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.

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

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

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

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

Young came to Greensboro in October 2009 after being city manager of Dayton, Ohio, for three years. He replaced Mitch Johnson, who was fired in March 2009. Young was hired with a base salary of $179,500. He turned down a 3 percent pay raise passed by City Council in 2010, saying he shouldn’t be given a raise if city workers weren’t. Council also passed a 4 percent pay raise for Young in July, but Young turned that down as well. It would have raised his salary to $186,680, plus given him a $400 a month car allowance. Read more at Fox 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Somerset County, Maryland (population 26,470): Doug Taylor, the director of the Somerset County Roads Department for the past seven years, was named the new county administrator in a 3-2 vote. Taylor has been in charge of the County Roads Department since 2004. During his time there, Taylor had overseen renovations of Wenona Harbor and Websters Cove Marina, the rebuilding of the county dock in Crisfield, the replacement of several bridges in the county and numerous repaving projects. Prior to working for the county, he was employed at Eastern Correctional Institution. Although his appointment was effective Tuesday, Taylor won’t start his new job until Oct. 24. The county has been without a permanent administrator since the retirement of Sam Boston on Sept. 1, 2010, about six weeks before his death from cancer. Cindy Ward, a former administrative aide to the Commissioners for the past 15 years, has served on an interim basis since then. The county administrator serves at the pleasure of the County Commissioners and is appointed following each election. Taylor will serve out the remainder of the current term until the 2014 election. The previous board of County Commissioners decided not to look for a permanent replacement for Boston until after last November’s election, saying it would be unfair to hire someone, and then have them possibly lose the job a few months later under a new board. Read more at DelMarVaNOW.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transitions: Boynton Beach, FL; Littleton, CO; Sandusky, OH and more

Boynton Beach, Florida (population 64,281): Commissioners this week came ever-so-close to removing the “interim” from city manager Lori LaVerriere’s title. Marlene Ross and Woodrow Hay and Vice Mayor Bill Orlove voted yes. It required four. Commissioner Steven Holzman and Mayor José Rodrigez said the city should do a search, which could well come back to LaVerriere anyway. LaVerriere, who had been assistant manager since 2008, took over in June when Kurt Bressner stepped down after 11 years.

In August, City commissioners voted unanimously to bump LaVerriere’s pay from $104,828 to $140,000. Bressner had earned $168,299.

Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday for human resources director Julie Oldbury to start a search. She said it would take about three months and suggested that competency tests for 10 finalists would run about $6,500. Oldbury also said Fort Lauderdale, at Boynton Beach’s request, sent résumés from a dozen finalists for manager and she would invite those people to apply. And although the position hasn’t been advertised, about a half dozen people have inquired about it or the assistant manager’s post. Orlove said layoffs and budget cuts have left the department with low morale and he worried about continuity, not to mention the time needed for a new person to learn the job. But Rodriguez and Holzman said even if the search came back to LaVerriere, it might uncover new ideas for how to run the city. Read more at The Palm Beach Post News.

Littleton, Colorado (population 41,737): The Littleton City Council welcomed new faces to two of the city’s most integral positions during its regular meeting Oct. 4. City Manager Michael Penny was wrapping up his second day on the job with his first city council meeting. A reception was held in his honor prior to the session to officially celebrate his arrival in Littleton. He’s taking over for former City Manager Jim Woods, who retired Sept. 30 after nearly three decades with the city. Penny is a Boulder native who spent the last seven years as town manager of Frisco, a mountain town in proximity to Breckenridge, Dillon and Silverthorne. Council also appointed Assistant City Attorney Kirsten Crawford as the acting city attorney after Suzanne Staiert was fired in September. Read more at the Littleton Independent.

Sandusky, Ohio (population 25,688): A North Carolina woman will serve as Sandusky’s next City Manager. Last night, the city commissioners chose Nicole Ard to lead Sandusky. Contract negotiations will begin next week, and she’s expected to take over in mid-November. The commissioners believe she’s the first woman, and first African-American to serve as Sandusky City Manager. Ard most recently served as assistant town manager in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Read more at North Coast Now.

Los Alamos County, New Mexico (population 17,950): The Los Alamos County Council voted last night to appoint Arthur “Harry” Burgess as the new County Administrator, effective November 6. Burgess is currently the City Administrator in the City of Carlsbad, NM and was selected after an extensive public input process this summer, followed by interviews two weeks ago with the top four candidates for this top executive position at the County. The search for a new County Administrator had been underway since February when the Council hired Prothman Company, a national executive recruitment firm, to assist in the hiring process. Prothman hosted two public listening sessions in June to gather feedback about the characteristics and qualities that citizens desired to see in the next County Administrator. Working with a subcommittee of Councilors, a job description was developed and approved by the entire Council. After posting the job announcement nation-wide this summer, over 50 qualified individuals responded. The list of applicants was narrowed to the top 12 individuals last month, and in the last two weeks, it was narrowed again to the top four candidates. They traveled to Los Alamos for a public reception in Fuller Lodge on September 22nd, coupled with an entire day of interviews on September 23rd with the Council, senior management team and a panel representing residents of White Rock and Los Alamos, the local business community, the School District and the County’s largest employer, LANL.  Councilors cited Burgess’ six years of municipal government experience in Carlsbad as a big factor in their decision to offer him the top job at the County. Burgess has successfully implemented several economic development projects that have propelled Carlsbad forward since he was appointed to the position in 2005. He also has experience working with DOE officials because of the location of the nearby Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), another plus, given the strong presence of the DOE in Los Alamos and its operation of LANL. Read more on the Los Alamos County Web site.

Cocoa, Florida (population 17,140): Retiring City Manager Ric Holt will receive nearly $64,000 in paid leave and severance pay from Cocoa as part of an agreement approved by the city council. Holt is retiring to deal with a family medical issue. Under a plan unanimously approved by the council, Holt, who has been the city manager since 2000, will retire at the end of April, but will get the equivalent of six months’ worth of pay in the interim while he is on leave. The city also will pay him more than $73,000 for unused vacation and sick days. His last day was Sept. 30. Holt had been planning to continue working as city manager until April, but instead is leaving the job now to help his mother, who has a serious medical issue, he told the city council. Holt’s salary was $127,546 a year. Holt began working for Cocoa as finance director in 1991.

Vickie Pacilio, manager of Cocoa’s Office of Management and Budget, said the city is continuing a staff wage freeze for the second straight year, has a hiring freeze in place and asked its department directors to voluntarily cut back on their departmental budgets. Cocoa currently employs 418 active employees down 35 from a year ago, she said.

Under the plan for the city manager’s position the council approved, Holt was put on paid administrative leave for the time being. The council also named Deputy City Manager Brenda Fettrow as the next city manager, pending the conclusion of two sets of negotiations between City Attorney Anthony Garganese and Holt and between Garganese and Fettrow. On Monday, Fettrow officially became acting city manager. Garganese said it is possible that Holt will act as a consultant during the transition period from now until his retirement, but Holt no longer will run the city on a day-to-day basis.

A city-prepared payroll analysis of the proposal indicates that Holt will be paid:

  • $63,773 for six months of pay, in a combination of paid administrative leave and severance.
  • $51,447 for 839 hours of unused vacation pay.
  • $21,734 to $24,186 for 354 to 394 hours of unused sick leave.

After taxes are taken out, his net pay during that time period will be $104,557 to $107,198. When the city’s costs for taxes, workers’ compensation and insurance are included, Cocoa’s total cost will be $161,845 to $173,183. Read more at Florida Today.

Shorewood, Illinois (population 13,452): Shorewood has pried loose the city manager from small town Princeton, IL. Princeton City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh was offered the Shorewood village administrator job, Mayor Rick Chapman revealed on Thursday, and likely will get it during Tuesday night’s board meeting. Fiegenschuh has held down the city administrator job in Princeton for about five years, Chapman said. Fiegenschuh is leaving a town of about 7,500 in Bureau County to replace former village Administrator Kurt Carroll. Carroll resigned in April to go work for New Lenox at a heft pay raise. Carroll is reportedly getting paid $153,000. Feigenschuh’s contract calls for him to be paid $112,000, Chapman said. Feigenschuh is set to start working Nov. 14, pending the approval of the village board, Chapman said, but will be attending meeting in the meantime to get up to speed with the business of Shorewood. Village leaders retained the Deerfield firm Vorhees Associates LLC to conduct a nationwide search for Carroll’s replacement. Vorhees came up with a pool of 100 applicants. Those 100 were winnowed down to six who were interviewed by the village board in recent weeks.

A native of Nebraska, Feigenschuh graduated from Wayne State College and earned his master’s degree from the University of Nebraska. Feigenschuh said he is familiar with Shorewood after having traveled through it numerous times on his way to Chicago. Read more at Shorewood Patch.

Lake Forest Park, Washington (population 13,407): Lake Forest Park City Administrator David Cline submitted his resignation to Mayor Dave Hutchinson effective October 14, 2011 and will take the position of city administrator with the City of Tukwila. Cline, who lives in Redmond, became city adminstrator of LFP  in May 2007, after serving as the Interim/Assistant City Manager in Burien.

Cline’s tenure was marked by the worst recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression and limits on government to raise property taxes. At the direction of the mayor and council, the city budget has been cut by $2 million over the last four years and staff has been reduced by 15 percent, Cline said. By law, the city has to have a balanced budget. In August 2010, voters defeated a property tax levy lid lift for city services by a 78 to 22 percent margin. Cuts were made again, but some residents want to vote out the incumbents who agreed to put the the levy to voters in 2010.

Cline, who holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Stanford and has taught English in Indonesia and lived in Bolivia, will manage a 300-plus staff in Tukwila. He’ll also receive about a 15 percent increase in pay. Read more at the Shoreline Patch.

Red Bank, Tennessee (population 11,651): The Red Bank City Commission abruptly voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to fire City Manager Chris Dorsey. Commissioner Roberts made the motion at the end of the meeting when it appeared the session was going to be adjourned after a brief meeting. Mr. Dorsey, who has served for six years, said, “I was blindsided.”

The panel had trouble finding an interim city manager. Mayor Millard nominated Mark Mathews, the fire chief. But he declined, saying he was not qualified. He said a person with a financial background was needed. Commissioner Jeno recommended that either Ruthie Rohen, city recorder, or John Alexander, finance director, take it. Both demurred. After a citizen went to the podium and said it was a shame that none of the staff would step forward, Mr. Alexander said he would take it. Mr. Dorsey, who was recruited from Memphis, had been in the post for six years. He operated the first four years without a contract. Read more in The Chatanoogan.

Gautier, Mississippi (population 11,280): Interim City Manager Robert Ramsay said he has started the process of advertising for applicants to fill the city manager’s job. On Tuesday, the mayor and council voted 4-3 to terminate Sidney Runnels as city manager, effective immediately. Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said the advertising will be done statewide. Fortenberry said he doesn’t know how long the process will take. Ramsay, who is also city attorney, has served twice before as an interim city manager. Fortenberry said the details of the hiring process have not been made. Fortenberry said the interviews would be with the interim city manager, the council and himself. The mayor said the top candidates may be brought in for public sessions. Fortenberry said he didn’t know the pay range for the city manager, but Runnels had been paid $78,000 a year. Runnels has requested a public hearing on his termination, and that was set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ramsay said the public hearing is required if the terminated city manager requests it. Runnels was unavailable for comment Wednesday but did say earlier that he was scheduled to have a heart catheterization procedure Friday. Runnels had served as city manager since 2008. Previously he had been city manager at Grenada, economic development director for West Memphis, Ark., and mayor of Canton. Read more at GulfLive.com.

Jerome, Idaho (population 8,952): Ben Marchant is no longer Jerome’s city administrator. Marchant, the city’s administrator since 2008, gave his resignation to the Jerome City Council during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. The resignation, accepted by the council, was effective the following day. Mayor John Shine declined to comment on whether the council wanted the resignation, calling it a personnel matter. Still, Marchant’s resignation came without any apparent advance notice. Marchant said the decision was his, but declined to elaborate on what led to his departure. Marchant said he didn’t have another job lined up when he left. Before the closed-door meeting, the council received a request from Marchant that indicated he didn’t have any immediate plans to resign. Marchant had sought council approval for an estimated $3,200 so he could attend a four-day professional leadership program hosted by the International City/County Management Association in Washington, D.C. Marchant was accepted into the program after applying for it with a letter of support from the mayor. The council rejected Marchant’s request with a 2-1 vote before going into closed session, with only Councilwoman Dawn Soto supporting it. Shine said he will fill in and do the administrator’s duties until a replacement is hired. He said the council still needs to plan that hiring process. Marchant said he’s enjoyed his time working in Jerome. His career started as an intern in the city of San Diego’s mayor office. He later worked in Hoffman Estates, a Chicago suburb. He was working in Maryland Heights, a city near St. Louis., Mo., when Jerome hired him. Read more at the Magic Valley Times-News.

Freeport, Maine (population 8,357): Dale Olmstead plans to retire in April from the town manager position he’s held for 30 years. The Town Council discussed plans to replace Olmstead during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. The council will meet privately with executive “headhunters” later this month and map out a search process by mid-November. The search likely will include input from community members and will require the council to revise the town manager’s job description, which hasn’t changed since the town charter was updated in 1976. Councilors indicated that they would like to have Olmstead’s replacement on the job about a month before he leaves to promote a seamless transition. After his retirement, Olmstead and his wife, Barbara, who recently retired from a longtime admnistrative position at Bowdoin College, plan to split their time between Maine and her native Texas, where she has family. Read more at The Portland Press Herald.

Valley City, North Dakota (population 6,585): City Administrator Jon Cameron and his supporters won a bruising fight Tuesday as voters agreed to keep his job as part of city government. On Wednesday, he announced that he was resigning that post, effective Nov. 11. Cameron said he is taking a job as a city manager in the southern part of the U.S., but he declined to name the city, saying it was up to that municipality to make the decision public. Cameron said he made the decision in tandem with his wife, Joan.

Cameron said smear tactics and character assassination used by those trying to end the city administrator job were unsavory and turned philosophical arguments over good government into personal arguments and vendettas. He said the election made it clear local voters rejected those tactics. But Cameron said the contentious fighting with former Police Chief Dean Ross for much of this year also devolved into personal attacks. Cameron said he thought it was important for city government to have a clean break with those recent fights.

City Commissioner Jon Wagar said he was surprised by Cameron’s decision to resign. Wagar said after Cameron recently removed himself from contention for the Sturgis, S.D., city administrator post, and Tuesday’s election win, he expected Valley City would have Cameron’s leadership through his retirement. But he said Cameron was convinced he had become the face of the city’s recent controversies. He said no timetable has been set for hiring Cameron’s replacement. Read more at the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Indian Wells, California (population 4,958): Embattled City Manager Greg Johnson abruptly resigned Thursday after a more than three-hour, closed-door session of the City Council. Johnson took no questions after the announcement and left City Hall immediately following a brief meeting with council members. His resignation is effective Nov. 4. It is unclear whether Johnson, who earns $254,625 annually and has been with the city for 15 years, will remain at the helm in the ensuing weeks. Hours before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, Johnson schmoozed with residents, shaking hands and smiling. He has been scrutinized for calling and emailing the CEO of First Foundation Inc. after one of the bank’s employees, an Indian Wells resident, raised questions about council perks and compensation in a public meeting. Haddon Libby, former senior vice president and director of the bank’s desert region, was later fired. Bank officials have declined to comment on Libby’s dismissal, calling it a personnel matter. Johnson previously has defended his actions, saying that seeking an apology through a supervisor was “not unusual in the corporate world.”

It was standing-room-only inside the council’s chamber at Indian Wells City Hall as more than 100 residents came to watch the matter unfold. Two patrol officers, an unusual site [sic] for a regular meeting, were stationed outside. At the start of the meeting, Johnson apologized to the City Council, staff and residents but did not mention Libby by name. Documents obtained by The Desert Sun show Johnson sent increasingly aggressive emails to Scott F. Kavanaugh, Libby’s boss and the CEO of First Foundation Inc., after Libby sent a written public information request to the city specifically seeking Johnson’s compensation and pension benefits. About a half a dozen residents, including the banker’s wife, spoke before council members adjourned for a closed session to discuss Johnson’s behavior. Thursday’s meeting was punctuated with outbursts, jeers and claps from residents, who hammered the council on a free car wash issue that Libby had previously questioned. Jacqueline Bradley took elected officials to task, asking each whether he or she had received car washes. The sticking point for many wasn’t the car washes themselves, but council member’s refusal to talk about the perk. “Many of us feel that your reputation is permanently tarnished,” Bradley said. Then she added: “I hope that I’m not going to have retribution for myself personally for having the courage to address this.” The room erupted into applause.

Most residents implored the council to do something to rein in what they described as Johnson’s out-of- control behavior. Some blamed Johnson. Others the City Council.

Libby’s wife, Julia, stepped up to the podium with one question: “What is the motive?” The council sat silent. “That is a question,” Julia Libby, 52, said.

Mayor Patrick Mullany broke the silence saying he did not know or have any ill will toward her husband. “Whatever hurt it has caused you and your family we’re very sensitive to,” Mullany said, noting that his son is also searching for a job. “I apologize to your family.”

Julia Libby responded: “Why did it take you so long to feel sorry? You allowed this to happen. I’m sure (Johnson) didn’t do this by himself.”

Mullany ended the back-and-forth with: “I’m not going to take a grilling.”

Julia Libby, who has breast cancer, said she is going into the hospital today. Haddon Libby has retained an attorney and will continue his job hunt out of the area. Read more at MyDesert.com.

Update: Indian Wells has reportedly appointed Mel Windsor to the post of interim city manager. Windsor has been the director of personnel and public safety. Indian Wells City Attorney Stephen Deitsch declined to give details about the compensation package Johnson will receive upon his resignation, which is effective Nov. 4. Read more at KPSP Local 2.

Wayland, Michigan (population 4,045): Wayland city officials may have more to say later Friday about the firing of city manager Chris Yonker. The city council let him go after his annual performance review, although a number of local residents reportedly spoke on his behalf. A prepared statement gives no reason for the firing. The Wayland City Council has not yet appointed an interim manager. Read at WoodTV8.