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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Transitions: Who’s in and who’s out this week

Tucson, Arizona (population 520,116): Less than a week after unanimously firing City Manager Mike Letcher following a series of management failures at City Hall, the council will discuss how to find his replacement. The majority of the council seems to favor a national search, but it’s unlikely it will be done before a new council is seated after the November elections.  Richard Miranda, the deputy manager who is now the acting manager, will likely be named the interim city manager on Tuesday. Mike Letcher, fired by the City Council last week, made $211,000 a year as city manager. He gets six months of pay and benefits as a severance, which is what his contract with the council called for. Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Tuesday night the Tucson city council began to pick up the pieces from the firing of the City Manager and move forward, launching a national search to replace Mike Letcher. In the meantime, interim City Manager Richard Miranda says the city won’t skip a beat. Only time will tell if it’s temporary, but for now, Richard Miranda is the man for the job. Council members unanimously passed a motion to begin the national search for Tucson’s next City Manager. It’s a process that will take some time. The cost of the search is estimated to be between 50 to 75 thousand dollars. Miranda is also eligible to apply for the position permanently.  And council members say no doubt he’ll be a qualified candidate.  As Mike Letcher’s successor, for now Miranda is focused on re-building trust. And the city says it plans to involve the community in the process as much as possible through things like community forums. The final decision will be made by the newly elected mayor and council after the November election. Read more and watch video at Fox11AZ.com.

Sarasota County, Florida (population 379,448): Environmentalists, community activists, business people and other concerned citizens found one thing they could agree on during a series of county forums last week — that their views had been discounted by former Sarasota County administrator Jim Ley. Nearly all those who attended a series of five public meetings last week to gather input on desired qualities in the next county administrator said they wanted a good listener and collaborator. The meetings, which drew over 100 attendees, will allow Atlanta-based The Mercer Group to develop a profile of the kind of county administrator the community wants. The new administrator will replace Ley, who resigned under fire in May after revelations of problems in purchasing practices. The process is expected to take a few more months. Other desired qualities that emerged were an interest in protecting the environment, strong ethics and the ability to be humble. Many also said they wanted someone who would allow the elected County Commission to make policy decisions. The use of a search firm to handle the search process is a departure from when Ley was hired in 1997. Then, the commission picked a selection committee to narrow the candidates, a decision that has since been criticized for not being open enough. Read more at the Herald Tribune.

Craven County, North Carolina (population 103,505): Craven County Assistant County Manager Jack Veit will step up to the county’s top administrative post Oct. 1. Craven County Board of Commissioners promoted Veit last Tuesday to fill the post being vacated by County Manager Harold Blizzard, who is retiring after 18 years in the job. It comes with a $130,000 salary. Veit, 30, came to Craven County in May 2010 at a salary of $95,944 after five years in Carteret as administrative aide, then assistant county manager. He was picked by Blizzard from 75 candidates to fill the job of retired Craven assistant county manger Ray Moser. Chairman Steve Tyson announced the hiring after an executive session at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting with Veit outside and nervously awaiting the decision. It brought a wide Veit smile and applause from board members and staff. Commissioners posted the open position internally after Blizzard announced his intent to retire. They did not advertise the position for outside applicants, a procedure Tyson said was outlined as legal and appropriate by the county attorney. Veit is from Pfafftown near Winston-Salem and the son of retired teachers Jack Veit Jr. Kathryn Veit.  Veit graduated from North Forsyth High School and Appalachian State University. At Appalachian, he received a bachelor’s degree in political science and municipal government and a master’s degree in local government administration. Viet was sort of born into local government, to a father who taught the subject and with a grandmother who was born in the Stokes County Jail when her father was sheriff. Veit and his wife Meghann bought a house in Craven County in April. Read more at the New Bern Sun Journal.

Temecula, California (population of 100,097): Bob Johnson will get a base salary of $215,000 — a raise of roughly $21,000 — when he takes over as Temecula’s city manager on Jan. 1 under the terms of a four-year contract approved Tuesday by the City Council. Johnson makes $194,153 as one of Temecula’s two assistant city managers. His current post will not be filled once he succeeds Shawn Nelson, a move that will save the city $282,000. Johnson, 66, will earn less than did Nelson, 51, who is one of the highest-paid city managers in California. Nelson, who has been Temecula’s top administrator since 1998, took home $336,288 in 2009. A city staff report included in the council agenda found that Johnson’s salary is in the lower third of city managers in California with populations of 100,000. Johnson brings more than three decades of service in the public sector to his new job. He was Riverside County’s planning director and worked in Irvine and Pima County, Ariz., before coming to Temecula in 2006. Johnson’s contract starts Jan. 1 and ends Dec. 31, 2015. His salary won’t be less than 110 percent of the city’s next-highest-paid employee and he will not receive cost-of-living increases, according to a city staff report. Besides his base pay, Johnson will be entitled to: $11,000 a year in deferred compensation toward a retirement plan. 60 additional hours of annual leave. Johnson already has accrued 640 hours of leave. A benefits package worth $11,280 in fiscal year 2011-12. An automobile allowance worth $6,000 a year. He can get mileage reimbursement for travel on city business outside of Temecula and a city vehicle if needed for large groups, inclement weather or unusual road conditions. If fired, Johnson would get a severance package equal to six months’ salary or the time is left on the contract, whichever is less. He would not get severance if he resigns, is charged with or convicted of a felony or if he engages in “corrupt or willful misconduct in office,” the city staff report read. Nelson in June announced his plan to retire at the end of the year. The council picked Johnson in late July. Since then, the council has met behind closed doors to discuss Johnson’s contract. Read more at the Press-Enterprise.

Cleveland County, North Carolina (population 98,078): After more than three decades serving Cleveland County, drawing in thousands of jobs along with billions of dollars in investment, County Manager David Dear announced Tuesday his plans to retire at year’s end. Dear has served as county manager since 2004, bringing in industry despite the recession and leading economic development efforts. Dear wrote that he will still be active in the community, making himself available both before and after retirement to help the county government through the challenges that lie ahead. Board of Commissioners Chairman Johnny Hutchins said Dear will be missed, but Hutchins did not wish to comment on who will take Dear’s place. Eddie Bailes is Cleveland County’s assistant manager. Hutchins said commissioners will meet on Sept. 14 to discuss the course of action following Dear’s retirement. Read more at the Shelby Star.

Yakima, Washington (population 91,196): Don Cooper, Yakima’s first new manager in 32 years, was sworn in September 6 and his first official comment from his seat at the City Council table had to do with the budget. It is a sign of things to come for the new administrator at City Hall. Cooper was hired in part for his budget expertise, and next year’s budget will give him plenty of opportunity to demonstrate those skills. The city faces a projected shortfall of more than $1 million, due largely to rising expenses and flat revenue. Cooper succeeds Dick Zais, who retired in July after a 38-year tenure with the city. Cooper has said he expects to spend the first few weeks getting acquainted with city staffers and the community’s major players. But it won’t be too long before he dives into major projects, including hiring a new police chief, he said. Cooper, 61, said he is looking toward a year-end deadline to hire a new chief. He said he wants to advertise for applicants soon to start that process. Cooper, who will earn $155,000 as city manager, arrived in Yakima late the prior week. He spent that weekend driving around the different neighborhoods and visited the Yakima Farmers Market on Sunday. Read more at the Yakima Herald.

Luna County, New Mexico (population 25,095): Luna County commissioners have instructed staff to begin arranging interviews with eight county manager’s position applicants, but the board is not releasing the names until the interviewees confirm they’re still interested. A review committee, with five members from the general public, has submitted four recommendations and one alternate to the commission. Commissioners have stressed the review panel recommendations are just that, recommendations. The Deming Headlight (http://bit.ly/nwfZBQ ) reports the commission is not bound in any way to follow the advice of the review committee. Commissioners have also insisted there is no planned deadline to fill the position left by the July firing of former manager John Sutherland Jr. From the Republic.

Elk River, Minnesota (population 22,974): The Elk River City Council has voted to offer the city administrator job to Kevin Lahner. The unanimous decision came Thursday night, Sept. 8, after the council interviewed Lahner and three other finalists, Calvin Portner, David Minke and James Hurm. Sharon Klumpp, a consultant with Springsted Inc. who is helping the city with the administrator search, will negotiate with Lahner on salary and other details and report back. If Lahner declines the position, the council agreed Portner would be the next choice. He is the administrative services director for the city of Plymouth, Minn.
Lahner is a native of Eau Claire, Wis. He has been city administrator in Burlington, Wis. since 2008. Prior to that he was the interim city manager and assistant city manager in Keller, Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master of public administration. Lahner was one of 71 applicants for the position, which opened up when former City Administrator Lori Johnson resigned in June. Read at the Elk River Star News.

Lake Wales, Florida (population 14,225): The Lake Wales City Commission has passed on former Lady Lake town manager James Coleman and former town planner Judith Jankosky for the job of Lake Wales city manager, opting instead to hire another recognizable face in the area. Commissioners have given the job to Therese “Terry” Leary, who has been a city manager in Crystal River and Lake Park, near West Palm Beach. She is also known to Lady Lake because she was a candidate last year for the town manager’s job there. Leary, of Hilton Head, S.C., was one of three top finalists for the Lake Wales job, along with a man from Auburndale and a man from Palestine, Texas. Commissioners said they were going to interview the top three candidates, and if none rose to the top, they would move on the next five candidates, including Coleman and Jankosky. But both the Auburndale and Texas candidates bowed out, and the commission hired Leary. Read more at the Daily Commercial.

Salem, Missouri (population 4,854): Clayton Lucas said the opportunity was just too good to pass up. Lucas, who has served as Lindsay California’s (population 11,768) full-time assistant city manager for the past four months, said he recently accepted an offer to become the city manager of Salem, a small town in southern Missouri about 120 miles away from St. Louis. A lot of Lucas’ family live in the area, and he said southern Missouri has always been one of his and his wife’s favorite vacation spots. Lucas said he applied for the job in early July and accepted an offer made by Salem’s Board of Alderman, equivalent to a city council, on Aug. 29. He said the Board of Alderman unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept his contract. Lucas was made aware of the job opening by his brother, Jerry, who lives in Tulsa, Okla. Lucas said the current state of Lindsay, where a citizens’ effort to recall all five members of the City Council is underway and city staffers have regularly been criticized for what they earn, did not factor into his decision to leave. Lucas is the fifth person in 10 months to pack his bags and leave City Hall. Former City Manager Scot Townsend resigned in early November, former Finance Director Kenny Walker took a medical retirement in mid-November, former Councilwoman Suzi Picaso stepped down from the dais in mid-December and former Assistant City Manager Kindon Meik resigned in early March. Lucas started with the City of Lindsay in 2000 as a planning intern. He was appointed as the assistant city planner in early 2001. The following year, he took a job with the City of Farmersville as a management analyst. In 2003, he was selected to take part in a federal police program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. After completing the program, he served for four years as a police officer in St. George, Utah. Over the course of his last year in St. George, he was a city planner and a reserve officer. Lucas returned to Lindsay in 2007 as a management analyst. He became a reserve officer with the city’s Department of Public Safety in October 2007. Three months later, he went to work full time with the department before being promoted to sergeant in July 2008. He became the interim assistant city manager in November and was appointed in May to head up the position permanently. Lucas is currently working on obtaining a master’s degree in public administration from Penn State University’s online World Campus. Lucas received bachelor’s degrees in geography and urban planning from California State University, Fresno. Read more at Recorder Online.

Palmer, Massachusetts (population 10,468): The Town Council, in a majority vote at its meeting last Thursday night, chose Donald I. Jacobs of Holden as Palmer’s next town manager. Jacobs has worked as a consultant for the last 12 years, but previously was the town manager in Plymouth and Southbridge. Charles T. Blanchard has been serving as interim town manager for the past two months; prior to that, former executive assistant Patricia A. Kennedy assumed the acting role. She took over after Matthew S. Streeter was fired by the council in June 2010. His predecessor, Richard Fitzgerald, was terminated by the council in April 2008. Read more on MassLive.com.

Ocean City, Maryland (population 10,289) In closed-door meetings last Thursday night and this morning, a slim majority of the Ocean City Council voted to ask City Manager Dennis Dare to resign by 5 p.m. last Friday and to fire him if he does not. Councilman Jim Hall said the council voted 4-3 Thursday afternoon to ask Dare to resign his position, which he’s held since 1990. Hall said it was a tough decision, but the council majority wants Dare replaced because “it’s time to take the town in a new direction.” Ocean City’s code gives the council sole authority to hire and fire city managers, the town attorney, its clerk and its auditor; the mayor has a vote in the hiring of police chiefs, but not city managers. In exchange for his resignation, the council majority said they would pay Dare through Dec. 31 of this year, and honor any of his benefits, including a full 30-year retirement package and health pension. Dare is operating on a yearly contract with the town which was renewed automatically in April. Jim Hall said they would honor it “and pay accordingly” in the event of a firing. The contract would allow Dare to be paid his salary in full for 120 days after the contract’s termination. Read more at DelmarvaNow.com.

Orland, California (population 7,291): Orland may be interviewing someone later this month to serve as an interim-city manager, buying time to find a permanent replacement for Paul Poczobut Jr. Poczobut, who one city source said was ill, did not attend the meeting, prompting Councilman Bruce Roundy to suggest he be placed on leave until his contract expires Nov. 1. New City Attorney Greg Einhorn is to discuss leave options with Poczobut in the near future, officials said. However, the city does not want to pay an extensive severance package to Poczobut by releasing him before the contract ends. The council voted not to renew Poczobut’s contract following a closed session performance review on Aug. 15. In the meantime, Vice Mayor Wade Elliott has spoken to a retired city administrator from Winters who worked for Orland temporarily about 10 years ago. Elliott said Gail Wingard would be willing to talk with the council about running the city for a short period — even on a part-time basis. Council members believe it could take up to five months to find suitable candidates. Councilman Charles Gee said there are at least two retired city managers in Chico who could be contacted for an interim appointment as well. Also the interim manager would not have to be at City Hall every day, Gee said. Elliott said Wingard might also be willing to be a consultant to provide advice to Crook on issues. He plans to talk with Wingard further and set up a closed session meeting with the council sometime in September. Read more at the Orland Press Register.

Kittery, Maine (population 5,359): The Town Council was expected Monday to appoint a former Topsham town manager as its interim town manager. Town Manager Jon Carter is leaving in two weeks to take his old job as Wells town manager. The council, which has met in executive session to discuss proposals by professional recruiting firms, chose to enter into an agreement with Eaton Peabody Consulting Group of Augusta. According to the agreement the council is expected to sign today, former Topsham Town Manager James Ashe will be appointed on an interim basis upon Carter’s departure. Ashe, who served as superintendent of Brunswick schools before heading to Topsham, worked as town manager for three years, leaving last December. He will work for the town up to three days a week and will attend council meetings. He will be paid a per-diem rate of $400. Don Gerrish, retired town manager of Brunswick, will work on the search for a new town manager. Both Gerrish and Ashe are independent contractors working for Eaton Peabody. The contract between Eaton Peabody and the town for recruitment services is for $4,500, plus expenses. Gerrish said Friday that a search “typically takes two to 2½ months.” Eaton Peabody will advertise in publications of the International City Managers Association and the Maine Municipal Association. It will review all the applications and cull out the most qualified candidates for the town. Once a candidate has been chosen, it may be necessary for that person to give up to a month’s notice, he said. Read more at Seacoast Online.
High Springs, Florida (population 3,863): A woman with multiple degrees, including a bachelor’s in Growth Management, a minor in Economics and a doctorate in Law, is the sole remaining finalist for the city manager position in High Springs. The City Commission had chosen five candidates, then narrowed the list to two. But after one of the finalists accepted a job elsewhere, the list had narrowed to just one person – Judith Jankosky, the current assistant city administrator for Arcadia, a city similar in population size to High Springs. Jankosky will be interviewed by the High Springs City Commission at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15, followed by a meet-and-greet where residents can talk with Jankosky personally. High Springs’ elected leaders had made a point that they wanted to find a city manager candidate with extensive knowledge in how to attract businesses and a solid background in crafting a city budget. In Jankosky’s 58-page presentation, she emphasized her experience in those areas and said she excelled at getting diverse groups of people to work together for a common goal. In Arcadia, she not only is the assistant city administrator but also is the airport director and the Economic Development director. Read more at the North Florida Herald.Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (population 3,722): Santa Barbara County’s assistant county administrator was named city administrator of Carmel by-the-Sea on Tuesday by unanimous vote of the City Council. Jason Stilwell was the council’s “unanimous first choice” for the job, said Councilman Ken Talmadge. Stilwell will assume his duties Sept. 28. The employment agreement approved by the council includes a $175,000 annual salary, $350 monthly auto allowance, a $550 monthly contribution to a tax-deferred compensation account for a total of $185,800 a year, as well as health, dental, vision and life insurance and retirement benefits. Stilwell, whose duties included serving as Santa Barbara County’s budget director and financial officer, was previously director of the county’s parks department and project manager in the county executive’s office. He is an adjunct professor of public policy at CSU Northridge’s Tseng College. Prior to working in Santa Barbara County, Stilwell was assistant town manager of Superior, Colo. and a management intern in Thornton, Colo. He holds a doctorate from the University of Colorado at Denver, a master’s degree in public administration from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The council approved $15,000 in relocation expenses for Stilwell’s move from Santa Barbara to Carmel. Carmel had been without a permanent city administrator since Rich Guillen retired at the end of March. On April 19, John Goss, former city manager in Alameda and Chula Vista, was named interim city administrator. Read the story in the Monterey County Herald.

Cottonwood Shores, Texas (population 1,210): The City Council’s decision last week to let go of City Administrator Jerrial Wafer after only three months on the job ends a tumultuous term marked by repeated disagreements with Mayor Janelle Long, officials said. Long on Sept. 2 said those disputes often “got ugly.” Four council members voted in favor of terminating Long’s employment and one abstained during a meeting Sept. 1. A new city administrator will have to be appointed, but there are no candidates for now, Long said. Though Wafer was not available for comment, minutes from earlier council meetings show he complained that Long was hostile to him. He voiced many of his own misgivings about the mayor at an Aug. 18 council meeting. According to the minutes, Wafer discussed seven sections of complaints, which included statements about inexperienced personnel and a computer system in which “nothing works.” In a harbinger of the clash that would lead to his suspension, Wafer claimed Long “creates a hostile work environment” and “needs to be more of a cheerleader rather than a critic.” Wafer’s dismissal actually began to take shape Aug. 26 when the mayor told him she was placing Wafer on paid administrative leave. He remained in that capacity until Sept. 1, when the council permanently dismissed Wafer. Long said she suspended Wafer because of disputes over management styles and because he lacked the dedication and know-how to fulfill the duties of a city administrator. Wafer’s dismissal is the latest in a number of departures from the city in less than a year, including City Secretary Cindy Schwertner in June, former Mayor Bentley Martin before his term expired and a police chief late last fall. Read more at the River Cities Daily Tribune.