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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Transitions: Who’s in and who’s out, week of September 14-21

Ann Arbor, Michigan (population 113,934): Steve Powers is starting as Ann Arbor’s new city administrator. Powers, a 49-year-old Illinois native, has a lot to learn about Ann Arbor. Things like: Green is important. Transportation doesn’t necessarily mean a vehicle. And translucent isn’t transparent enough — not to the watchdog citizens surely to scrutinize his every move. But that’s the easy stuff. Powers, who will receive a $145,000 base salary, also faces the unenviable task of trying to reconcile differences with the city’s labor unions — particularly police and fire, which have had contentious relations with the city’s current leadership. To put it simply, they saw Ann Arbor’s last city administrator, Roger Fraser, as an adversary. Coming from Marquette County, where he served as county administrator for the past 15 years, Powers has the distinct advantage of being a fresh face. Ann Arbor officials stressed during the recent search process they were looking for an administrator who could communicate well with employees, be a consensus builder and manage in an aggressive collective bargaining environment. Ann Arbor has eight collective bargaining units and close to 200 of the city’s 700-plus employees are represented by the police and fire unions.  AFSCME, the largest union, represents about 230 employees who recently agreed to major concessions that the city has been unable to get out of police and fire. To date, the city has been unable to achieve the kind of concessions it has wanted from its public safety unions, and negotiations with both police and fire are now in binding arbitration. As a result of those standstills, many jobs have been eliminated, and police and fire services have been impacted. In recent years, when city budget cuts came down and deep cuts to public safety were exacted, Fraser was seen as the guy left holding the ax. The city reduced its work force by 30 percent during his nine-year tenure and the unions weren’t happy. Not helping matters were situations like what happened in February 2010. Just three weeks after firefighters agreed to voluntary concessions that included a 4 percent reduction in compensation, which they hoped would save jobs, they were told by Fraser and his administration that six more positions than previously expected were slated to be cut. One representative of the firefighters union put it this way at the time: “That’s like doing a guy a favor and having him come back and hit you with a baseball bat.” In addition to his time in Marquette, Powers brings experience from his days in Oregon where he was an assistant county administrator responsible for human resources, labor relations, risk management and organizational development. Powers, who oversaw 240-plus employees, reports success in negotiating concessions and notes most Marquette County employees have had their pay frozen for two years. Read more at AnnArbor.com.

Centennial, Colorado (population 100,377): Dave Zelenok will fill the role of interim city manager for the city of Centennial until a permanent replacement can be found. The Centennial City Council picked Zelenok, who’s been acting city manager since Jacque Wedding-Scott announced her resignation in August. Zelenok joined the city of Centennial in 2007 as its public works director. He previously held that position for the city of Colorado Springs and was its director of transportation as well. The city of Centennial last week issued a call for an executive search firm to help find a new city manager. Read more at the Denver Business Journal.

Folsom, California (population 72,203): Evert Palmer, Folsom’s assistant city manager for the last five years, has been named city manager effective Oct. 14, replacing the outgoing Kerry Miller, Mayor Andy Morin announced Tuesday. Palmer, 51, will receive an annual salary of $201,420. His contract will be voted on by the City Council at its Sept. 27 meeting. Palmer has been with the city for more than 15 years. In addition to serving as assistant city manager, he has been director of administrative services and assistant finance/information technology director. Miller will retire in mid-October. He credited Palmer with having a “collaborative spirit” and said he is “highly skilled at creating partnerships.” Read more at the Sacramento Bee.

Davis, California (population 65,622): Davis’ new city manager, Steve Pinkerton, spent his first day on the job two weeks ago brushing up on local issues. But no amount of preparation could ready him for the marathon City Council meeting that started at 6:30 p.m. and ended nine hours later, just before daylight broke the following morning. That was his second day of work. Pinkerton’s wife, Audrey, is a partner at an environmental law firm that serves clients throughout the state. Two of their children — Daniel, 2, and Joshua, 11 — live with them in Davis. Pinkerton’s daughter, Carly, 18, is a freshman in college and son, Michael, 16, lives with Pinkerton’s ex-wife in Stockton. During the transition from serving as the city manager of Manteca, a city about 70 miles south of Davis, Pinkerton and his family alternated between commuting and staying at a hotel downtown. They have since bought a home by the North Davis greenbelt and are almost completely moved in. While Davis and Manteca have similar population sizes — 65,000 and 68,410, respectively — every city has different challenges and issues to learn about. Pinkerton, who grew up in the college town of Columbia, Mo., earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and geography from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and a master’s in economics and planning from the University of Southern California. Pinkerton, who will be paid $188,000 per year, replaces Bill Emlen as city manager. Emlen served as city manager for 4 1/2 years before accepting a position with Solano County last September. Before Pinkerton served as city manager in Manteca, he spent 13 years leading Stockton’s revitalization efforts. He also held managerial positions in the Southern California cities of Long Beach and Redondo Beach. Read more at the Davis Enterprise.

Pender County, North Carolina (population 52,217): Pender County Manager Rick Benton has announced he will retire at the end of the year.  Benton came to Pender County in August, 2008. Benton, who has spent more than 30 years working in county and city government,  told The Pender Post his decision to retire was a personal one, and he had not been asked to leave. Benton plans to continue living in Pender County.  Commissioner Jimmy Tate, who was instrumental in bringing Benton to Pender County,  praised Benton’s work. Read more at The Pender Post.

Grundy County, Illinois (population 50,063): Grundy County has hired a new county administrator but not everyone on the county board was on board. With a 15-3 vote last week Coal city resident Shawn Hamilton was hired to fill the vacated position of Dan Duffy, who left in July to fill the village administrator’s position in Minooka. Hamilton will receive a salary of $70,000, a little less than what Duffy received, and about $30,000 in benefits. Hamilton was chosen out of 22 candidates. He is a fourth-generation Grundy County resident who is also well-known in the community because of his participation on a number of boards including the Coal City School Board and the Grundy Economic Development Council. Hamilton’s financial experience includes his most recent positions as a business manager for the Center for Professional Development in Oakland, Calif., a lead manager for the U.S. Bank in Aurora, and a senior financial analyst for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. Read more at the Herald-News.

Coffee County, Alabama (population 49,948): When Rod Morgan resigned as Prattville’s financial director in January, many job opportunities existed in the Birmingham and Montgomery areas. But Morgan felt like he was being “led” home to the Enterprise area – an area with comparatively fewer opportunities for someone with his extensive education. The move has paid off, though, as Morgan was recently hired to be the Coffee County administrator. Morgan, an Enterprise native, said he and his family felt right in returning to Coffee County. The 1990 Daleville High graduate brings plenty of experience to the job. He graduated from Troy University-Dothan in 1999 with a degree in finance and in 2001 with a master’s degree in business administration. In 2004, he earned a law degree from the University of Alabama. He joined a law firm in Montgomery and mostly handled public financing cases. Through that, he developed relationships with some of Prattville’s leaders. After a few years at the law firm, Prattville’s financial director resigned, and then-mayor Jim Byard offered the job to Morgan, who accepted. In that position, Morgan mostly used his financial background, but he said his law school training aided in economic development issues, like recruiting businesses. It also helped in obtaining grants as he knew the full spectrum of the process involved. In his new job, he said the financial responsibilities are very similar, but the overall tasks are a bit broader than the ones he had in Prattville. Morgan said he plans to get a feel of the county’s finances before suggesting any ideas to the county commissioners for implementation. The learning curve may not be too steep as Morgan said he kept an eye on the local government while working in Prattville. Morgan lives in Enterprise with his wife, Christina (Yager), and daughters Kaleigh, Kinsley, Caroline and Ashley. Read more at EpriseNow.com.

Steele County, Minnesota (population 36,576): After six months on the job as Steele County Administrator, Riaz Aziz informed county commissioners in a closed door meeting Tuesday night that he will be moving on. Aziz informed department heads of his decision on Wednesday, promising to stay on board until the end of October so he can “tie up loose ends.” Aziz cited “personal and professional” reasons for the resignation, though he emphasized the driving factor was the distance between he and his family at this time. Aziz assumed the position in March, after longtime county coordinator Dave Severson retired. Read more at the Owatonna People’s Press.

Sagadahoc County, Maine (population 35,293): The Sagadahoc County Commissioners hope to hire a new administrator soon after Pam Corrigan resigned abruptly on Aug. 24. Corrigan, who started work as the county administrator for Sagadahoc County in 2007, cited emotional distress and what she viewed as an oppressive performance evaluation process as reasons for her immediate departure. Carol Grose, chairwoman of the Sagadahoc County Commissioners, said Corrigan will be missed and said that commissioners plan to advertise for a new county administrator. Salary and other details related to the position remain to be worked out, Grose said. Commissioners have not set a target date to fill the position, she said, but they hope to do so as soon as possible. In the meantime, other employees in the county’s administrative office have stepped up to share the administrator’s responsibilities. Grose said the commissioners continue to hold their meetings as usual. Read more at the Times Record.

Falmouth, Massachusetts (population 31,531): Julian Suso, the town manager of Framingham, has been offered the same job in Falmouth. By a 4-1 vote, Falmouth selectmen Monday night appointed Suso to the job pending additional background checks and successful contract negotiations. Suso’s competition for the job was fellow finalist James Boudreau, the town administrator of Norwell. In making the decision, the majority of board members expressed the belief that both men could do the job but that Suso could start contributing from day one. Bob Whritenour Jr. resigned as town administrator in Falmouth in November of 2010. Suso was selected from an initial pool of 78 applicants. A screening committee presented four candidates to selectmen and Suso and Boudreau moved on from that group. The position had an advertised annual salary of $139,000. Read more at Wicked Local Cape Cod

Sedalia, Missouri (population 21,284): After a little more than a month on the job, Sedalia City Administrator Gary Edwards said he is looking to bring an inclusive approach to managing the city that welcomes a wide range of input on the community’s direction. Edwards joined the city at the start of August, coming from Wickenburg, Ariz., where he been town administrator since 2007. But he is no stranger to Missouri or Sedalia. Before taking the job in Arizona, Edwards was manager or administrator in the Missouri cities of Moberly, Festus, Ste. Genevieve and Branson West. He has also was the chief of staff and communications director for former U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and had worked as a news director for KDRO in Sedalia. Edwards credited the work of past and current council members, mayors and city employees for building the strong reserve fund the city has set aside, which he said will be important to helping ensure that Sedalia can weather a prolonged period of national economic uncertainty. Despite economic concerns across the country, Edwards said the city has reported rising sales tax revenues so far through this fiscal year, which he cited as an indication of Sedalia’s “strong and diverse economic base.” Edwards said he plans monthly staff meetings to review expenditure and revenue performance with department leaders, and he discussed starting a performance measurement system for the city aimed at measuring the efficiency of each department. Describing his management style as inclusive and democratic, Edwards said he wanted to involve council members, city employees and members of the community to participate in determining the priorities and objectives for the city. Through his collaborative work with elected officials, city staff and residents, Edwards said he hopes to help make Sedalia a better place than it was when he arrived. Read more at the Sedalia Democrat.

Pittsburg, Kansas (population 20,233): After 45 years of service with the City of Pittsburg, interim City Manager John Van Gorden has decided to retire effective Oct. 1, 2012. Since starting as a laborer with the City on Feb. 22, 1967, Van Gorden has held various jobs within the City such as Director of Public Works, Director of Parks and Recreation, Assistant City Manager and, his latest title, interim City Manager — a position he has held on four separate occasions. Van Gorden’s latest stint as interim City Manager began four years ago with the departure of former City Manager Allen Gill. Through his four stints overseeing City operations, Van Gorden has always had the tag of “interim” attached to the title. The reason for the attachment is because Van Gorden currently lives outside the city boundaries and cannot hold the City Manager title by city ordinance. He and his wife Joye have five children between them and eight grandchildren. He said his focus after public life will be on his family. Despite the fact that his retirement is a year away, Van Gorden said that walking away from a city he has worked for 45 years will not be easy. As for the city, O’Bryan said that the search for Van Gorden’s replacement will begin soon. Read more at the Morning Sun.

Forest Lake, Minnesota (population 18,375): City of Crookston Administrator Aaron Parrish has been offered a similar job in the outer Twin Cities suburb of Forest Lake, and he told the Times today that he and his wife, Lisa, will spend the early part of this week mulling over the draft of the employment agreement. Parrish, one of a half-dozen finalists for the position in the city of around 15,000 that’s close to his roots, interviewed for the position Sept. 16-17 and, after a comprehensive process that involved Forest Lake city officials, council members and citizens, the Forest Lake Times reported over the weekend that he was the top choice in a straw poll and was subsequently offered the job. At the “step one” level in Forest Lake, Parrish would make an annual salary of $107,000. He’s paid $88,000 a year in Crookston. Parrish, city administrator in Crookston for eight years, has said that it would take a certain situation for him to pursue a career move elsewhere. Geography would play a part, he said, if it was closer to his home town. He said the search process in Forest Lake was very comprehensive and included a tour and lunch with department heads, individual interviews with the mayor and council, a meet and greet with the public and dinner with the mayor and council, all on Friday. Saturday, he interviewed separately with department heads, a community panel, the mayor and full council. The Forest Lake Times reported in its story over the weekend that Parrish wasn’t everyone’s top choice, but that Parrish scored high in just about every step of the interview process. Read more in the Crookston Times.

Chowan County, North Carolina (population 14,739): If you take Paul Parker at his word, the former Chowan County manager was absolutely clueless that he was about to lose his job the night Chowan commissioners called him into a closed session Sept. 6. Of course if that’s true, then it’s further proof that Chowan commissioners made the right call to terminate Parker’s employment after less than a year in the county’s top administrative post. Parker’s actions the week Hurricane Irene was bearing down on the Albemarle — actions that ultimately led to his firing last week — suggest someone seriously lacking a sense of what it means to be a public servant. As the Chowan Herald of Edenton recently reported, Parker decided to leave Chowan on Aug. 25 — two days before Irene made landfall on the North Carolina coast — because he wanted to keep a doctor’s appointment he had made in Wilmington weeks before the storm threatened. Parker said he had exhausted his supply of medication and needed a refill and couldn’t get one without seeing his doctor. While that decision could have been excused — it’s feasible Parker could have traveled to Wilmington, seen his doctor and returned to Chowan on Aug. 26 — what he did next wouldn’t have been acceptable of any public official paid to protect the public in a crisis, but particularly one responsible for planning and managing the emergency response for an entire community. In response to a text from the county clerk, Parker said he had no plans to return to Chowan until Aug. 29 — two days after the storm had passed over the county. Parker would later tell commissioners that he had planned to ride out the storm in Pender County, where he owns a home and where his wife still lives, because he wasn’t sure he could make it back to Chowan before Irene hit. Apparently thinking better of it, Parker decided to return to Chowan the night of Aug. 26, hours before the massive storm was scheduled to pass over the region. By then, however, Chowan commissioners had already stepped into the breach, holding a meeting in their manager’s absence to declare a state of emergency, authorize county expenditures for hurricane preparations and to plan the county’s response to Irene. Parker said commissioners treated him coolly when he got back to Chowan — he described feeling like a “popsicle” — but even then he did nothing to change what by then had become their increasingly sour judgment of his management and leadership skills. The very next morning — as Irene’s winds and rains were already beginning to punish the region — Parker missed a 6 a.m. scheduled meeting of county officials to monitor the storm. Parker’s excuse for being absent was that he couldn’t get out of his driveway — his temporary residence in Chowan was a county-owned home — because of fallen debris. Apparently it didn’t occur to him to pick up his cell phone and call any number of Chowan or Edenton officials who would have given him a ride to the meeting. Presumably, missing that meeting was the last straw. Commissioners determined that Parker’s focus was somewhere other than Chowan and that, at least right now, he wasn’t capable of making the personal sacrifices that come with being a county manager. They voted 6-1 to fire him. It obviously was a much more difficult decision than the vote margin suggests. A divided commission board had given Parker — the county’s interim manager at the time — the permanent job only last November. Parker’s obvious concern about the welfare and safety of his wife and home in Pender County with the approach of a giant storm was also a mitigating factor in what otherwise could only be viewed as irresponsible behavior. In retrospect, the three commissioners who voted against giving Parker the permanent job last November were prescient in their criticism of their four peers’ decision. They said they objected to what they considered a hasty and incomplete recruitment process. The county received 70 applications for the county’s vacant manager’s job, but none of those candidates were ever interviewed. Instead, four members of the commission board decided to hand Parker the job because it was quick — he was already in Chowan working as interim manager. At the time he arrived in Chowan, Parker was serving as assistant county manager in Pender County and had served as its interim manager several times. However, he had never actually held the title of county manager himself. Read the story at the Daily Advance.

La Marque, Texas (population 14,509): The economic development manager for the central Texas town of Live Oak will be the interim city manager for La Marque. City council members approved hiring Carol Buttler to replace Eric Gage, who is leaving the city next week to go back into the real estate business. Buttler, 57, has been the economic and community development manager for Live Oak since 2009. Before that, she spent five years as the assistant city manager and director of business and community development for Hondo. She also spent 10 years working for the city of La Porte before taking the job in Hondo. Buttler will make $3,308 per pay period (twice a month) plus a $500 monthly car allowance, according to city records. She would assume the interim city manager’s job Sept. 22, the day after Gage is set to leave. While she could be considered for the full time job, Hocking said Buttler’s hire is for now on an interim basis. The city will conduct another search for a full-time city manager, the mayor said. That search might not happen until after the May elections in which the mayor and two council positions will be up for a vote. But, should someone come along before May who fits the bill, the mayor said it is possible the council would considering hiring a full-time city manager ahead of the elections. Buttler could not be reached for comment. Read more at the Galveston County Daily News.

Ocean City, Maryland (population 7,173): Dennis Dare has retired as city manager of the town of Ocean City after four City Council members voted in closed session last week for him to retire on Sept. 9, or be fired. The council president said little to elaborate on the move, which contributed to questions from the public about the closed session vote. He did say the vote regarding Dare was not related to any improprieties, not related to Dare’s salary and not related to any business contracts or hiring connected with Dare’s work as city manager. As city manager, Dare was responsible for hiring and firing city employees, assigning contracts, ordering research and carrying out the will of the council. Dare has worked for the city for almost 30 years. When the council convened on Sept. 9, word that Dare’s career was in question drew a packed house of people calling for details about the Sept. 8 closed session. Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said he did not agree with “the new direction,” the four members of the council were touting as part of the vote for Dare’s retirement. Meehan on Wednesday sent Ocean City Today a letter to the editor, which called Dare’s dismissal “a vindictive move made without proper justification.” When the four members of the council majority moved behind the closed session doors where they voted for Dare to resign or be fired, Meehan remained seated at the dais with council members Doug Cymek and Mary Knight. Council Secretary Lloyd Martin was required to attend the closed session but he and Meehan each said, “It’s a sad day for Ocean City.” City Solicitor Guy Ayers said the council vote was legal. Dare had a contract with the city that guaranteed 120 days severance salary. While the agreement Dare accepted is a city personnel matter that cannot be fully made public, Pillas said he would receive several months of pay, his full 30-year retirement plan and any other benefits. The members of the majority said the vote regarding Dare was in line with moves they made after gaining the necessary fourth seat on the seven-member council in October. Pillas said moves that were part of that campaign to reduce city spending included lowering the starting salaries of new city employees and abolishing town committees as part of a move to seek more private sector input regarding tourism. It was during the contentious discussions about a reduced salary schedule for new hires and a revised benefit plan that the majority clashed with Dare, as well as those in the new minority who opposed the moves. The town charter requires a city manager to serve at the pleasure of the City Council. If that position is vacant, the charter stipulates that the mayor assumes the responsibility during the interim. Meehan took on his new duties as city manager during Tuesday’s work session by reading management reports. Still, Meehan said the department heads are on edge following the forced retirement of the manager who had 17 departments report to him. Knight said the council majority has some candidates in mind to become city manager and has shared the identity of one with the minority. Jim Hall said he had one candidate in mind personally, but would not specify where the candidate came from. Ashley said the majority has considered an inhouse candidate. Pillas said she is considering “about three candidates who are in house.” Read more at Ocean City Today.

Longboat Key, Florida (population 6,888) Longboat Key Town Manager Bruce St. Denis signed a separation agreement Friday, Sept. 16, officially ending his 14 years of service to the town. The agreement to depart followed the news that a majority of the seven-member Town Commission wants him out of office. Town Attorney Dave Persson said St. Denis is the exception in his longevity in the position. Several commissioners have expressed a growing collective voice that the town is facing tremendous challenges in redevelopment, fixing its pension liabilities, and affording labor contracts services and beach maintenance. Several want to see change and want a “change agent,” have decided that while St. Denis’ strengths were the right fit for the past cycle of the island, the future calls for a different skill set, and that St. Denis is just too tied to the policies and some of the problems that the board is trying to repair.  St. Denis has held the top position in the town as manager for 14 years and while he was aware of performance issues and was told on several occasions over the past six months that his job was in jeopardy, it was last Monday that St. Denis learned that five of seven commissioners — enough to terminate him according to town law — had serious performance issues. Mayor Jim Brown had asked Town Attorney David Persson a week prior to independently poll commissioners one-by-one to gauge what he sensed was growing dissatisfaction. Five — Mayor Jim Brown, Vice Mayor Dave Brenner and Commissioners Lynn Larson, Jack Duncan and Phill Younger all expressed issues with St. Denis. Commissioners Hal Lenobel and Pat Zunz did not want to see St. Denis gone, and Lenobel has verbally supported and defended St. Denis throughout the process. Persson told St. Denis the results and encouraged St. Denis to talk to each commissioner, and he did. St. Denis concluded after his discussions that a majority wanted him out of the position and that triggered his decision to voluntarily leave. Persson said the mayor was aware of performance issues and if a majority were inclined, it would allow St. Denis the opportunity to make his own decision instead of putting him through a review that would become part of his employment record. It was an attempt to humanize the process, said Persson. The terms of the town’s contact with the manager state that if St. Denis exits voluntarily, no severance is granted unless one is negotiated. If St. Denis opted not to resign, five commissioners could terminate without cause and the town would have to pay St. Denis one year’s worth of salary and benefits in a severance package that would cost about $260,000 to taxpayers. And instead of putting himself through a review process that appeared destined to end in termination, the voluntary stepping away and granting of the severance was negotiated and agreed upon Friday afternoon. The terms of the termination agreement state that St. Denis will be on call to assist the interim town manager starting Monday, Sept. 19 until Oct. 15. Within seven days following Oct. 15, the town will pay a total of $268,364.81 to St. Denis in severance in the following breakdown:

  • Twelve months base salary totaling $177,507.20.
  • $49,702.01, representing 28 percent of his base salary into his existing 401K
  • $16,507.79 for 12 months of medical premiums
  • $24,647.81 in unused vacation pay

St. Denis also agreed to not criticize the agreement or any aspect arising out of the agreement. Both the town and St. Denis also released each other from any future liability for past official acts and actions. St. Denis told Longboat Key News Friday evening that he has no regrets and that the opportunity to manage Longboat Key was the crowning event of his career. To streamline and expedite this process, the mayor has asked the town attorney to make contact and explore options for an interim town manager. Brown said it is important that the board come to a consensus as to the type of interim town manager they seek. Brown believes the interim manager can expect to be employed by the town from six to eight months while the town conducts a search for a permanent manager. Brown added that the process for selection of the permanent town manager should include development of the type of manager the commission is looking for as well as a proposed salary range. Read more at Longboat Key News.

Sturgis, South Dakota (population 6,627): Sturgis has a new city manager. Officials announced they’ve contracted Daniel Ainsle from northern California for the position. Ainsle worked as a development manager for the city of Merced, California, and will start his new post November 1. Former Sturgis City Manager David Boone resigned earlier this year after being convicted of grand theft. Read the story at KELOLAND.COM.

Salida, Colorado (population 5,274): Before the start of the special Salida City Council meeting Tuesday, Jack Lewis, city administrator, announced he would be leaving his job Oct. 5 to become city administrator in Black Hawk. Lewis has held the job in Salida since Feb. 2, 2009, and earlier worked in private business at Jackson Hole Resort. He told The Mountain Mail Wednesday Black Hawk “seems like a better fit for me at this time in my life.” Black Hawk is the No. 1 gambling city in the state, Lewis said. Lewis said if needed, he will assist in the selection process for a new Salida administrator. At the council meeting Sept. 20, council was scheduled to determine how to handle the hiring process. In the meantime, Lewis said he will remain on the Salida Natural Resource Center Development Corporation board, until council makes a decision to “kick him off or keep him on.” He said he would like to stay on the board, but it might depend upon the time commitment. Lewis said he will “absolutely” miss Salida, but plans to “check in” periodically. Read more at the Mountain Mail.

Basehor, Kansas(population 4,613): The Basehor City Council voted Monday night to oust city administrator Mark Loughry from his position, in a split decision that led one council member to storm out of the building. Four months after unanimously re-appointing Loughry as the city administrator, the council voted, 3-2, to remove his appointment after council president Dennis Mertz’s motion to do so. Along with Mertz, members Fred Box and Iris Dysart voted to remove Loughry, and members David Breuer and Travis Miles voted against the motion. Soon after the vote was taken, Breuer stood up, threw a packet of papers across the council’s table against a wall, and walked out of Basehor City Hall. The council voted to adjourn the meeting quickly afterward. Loughry was absent from Monday’s meeting. Mayor Terry Hill said he was on vacation with his family. Hill said he had asked city attorney Shannon Marcano to look into the possibility of a veto or another measure to undo the vote. The council voted to remove Loughry after addressing its final agenda item for the night, a proposed addendum to Loughry’s employment agreement with the city. The addendum stated that Loughry would “receive the same cost of living increase as other City employees” and that the city would pay 100 percent of health insurance premiums for Loughry and his family. Marcano said the proposed addendum was meant to formalize the pay and benefits that Loughry’s contract originally “anticipated.” After a vote to deny the addendum to Loughry’s contract (3-2, with Breuer and Miles opposing), Mertz made his motion to remove Loughry from the administrator position. After a discussion between Mertz and Marcano regarding whether the material should be discussed in open session, the council voted on the issue with no further explanation.

Update:

Oconto City, Wisconsin (population 4,513): City Administrator Linda Belongia died last Wednesday after a 15-month battle with cancer. She was 56. Belongia served the city for nearly a quarter century. Belongia became clerk-treasurer in May 1988 and was re-elected to that job until 2006. The council at that time decided to make the post an appointed one, along with adding duties of city administrator. Services for Belongia were held Monday.

Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona (population 3,894): Dewey-Humboldt is back to square one in getting a new town manager in place after Garrett Earls informed council members this past week that he was withdrawing his acceptance of the job – again. Earls interviewed for the position in mid-April, along with three other finalists. Earls withdrew his name from the pool of town manager candidates on April 27, and promptly withdrew his withdrawal on the same day. At a May 26 meeting, the council voted 6-1 to offer the position to Earls. In the event negotiations fell through, the council voted to offer the position to Yvonne Kimball. Former councilman David Nystrom explained his ‘nay’ vote at that meeting, saying Earls had no formal training for the town manager position in Williamstown, population 3,215, which has no zoning requirements. On June 10, Earls signed a job offer from Mayor Terry Nolan, agreeing to a start date of Aug. 13 and an annual salary of $67,000. At a Sept. 7 town council meeting, the council members went into executive session for legal advice from Town Attorney Susan Goodwin regarding a communication from Earls. Nolan and the council cannot discuss publicly what happens in executive session. When council resumed the open session, Nolan announced that Earls, former town manager of Williamstown, Vt., had withdrawn his application, citing personal issues as the reason. Earls’ letter also expressed concern over the town’s requirements for fingerprinting, background check, drug and alcohol screening, and a 12-month probationary period. The town’s Administrative Regulation 10-07(6.2) requires a drug and alcohol screening within 24 hours of an offer of employment. Mayor Terry Nolan confirmed that Earls never complied with the drug and alcohol screening requirement. The council has directed Goodwin to contact Yvonne Kimball and determine if she is still available and interested in the town manager’s job and, if so, to begin negotiations. Read more at the Daily Courier.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (population 3,722): More than six months after a divided Carmel City Council agreed to oust embattled City Administrator Rich Guillen, the council voted unanimously tonight to hire a new city administrator. Jason Stilwell, currently serving as assistant county executive officer/budget director of Santa Barbara County, will assume the role Sept. 28. There were 128 applicants for the job, and Sacramento-based search firm Peckham and McKenney weeded through resumes and recruited candidates, ultimately bringing in seven for interviews. The council discussed the prospective hire in closed session, and invited several representatives of community groups to meet and review a few candidates. The city paid Peckham and McKenney $16,500 for the search. Stilwell’s three-year contract sets a $176,500 annual salary; he’ll also receive $15,000 toward moving expenses. Read more at the Monterey County Weekly.

Gold Beach, Oregon (population 2,253): With Ellen Barnes leaving in mid-October to take a position as Molalla city manager, the Gold Beach City Council set about Monday to discuss a replacement. They did not have to look far. Sitting across from them was Barnes’ loyal assistant, city planner and city recorder, Jodi Fritts. Little did Fritts know that a few questions posed by the Council about whether to spend $6,000 for the League of Oregon Cities to perform a search for Barnes’ replacement would turn into a full-blown interview at a public meeting. Fritts apparently passed the interview with flying colors because a short time later the City Council voted unanimously to name Fritts as Barnes replacement. An executive session will be held to discuss Fritts’ salary and an employment contract. Barnes endorsed Fritts and also noted there is a network of city administrators throughout the state willing to assist her at any time. Fritts started out being an utilities administrator for the City and then the bookkeeper under Shirley Walker. She eventually left the City to work for Curry County in its planning department. At one time she was the planning director for the County. Fritts returned to the City a few years ago and has been Barnes assistant concentrating on planning, and the IT financial system conversion. A key consideration for the City Council was hiring someone as City Administrator who was committed to staying in Gold Beach. Barnes lasted two years and former police chief P.J. Janik lasted even less than two years. Fritts graduated from Gold Beach High School, and raised her children in Gold Beach. As she said, she’s not going anywhere.  Barnes will honor her contract with the stipulation she provides 45-day notice before leaving her position. Her last official day will be October 21, although she told the City Council Monday that she will take some vacation so that she will actually be leaving the City in mid-October. Barnes was one of four candidates picked from a pool of 42 applicants for the Molalla City Manager position, and on September 6 was hired from the pool of the four finalists. According to Gold Beach Mayor Jim Wernicke, Barnes had notified him and the majority of the Gold Beach City Council that she would be pursuing a position elsewhere. Barnes utilized a ‘head-hunting’ service through the League of Oregon Cities to find a job that would fit the skills of Barnes. The City of Gold Beach has a tumultuous history with keeping the City Administrator position filled, with a high turnover rate and long periods of the position remaining vacant, but Wernicke says this time is not part of that checkered past. Read more at the Curry County Reporter.

Veazie, Maine (population 1,937): The Town Council voted Monday to enter negotiations with a retired Holden town manager to fill the vacant Veazie manager’s seat on a temporary basis. Councilors voted 4-1 to speak with former Holden Town Manager Larry Varisco about the possibility of him working as town manager two or three days per week while the town fields applications to fill the position in the long term. The council voted not to renew former Town Manager Bill Reed’s contract at a meeting on Sept. 12. Reed’s contract stipulated that the town would need to give him a month’s pay for each of his 18 years as manager if they voted to terminate his contract. His severance package totals more than $100,000. Council Chairman Joseph Friedman said he was interested in picking a temporary replacement from a crop of former managers including Varisco; Sue Lessard, who has resigned as Hampden’s town manager; and former Castine and Belfast town manager Terry St. Peter. The temporary position would last until the town finds its next manager, a task that Friedman estimated would take about eight weeks. Friedman said he leaned toward Varisco after the former Holden manager expressed interest in helping Veazie with its transition during a recent phone call.  Next week, the council will discuss whether it wants to conduct the search for a long-term manager itself or hire an outside group, such as Eaton Peabody Consulting or Maine Municipal Association, to advertise the opening and sift through applicants. Friedman said he felt Veazie could handle the search on its own and shouldn’t need to pay money for someone else to do the work, but the council would discuss all its options next week. Read more at the Bangor Daily News.

Dewey Beach, Delaware (population 341): Dewey Beach Town Manager Diana Smith will no longer be a staple at town hall or take her seat at the middle of the council table at commissioners’ monthly meetings. At a Sept. 9 meeting, Dewey Beach Town Council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Diane Hanson to accept Smith’s resignation, effective immediately. After the vote, Hanson and Commissioner Jim Laird would only say the issue was resolved confidentially. Smith did not attend the meeting or return calls for comment. Her town hall email has been disabled. Commissioner Rick Solloway said in an email potential litigation played a role in the decision to let Smith go. Solloway said he recommended council vote to keep Smith on for a 30-day transition period, but he said the majority of commissioners voted against the idea. Smith sent an Aug. 22 letter to commissioners, requesting termination from her employment because, she said, certain council members micromanaged her official duties. Smith wrote a May 19 email to town attorney Glenn Mandalas, saying she had a right to terminate her employment agreement for good reason, meaning she would collect a severance package of half her annual salary. Smith was hired Feb. 1, 2010, with a starting salary of $70,000. Council voted 3-2 to appoint Mark Allen as interim town manager until council hires a permanent replacement. Allen holds a master’s degree in business administration from Penn State. He said his 25-year career as a naval officer and his own company, a motor sports firm, have given him the leadership skills needed to help the town through the transition. He said his own company, Mark Allen Racing, gave him valuable experience in finance. According to Commissioner Zeke Przygocki, Allen was one of two residents who sent resumes to town hall to apply for the temporary position. Solloway said he believes Allen will work hard to allow a smooth transition. Hanson and Commissioner Marty Seitz opposed Allen’s appointment. Hanson said in an email it served no purpose to explain her vote. Town council unanimously voted Sept. 2 to put commissioners Jim Laird and Marty Seitz in charge of creating a committee to search for a new town manager. Laird and Seitz are the only members of council who are not up for re-election. Betty Laird was appointed chairwoman of the town manager search committee. Laird is chairwoman of the policy committee and wife of Commissioner Jim Laird, who abstained from the vote to appoint her. Laird was chairwoman of the search committee that ended in the hiring of Smith. Read more at the Cape Gazette.