemore plans to stay on for a few months to assist with the new city manager’s transition into the job. Shearer has more than 20 years of experience in local government, including the past 15 years as the administrator for Angels Camp, a city with a population of 3,441 in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Angels Camp is the only incorporated city in Calaveras County, the home of Mark Twain’s famous “Jumping Frog Jubilee.” The remainder of the county is unincorporated. Prior to his service in Angels Camp, Shearer spent six years leading Sycamore Township in Ohio.  He also has over 28 years of military service and is a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. During his tenure in Angels Camp, Shearer was responsible for bringing stability and financial security to the city by restructuring its finances and aggressively pursuing grants and other outside funding sources, the announcement stated. He also formed a regional transportation agency and worked with the business community to develop a Branding Marketing Action Plan. Shearer is also reportedly knowledgeable and proactive in economic development. Shearer holds a master’s degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies in addition to a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Political Science. He and his wife Paula are parents of three boys. Read more at the Duluth Patch.

Juneau, Alaska (population 31,275): City Manager Rod Swope has made it official – he’s retiring for good on March 31, 2012. Swope already retired from the city once, more than two years ago. At the time, the CBJ Assembly unsuccessfully went through the process of trying to find a replacement. Swope took six months off, and agreed to come back and work on a two year contract. Now he says he’ll stay on a little longer than that. That means he’ll be stepping down in the middle of the city’s biennial budget process. Swope generally puts the budget together early in the calendar year. The assembly then holds hearings on it during March and April, and approves it – with changes – in May or June. The assembly was scheduled to hold its annual retreat on Tuesday, where the topic of recruiting a new city manager was on the agenda. Read at KTOO News.

North Andover, Massachusetts (population 29,562): Andrew Maylor finally made it past being a finalist. For the first time since 2004, when the Swampscott town administrator began seeking a town manager’s post, Maylor has been offered a position, this time in North Andover. The Board of Selectmen, which currently has four members due to the recent resignation of Daniel Lanen, unanimously voted Monday to offer Maylor the position of town manager, subject to successful negotiations and an additional background check. After the vote, selectmen took a recess to call Maylor, who accepted the offer. Maylor, 49, has served as Swampscott town administrator since 2002, and is the chairman of the board of directors for the Essex Regional Retirement System. He has applied and been named a finalist for several town manager positions, including in Billerica, Wakefield, and Winthrop. As of Monday, he was also among the four town manager finalists in Winchester, along with outgoing Malden Mayor Richard C. Howard, Saugus town manager Andrew R. Bisignani, and Belmont town administrator Thomas G. Younger. Younger was also a finalist for the North Andover post. Selectwoman Rosemary Connelly Smedile said having “such great candidates” made a final decision difficult, but the board chose Maylor. Selectman Donald B. Stewart said Maylor indicated to the board in interviews that he could start the job within 60 days of giving notice in Swampscott. Connelly Smedile and the board’s chairwoman, Tracy M. Watson, were appointed to negotiate with Maylor. Maylor would take over the seat vacated in July by Mark Rees, who served as town manager for 10 years before taking the city manager’s job in Portland, Maine. Read more at the Boston Globe.

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. Read more at the Independent Mail.

Carlsbad, New Mexico (population 26,138): A former city administrator has been appointed to take over as interim administrator for the city of Carlsbad while the City Council looks for a permanent hire – and he’s doing it for free. Mayor Dale Janway announced Friday that he had selected Jon Tully as the interim city administrator pending City Council approval at their regular meeting Oct. 25. Tully has been retired for six years, but was a city employee for 33 years – the last 13 years as city administrator. The position became open after current administrator Harry Burgess accepted the position of county administrator in Los Alamos. He said his strategy is to move projects that are currently in progress toward finality, like the various construction projects, adding that city government is “always in a continuum.” According to a press release, Tully has asked to serve without pay until a new city administrator is found. On Friday, Janway also announced the selection committee for a new city administrator. The committee is made up of Mayor Pro tem Wesley Carter as chairman; councilors Janell Whitlock, Paul Aguilar and Dick Doss; and community members Mario Salinas, Steve McCutcheon and the Rev. Robert Smith. The committee will be charged with bringing the four top applicants to the mayor and council. Carter said Friday that the committee is advertising regionally for a new city administrator, placing ads in the local newspaper as well as in Albuquerque and Las Cruces newspapers. Carter added that, with contract negotiations with the union pending at the start of next year, it would be unfair to throw someone new in right away. Janway said in the release that the city is indeed fortunate to have a person of Tully’s caliber to serve in the interim. Read more at the Carlsbad Current-Argus.

Somerset County, Maryland (population 26,470): Doug Taylor, the director of the Somerset County Roads Department for the past seven years, was named the new county administrator in a 3-2 vote. Taylor has been in charge of the County Roads Department since 2004. During his time there, Taylor had overseen renovations of Wenona Harbor and Websters Cove Marina, the rebuilding of the county dock in Crisfield, the replacement of several bridges in the county and numerous repaving projects. Prior to working for the county, he was employed at Eastern Correctional Institution. Although his appointment was effective Tuesday, Taylor won’t start his new job until Oct. 24. 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. The previous board of County Commissioners decided not to look for a permanent replacement for Boston until after last November’s election, saying it would be unfair to hire someone, and then have them possibly lose the job a few months later under a new board. Read more at DelMarVaNOW.

Burlington, Massachusetts (population 24,498): There were visible emotions at the Burlington Board of Selectmen’s meeting last night as long-term Town Administrator Robert Mercier announced his retirement. Mercier said he would officially retire in May of next year, after the passing of the FY2013 annual budget. Mercier became Burlington’s first Town Administrator in 1980 and held the position until 1986. From 1986 to 1998, Mercier held other positions outside of town; doings stints as the Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO with offices in Woburn and as the town administrator for Billerica in Boxford, before returning to Burlington. Mercier said he would guide the town through the planning and completion of next year’s budget process. He also said he would help in any manner the Selectmen wished to help with the transition. Mercier ended by saying how difficult it is for him to leave a position he loves and the people he works with that have become his friends. After Mercier read his retirement announcement, all the members of the Board and Assistant Town Administrator Thomas Hickey all took turns expressing their thoughts. All agreed they were saddened to hear the news, but happy for Mercier and wished him well in his retirement. Chair of the Board Walter Zenkin said the news, which he learned earlier in the day, “shocked and saddened” him. Selectman Bob Hogan, who is also Burlington’s Director of Veteran Affairs, said Mercier will be missed by the town employees. Hickey agreed, explaining that Mercier first hired him in 1991 and four and half years ago brought him on as the assistant Town Administrator. Read more at the Burlington Patch.

Auburn, Maine (population 22,433): Police Chief Phil Crowell said Tuesday he will spend the next three weeks researching ways the City Council can find a permanent replacement for ousted City Manager Glenn Aho. City Councilors voted 6-0 Tuesday night to appoint Crowell to perform the city manager’s job until the next council meeting on Nov. 7. That night, councilors are expected to come up with a replacement plan. Crowell will remain police chief in title during that time. He said he plans to look for a search firm to help find Aho’s replacement. Councilors voted Monday to terminate Aho’s employment agreement, placing him on 90 days’ paid leave. According to Aho’s employment agreement, he is due a severance package equal to six months’ salary and benefits if he is terminated without cause. Under Aho’s $109,000 salary, that amounts to $54,500, plus unused vacation and benefits. Mayor Dick Gleason said Monday that councilors did not discuss Aho’s severance package or who would succeed him. The City Charter says the assistant manager can fill the role in the manager’s absence, but the city has not had an assistant manager since July 1. Up to July 1, Crowell acted as assistant manager while Aho and his department heads worked out a new, team-based management approach. Crowell said he has faith in the team approach and it would stay in place. In addition to Aho and the assistant manager job, the finance director position is still vacant. The city has hired Jill Eastman to fill that slot, but she is not scheduled to begin until Nov. 7. Crowell said he would move to fill the vacant fire chief’s position. Geoff Lowe, assistant fire chief, has been acting as interim chief of that department. For his part, Crowell said he was happy with his job as police chief and was not looking to be city manager permanently. Read more at the Sun Journal.

East Moline, Illinois (population 20,726): East Moline has a new city administrator, according to a news release issued this morning. Cole O’Donnell is scheduled to start the job on Jan. 3, 2012. O’Donnell was selected from a field of 11 finalists recommended by the executive recruitment firm Voorhees Associates LLC. O’Donnell is a graduate of Ballard High School in Huxley, Iowa. He attended Iowa State University where he earned both his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1991 and his master’s degree in public administration in 2003. O’Donnell has 17 years of experience in city administration and finance. O’Donnell currently lives in Algona, Iowa, where he is city administrator. He will be relocating to East Moline with his wife, Peggy, and four children, Evan, Samantha, Colin and Liam. Read more at the Quad-City Times.

Ashland, Oregon (population 20,078): A former city manager for Oregon City will take the reins of Ashland’s city government as officials here search for a new city administrator. The City Council confirmed Larry Patterson’s appointment as interim city administrator earlier this week. Patterson will begin work in Ashland on Monday, overlapping for a few days with City Administrator Martha Bennett, who will end her five-year tenure in Ashland on Wednesday, Ashland Human Resources Director Tina Gray said. Patterson will likely serve as interim city administrator for four to six months. He retired from his Oregon City job in 2010 and told Ashland officials he wasn’t interested in becoming the permanent city administrator. He has 35 years of experience in municipal government. Bennett is leaving to take the chief operating officer position for Portland Metro, a regional governing body. Mayor John Stromberg said it’s a sign of Bennett’s strong leadership skills that she is moving from a town with about 20,000 people to a job where she will serve an area with more than 1 million residents. Stromberg said Bennett always demonstrated integrity, treated city staff respectfully while requiring accountability and communicated frankly with elected officials. He said Bennett, who is a parent, was a true member of the community, shopping at local stores and riding her bike around town. Bennett echoed those sentiments. She said Ashland is filled with people who care deeply about the community and various issues. Bennett said the town has big city-caliber city government staff members who choose to live and work here. The Waters Consulting Group, Inc., which is based in Texas, is conducting a nationwide search for a new city administrator for a fee of $21,500. The salary range for the job is $116,864 to $137,978 annually. Bennett is at the top of that salary range. Her health care and retirement benefits are worth nearly $66,000 per year, Gray said. The total value of her salary and benefits is about $203,700. While he is interim city administrator, Patterson will earn a salary, cash payments in lieu of benefits and a rental housing allowance each month that would equate to $174,324 if he worked for a full year, according to city of Ashland Human Resources Department figures. He will receive $350 per month for use of his personal vehicle at work, while Bennett had a $400 personal vehicle allowance, according to Patterson’s employment agreement with the city and Gray. Read more at the Mail Tribune.

Hyattsville, Maryland (population 15,570): Following the early resignation of former city administrator Gregory Rose, the Hyattsville City Council unanimously appointed Police Chief Doug Holland as the acting administrator, despite some concern that Holland’s new tasks may hinder the daily operations of the police department. Mayor Marc Tartaro recommended the appointment to the council during Monday night’s council work session. Rose officially resigned on Friday, about three months before the end of his contract, saying that his wife is ill and needed to move back to his family in Texas. Councilman Tim Hunt (Ward 3) suggested appointing Holland, but to only keep him as acting city administrator for four weeks, when he would then step down in hopes of the council hiring a full-time city administrator. That motion was changed to say that rather than removing Holland from the position after the four week period, the council would review his position and would make a decision then to either remove him, keep him for longer or hire a full-time replacement at the Nov. 7 meeting. They discussed the immediate need of having an acting city administrator help the understaffed administration and keep a checks and balances system between the city staff and council. Hunt also requested that they look at potential programs offered by the Maryland Municipal League, as there could be someone within the program they could hire as acting city administrator, he said. Tartaro said bringing in someone new at this time would be a disservice to the city. Some council members questioned whether the police department would function soundly without the same full-time effort from the police chief. Holland said he will be asking certain officers in the department to take on some additional duties while he fills the temporary vacancy. The council agreed to provide detailed guidance on Oct. 24, during a special council meeting. Read more at The Gazette.

Opa-locka, Florida (population 14,155): Opa-locka Interim City Manager Bryan Finnie was appointed by the commission to fill the city manager’s position until June 2012. Finnie was previously appointed as the interim city manager for 90 days after former City Manager Clarance Patterson left his post on June 17. The city was planning to hire a new city manager by September, but instead they decided to offer the position to Finnie. His salary will be $105,000 per year. Among the projects Finnie is working on are: the Sherebondy and the Segal parks rehabilitations. The Sherebondy Park, near City Hall, has been under construction for years. The city project features a building that will be used as a gym. However, the renovation has been long and controversial. Before constructing the gym, the pump station located in the park needed to be upgraded in order for the building to have appropriate sewage. The city projected its completion at the beginning of this year, but due to delays in getting a constructing company, the pump station is in its initial stages of development. In the Segal Park, the city is implementing the second phase of the renovation that includes the restoration of the Helen L. Miller center, which will become a warehouse for the city. Finnie said that in his short tenure, he has encouraged Opa-locka to believe that goals are accomplishable. Finnie also was Opa-locka’s interim manager in 2010. He has worked as an economic development consultant and was also the director of Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust. Read more at The Miami Herald.

Montville, New Jersey (population 11,471): Township Administrator Frank Bastone has told department heads and Township Committee members he will be retiring at the start of December after five years serving Montville, officials said. Bastone will be retiring Dec. 1, marking 33 years since he began working as a public employee in Morris County. Bastone came to Montville in 2006. Prior to working in Montville, he was assistant administrator in Mount Olive. Bastone said he will work with the Township Committee and staff on a very smooth transition. Committee members talked about the matter in closed session Tuesday because it involved discussion of personnel whose duties might be affected when the town hires an interim administrator. Read more at the Montville Patch.

Mendota Heights, Minnesota (population 11,071): The Mendota Heights City Council announced their pick for city administrator Friday. Their selection, Justin Miller, is the city administrator for Falcon Heights. He was one of three finalists interviewed for the position. The city received 45 applications for the job of city administrator following the departure of David McKnight over the summer. McKnight left to take the city administrator position in his hometown of Farmington. Council member Jack Vitelli said that the three finalists were all solid candidates, but he was particularly impressed by Miller’s forthright and intelligent responses to interview questions as well as his personality. Vitelli also said that Miller had been the second choice in 2009 when McKnight was hired. Mayor Sandra Krebsbach said the decision was unanimous among the five council members. She said Miller’s strong leadership skills, current data management experience and technology skills will be an asset to the city. In addition, she said he will be instrumental in developing the city’s industrial park. Miller has served in Falcon Heights since 2006. Prior to that he has been employed with the cities of Chanhassen and Des Moines, IA, according to a statement released by the city. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration from Austin College of Sherman, TX and a masters of public administration degree from the University of Kansas. Miller is a credentialed manager with the International City/County Management Association. Tammy Schutta, Mendota Heights human resources coordinator, said that the city will perform a variety of background checks and negotiate a salary before offering a final contract, expected to be before the council Nov. 1. The pay range offered is $88,000-$107,000.* Diehm said Miller will need to provide 45 days notice to Falcon Heights upon finalization of the contract. That puts his start date sometime in mid-December. Read more at the Mendota Heights Patch.

Flagler Beach, Florida (population 8,698): After spending more than nine months in a holding pattern, city commissioners agreed Thursday night that Bruce Campbell should be Flagler Beach’s permanent city manager. Officials and residents heaped praise on Campbell, who has been the acting city manager since January. Residents, who filled nearly every seat in the room during the regular meeting, applauded the commission’s 5-0 decision. Mayor Alice Baker said Campbell has been “hands-on” over the last nine months. Having a local person who “votes here, lives here, pays taxes here,” makes a difference, she said. Flagler Beach has not had a permanent city manager in more than five years. Campbell succeeded former acting City Manager Caryn Miller. She was in the role for about three months after Interim City Manager Bernie Murphy retired. He spent about five years in that position. Campbell, who was employed as a building maintenance worker, was a finalist for the city manager position when the city interviewed applicants for the position in September. Previously, Campbell worked in various management positions at The Timken Co. and was president of Camaco/Lorain County Automotive. He lives in the city. Last April, Commissioner Steve Settle asked the other commissioners to consider hiring Campbell as the permanent city manager. But Chairman John Feind, Vice Chair Jane Mealy and Commissioner Marshall Shupe said they wanted to wait. Feind said he wanted to wait to see how Campbell handled the city’s 2012 budget. Several residents and former commissioners also spoke on Campbell’s behalf. Doug Baxter, president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce and Affiliates, said he’s had a good working relationship with Campbell. Campbell said during an interview afterward that he’ll “keep doing what I’ve been doing.” Read more at The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

The key was Commission Chairman John Feind’s shift. He had opposed Campbell’s appointment going back to last spring, when he was winnowed out of 140 applicants. Feind was unsure about Campbell’s capabilities, Campbell’s executive experience having been exclusively in the private sector. Commissioner Jane Mealy was opposed on the same grounds. Feind was also turned off by the political rallying around Campbell’s candidacy, including petitions, noisy public meetings and a constant drumbeat of vocal protest whenever commissioners failed to give Campbell the final nod. In the end, Feind said he’d make his decision based on Campbell’s performance during budget season. That’s over. There were a few, all supportive of Campbell, including from Mayor Alice Baker, Richard Price, a resident in Flagler Beach who speaks at almost every commission meeting, Terry Potter, who’s been the public face of Save Flagler Beach, and Doug Baxter, president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce. Those comments, knowing the vote virtually sealed, focused on Mealy as they pressed for a unanimous vote. Even Ron Vath, the former city commissioner, made an appearance before the panel he’d served on almost a decade. He, too, asked for a unanimous vote, and thanked Feind in “coming forth with a reasonable” agenda item. Throughout, Campbell, who’d been silent almost the entire meeting, sat back in his chair, next to city attorney Drew Smith, his hands clasped, chewing, as he often does, gum and occasionally writing notes in his white legal pad. The only real surprise of the evening was Mealy’s vote: she actually made the motion to give Campbell the job–pending a routine background check. The motion, technically speaking, was not an outright job award, but to have the city attorney draft a contract with Campbell (the job pays about $90,000 a year), pending the results of a thorough background check. By one count, the entire discussion sealing Campbell’s appointment lasted less than 15 minutes Thursday evening, by the time the vote was taken at 7:43 p.m. In fact, it had lasted 18 months. Read more at Flagler Live.

McCook, Nebraska (population 7,338): The McCook City Council approved an employment agreement with J. Jeff Hancock for the McCook city manager position, Monday evening, during a regularly scheduled meeting at council chambers. During a phone interview this morning from Warrensburg, Missouri, Hancock said he was excited about coming to McCook and planned to initially spend as much as time as possible with city staff, employees and the City Council, in order to get an assessment of the community and begin building relationships. Hancock said examining finances, “to see where we are at,” would also be at the top of his early priority list. Hancock said he had found a place to live already and planned to move from Warrensburg on Friday, Oct. 28. Hancock’s annual salary will be set at $85,000 with an 11 percent retirement plan. Other benefits in the agreement include an additional $5,000 annual reimbursement to cover expenses of using his personal vehicle for city-related business; $6,000 to cover moving expenses; and a city paid cell phone. Hancock has 30 years of experience as a city manager, city administrator or assistant city manager. Read more at the McCook Daily Gazette.

St. Helena, California (population 5,765): St. Helena’s next city manager will be Gary Broad, current town manager of Ross in Marin County. The St. Helena City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve Broad’s employment agreement, which gives him a $155,000 base salary — equal to that of former City Manager Mary Neilan. Broad was one of 116 applicants for the job. The council’s consultant, Bob Murray and Associates, prepared a list of 12 finalists. The council interviewed six of them, held follow-up interviews with two finalists, and selected Broad. Broad’s first day of work will be Monday, Nov. 14. Broad has a bachelor’s degree in economics and government from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and master’s degrees in city and regional planning and public administration from UC Berkeley. Broad has served in the town of Ross, population 2,300, for almost 20 years, as planning director, town administrator and currently town manager. He previously worked for the city of Petaluma for two years. Broad thanked the council for choosing him. He said he’s enjoyed meeting department heads and looks forward to working with city staff and the community. Broad lives in San Rafael. In addition to Broad’s $155,000 salary, his contract awards him medical, dental, life and long-term disability insurance; housing reimbursement of up to $24,000 for one year if Broad moves to St. Helena; up to $15,000 reimbursement for moving costs; 20 vacation days, five days of administrative leave, and two personal holidays per year; enrollment in the Public Employees’ Retirement System at the “2 percent at 55” formula, with the city paying the employee’s and employer’s contributions; and a matching contribution to the International City Management retirement plan of up to $200 a year. Like Neilan, Broad is entitled to six months of severance pay if the council fires him without cause. Broad may use a city vehicle for city business, or be reimbursed for mileage on his own vehicle. Read more at the St. Helena Star.

Broad will conduct his final Ross Town Council meeting Nov. 10 and begin in St. Helena Nov. 14. St. Helena’s previous city manager, Mary Neilan, was fired last March. Broad’s base salary in Ross was $196,000. According to the California state controller’s office salary report from 2009, Broad was making $220,234 in Ross, the highest among current city and town managers in Marin County. Read more at the Ross Valley Reporter.

Chadron, Nebraska (population 5,509): Chadron City Manager Sandy Powell resigned Monday, less than two weeks after a highly charged election that resulted in recall of Chadron mayor John Chizek  and vice mayor Steve Duncan. Acting at the first regularly scheduled meeting following the election, the three remaining council members, Donny Grantham, Levi Grant and Karin Fisher, moved a scheduled executive session performance review for Powell to the top of the meeting agenda, and emerged after ten minutes to unanimously approve Powell’s resignation and a separation agreement. The separation agreement provides Powell with the six months of severance pay specified in her original contract with the city, and stipulates that no other information about the agreement will be released to the public. Powell, who became city manager in April, 2007, had been the focus of criticism for  months. In Feburary  a group called Concerned Citizens of Dawes County and Chadron circulated petitions demanding that she be fired. The group later called for an investigation of Powell’s conduct with regard to a number of allegations of misconduct including interfering with citizens’ rights, creating a hostile work environment for city staff,  misuse of city funds for a pilot training class, and a conflict of interest regarding her husbands employment as subcontractor for the city wastewater treatment plant. A Scottsbluff attorney called in to act as a third party investigator of the complaints found that Powell had not acted illegally on any of 17 specific matters, but members of the Concerned Citizens group said the investigation was flawed, and unduly influenced in Powell’s favor by then-mayor Chizek. Read more at The Chadron Record.

Madeira Beach, Florida (population 4,505): Bill Mallory’s 33-week tenure as interim city manager has come to abrupt end. Mallory submitted a letter to Mayor Travis Palladeno and commissioners resigning from the position, effective Oct. 14. The resignation comes two days after a tumultuous city commission meeting in which Mallory was criticized and his actions questioned by past and current city officials. He will remain as chief of the Madeira Beach Fire Department. The city’s loss of virtually all of its senior management personnel, through resignations and firings, left Mallory performing the duties of city manager, community development director (zoning, plans review, code enforcement), community services (public works, streets, storm water, sanitation, parks, recreation), and finance (finances, payroll, risk management, insurance, human resources, parking). He had been in the final stages of interviews with candidates to fill some of these positions. Mallory has undergone criticism of his performance, mostly from Commissioners Robin Vander Velde and Nancy Oakley, almost since he took on the added duties of city manager in March. In August, Vander Velde had a critique of Mallory’s performance written by her inserted in his personnel file. That action was protested by Mallory and later overturned by the commission. At the latest commission meeting on Oct. 12, Mallory was criticized and accused of lying by Vander Velde, who said he failed to inform the commission that a financial consultant, brought in to help prepare the city budget in the absence of a finance director, was paid far in excess of an agreed-to limit. Vander Velde also accused Mallory of hiring the consultant as a part-time employee, rather than as a contractor, without the commission’s knowledge. Mallory said he had properly alerted the commission of the need to exceed the spending cap, and he said the status of the consultant as a part-time employee was recommended by the human resources manager to facilitate the payment process. The city attorney said Mallory could be reprimanded for failing to get a vote of approval before exceeding the spending cap established by the commission. At the same meeting, Mallory was faulted by former commissioner Martha Boos for interviewing the finance director candidates on his own, when, in her view, he lacked the financial knowledge to do so. Criticisms were also leveled by former city manager Jim Madden. Mallory defended his performance and work ethic in the resignation letter, saying he took on the additional jobs “without complaint, nor did I ask to have the terms of my contract amended to reflect those additional duties.” Mallory’s departure leaves the running of the city solely in the hands of the mayor and commission. Palladeno indicated the city is moving quickly to replace Mallory as interim city manager. He said he had spoken to another manager in city government regarding his availability and “have been assured that he can handle the position temporarily and will work to fill the code enforcement position immediately.” Though Palladeno did not name the individual he is considering, indications are it is marina director Dave Marsicano. Marsicano is the only manager left in Madeira Beach city government, and the mayor is known to be pleased with his performance as marina director. Read more at TBN Weekly.

Amid sharp criticism from residents and even one of its own members, the City Commission hired controversial former City Manager Jim Madden Tuesday to temporarily run the city. With a 3-1 vote, the commission offered Madden, also city resident, the job of interim city manager at a $2,000 per week salary. Madden replaces Fire Chief Chief Bill Mallory who resigned Friday as interim city manager after being accused last week by Madden and some commissioners of lying to the commission. Madden, who also called for Mallory to be fired, will now run the city until the commission can hire a permanent city manager, likely in December. A consultant hired to search for that new manager said he has received more 100 applications and inquiries from candidates in just the last two weeks. Mayor Travis Palladeno proposed Madden’s hiring and was supported by Commissioners Nancy Oakley and Robin Vander Velde. The three said the city is facing crucial deadlines to file required reports to the county and state and needs an experienced manager. Palladeno said a financial report is overdue to the state and a property tax report is due to the county next week. He and the other commissioners also hope that Madden can quickly fill several open positions, including finance director, planning/development director and code enforcement officer. Commissioner Terry Lister sharply disagreed, pointing out that Madden is currently suing the city over the severance package given former city manager W.D. Higginbotham Jr. by the previous commission. Madden also previously served as the city’s manager for two years until he was placed on administrative leave in 2004 (at his request) amid efforts to fire him. Previously, he was city manager in Pinellas Park until the commission there fired him in 1997. Despite repeated requests, Palladeno refused to allow Lister to propose another candidate for the interim manager position. At Vander Velde’s urging, Madden pledged not to access any documents relating to his lawsuit against the city. For more than a year, Madden has been a frequent visitor to city commission meetings, often criticizing the city’s budget and management. But Tuesday, it was Madden’s turn to hear sharp criticism from a large crowd of angry residents concerned about his record when he ran the city. Resident Steve Rayow said he decided to attend the meeting because he had become “so disappointed in the conduct of the members of this commission.” He said “something rotten” was going on in a city where the commission would want to bring back the “good old boy network” that included Madden and former Board of Adjustment chairman Joe Jorgensen. Resident Ken Jacobson begged the commission not to “scare away” a qualified permanent new city manager with less than a unanimous vote. Resident Diane Burkheimer chastised commissioners for not listening to residents. Resident Jan Stack similarly told the commission they needed to apologize to Mallory for what she said were “distasteful and tragic” comments about his job performance. Former city human resources manager Deborah Cline, who once threatened to sue the city for creating a hostile work environment and is now out of a job in a budget cutback, reminded the commission that Madden had twice resigned as manager and had problems with city employees. But despite that support and the continued determination of the three commission members (Vice Mayor Carol Reynolds did not attend the meeting), the loudest applause came when former Commissioner Steve Kochick told Palladeno, Oakley and Vander Velde they face a recall effort if they hired Madden. Nonetheless, after the vote to hire Madden, Palladeno asked the city’s attorney to draw up a formal employment contract so that Madden could begin his new/old job “as soon as possible.” Read more at the St. Petersburg Times.

Chesterfield, New Hampshire (population 3,982): Goshen Fire Chief Sue Labrie has been selected from a field of 20 candidates to replace outgoing town administrator Charlene Nardi. After Nardi resigned on Aug. 29 to become the new town administrator in Williamsburg, Chesterfield selectman wasted no time in the search for her replacement. Nardi has agreed to meet with Labrie to familiarize her with the job until she has settled into it. Keilson said that Labrie may also have access to a new program supported by the Hampshire Council of Governments that is designed to assist towns in selecting town administrators as well as providing training to new administrators. The town administrator is responsible for the operation of the Select Board office, oversight of town departments and grant administration for the town. The position is 32 hours per week for a salary of roughly $39,000. Labrie, 47, said she will continue on as fire chief at Goshen’s all-volunteer department. According to Labrie, the position became available at the perfect time. Labrie said balancing her two jobs will require prioritizing emergencies and evaluating if she needs to respond personally to a fire call. Having worked with residents of Chesterfield, Labrie says she feels as though she already has a nice sense of the community. Labrie and her husband Bob Labrie live in Goshen with their three daughters. Her first day on the job was last Tuesday. Read more at the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Williams, Arizona (population 3,023): After two years without a permanent city manager, Williams City Council members have hired Brandon Buchanan to fill the position. Following Dennis Wells’ departure in November 2009, Williams City Finance Director Joe Duffy has acted as Interim City Manager. In May, Duffy pressed the city to begin a search for a candidate to fill the position. According to Williams Mayor John Moore, the search for a city manager began with 89 candidates. City Council members conferred and narrowed the field to six individuals. After interviews, three candidates were called back for a second interview. Buchanan, City Administrator in Oakley, Kansas for the past three years, came out on top. Buchanan attended graduate school at the University of Colorado School of Public Affairs. Prior to that, Buchanan received his BA from Arizona State. He began his higher education pursuing an architecture degree before switching gears. After completing his degree program, Buchanan moved into internships with the city of Phoenix. He then received his Masters in Public Administration and eventually began work for the city of Oakley. Originally from Arizona, Buchanan and his wife, Corrie, from the Los Angeles area, hoped to eventually move back westward to be closer to family. The Williams City Manager position looked like an excellent fit. Oakley’s population, at close to 2,000 people, is just a bit smaller than Williams. Buchanan said small towns provide opportunities for managers to really get involved in the community. Buchanan will finish up in Kansas Nov. 3. He and his family will move immediately, with Buchanan showing up for duty at city hall in Williams Nov. 9. He plans to hit the ground running, visiting with residents to get a pulse on concerns in the community. Read more at the Williams News.

Madison, Florida (population 3,006): On October 18, the Madison City Commissioners met in special session to write a profile for a new city manager.  During the regular meeting on October 11, the commissioners ironed out a severance package for retiring City Manager Harold Emrich, who has held the position for almost six years. The position opened at a special budget meeting on September 27 when Emrich tendered his resignation. At that meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to accept Emrich’s letter. Emrich said that he was willing to remain in the office through his hiring anniversary date (March 14, 2012) in order to assist with a new manager’s transition. However, the commissioners voted to terminate his employment when his agreement expires on December 31, 2011. During the October 11 meeting, the commissioners discussed Emrich’s severance pay and benefits. Commissioners Myra Valentine and Judy Townsend moved to offer pay and benefits through December 31 with Emrich’s service ending on October 11. The motion was approved unanimously, and Emrich departed from the meeting. Paul Sharon of the International City/County Management Association offered assistance with the process at no cost to the city. He advised the commissioners to design a profile of the person they would hire, then advertise the position with the profile, salary range, and other pertinent factors. The commissioners will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, October 18, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the profile. Catron stressed that the public will be welcome at the meeting to offer input into the description. The commissioners expect to close advertising at the end of November so that Sharon can have time to review the resumes submitted and offer recommendations. Following that, the commissioners will conduct a series of interviews. Mayor Jim Catron said that he expects to have a new manager in place in February. Meanwhile, he (Catron) will serve as far as legally possible to carry out the duties of a manager. According to City Attorney Clay Schnitker, Catron can sign checks and invoices, but cannot instruct employees or mediate employee complaints. The commissioners decided that department heads will continue to supervise employees as usual. Schnitker offered a short list of persons who might fill in for emergency service. The decision to accept Catron’s services following former commissioner Jackie Johnson’s comment that paying the severance package while paying an interim manager would be an extra burden on the taxpayers. Read more at Greene Publishing.

Flandreau, South Dakota (population 2,341): The Flandreau City Council has devised a plan for its city administrator search. Council members and Mayor Warren Ludeman discussed at last week’s council meeting the best way to proceed in hiring a replacement for Chuck Jones, who resigned last month from his post as city administrator. Council members will read, on an individual basis, the resumes that come in to the office and later discuss the candidates during a council meeting executive session. The topic came up at the Oct. 3 meeting when Ludeman announced during his mayor’s report that he would like to form a three-member “preliminary” committee consisting of him and a pair of councilors. However, council member Dan Sutton said he’d rather have the entire council review applications. Ludeman said an entire council screening of each preliminary candidate could result in a more complicated process. Ludeman said a smaller committee could quickly weed out any applicants that seemed unqualified on the surface. Council member Bart Sample said he thought the process of hiring of current police chief Mike Eisenbarth went well. Public safety commission members got together and ranked their preferences for each candidate, he said. Ludeman then informed council members that they would have to hold an official meeting with public notice each time they had a gathering in which to review candidates. Sample then suggested that each member review resumes individually, for review at future meetings. Sutton eventually made a motion stating that each councilor would individually review the applications and the full council would discuss them at a future meeting during an executive session. The motion passed, with all councilors voting in favor. City finance officer Tammy Pitsenburger said that as of the Oct. 3 meeting she had already received three applications for the position. Read more at the Moody County Enterprise.

Irwindale, California (population 1,366): The City of Irwindale appointed South Pasadena City Manager John Davidson to serve as its new City Manager effective Nov. 7 at its Council meeting Wednesday night. Davidson, who came to South Pasadena as a part-time manager in June 2009, was up against approximately 30 other applicants, said Sharmeen Bhojani, Human Resources Manager for Irwindale. And even though Davidson was just hired as a full-time employee for South Pasadena in April 2011, Mayor Mike Ten says this was part of the plan—that Davidson was brought on to help guide Assistant City Manager Sergio Gonzalez. Gonzalez came to South Pasadena in 2003 as a part of the community services department. He was promoted to Assistant City Manager in 2008. Read more at the South Pasadena Patch.

Rosebud, Texas (population 1,201): The City of Rosebud has a new city administrator – Larry Waller. He was appointed by the Rosebud City Council at a special meeting on Sept. 27. Waller brings a blue-collar and white-collar background of experience to the position.  He has served as a lineman for a utilities company and has owned a CPA firm. In addition, he has volunteered to help Rosebud in the past and also served as the Rosebud interim city administrator for the last two months. So, the city council knew who they were hiring. Before hiring Waller, the Texas Municipal League confirmed that the city did not have to post the position. He will work 40 hours/week and be paid $43,000/year. When asked what his goal was, Waller said, “As city administrator, I would like to work alongside City Council and the citizens of Rosebud to make the City a vibrant, more attractive place to live and work.” Read more at The Rosebud News.

Wheeler, Oregon (population 345): Wheeler’s search for a permanent city manager has become more urgent with the termination of interim city manager William Lee at a special meeting of its city council Monday evening. Lee, who worked previously in Jackson County as a code enforcement officer, had worked for Wheeler since Aug. 8. His availability was made known to the city in its search for an interim city manager through the League of Oregon Cities. According to Mayor Stevie Burden, it boiled down to a difference of opinion between her and Lee on how the city should be managed. In an email to the Citizen, Lee stated he felt he was being micromanaged by Burden in violation of the city charter and his contract. “The reality is I was never at city hall more than once a week, but found that tasks weren’t being completed in a timely manner” said Burden, noting that others in the community had expressed similar concerns to her. The council approved a motion to terminate its contract with Lee by a 3-2 vote. The mayor did not cast a vote. In the meantime, the Wheeler City Council continues its search for a permanent city manager. The council had previously reviewed its job description and announcement for the position and looks to begin advertising for the city manager position in the coming weeks. Read more at the Tillamook Headlight Herald.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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