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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.