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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transitions: Glendale, CA; Rockingham County, NC; Oviedo, FL and more

Glendale, California (population 205,952): Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa has been appointed to the same position with the city of Glendale, the city announced Tuesday. Ochoa takes over for current Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird, a former Monrovia city manager himself who is stepping down at the end of the year. Ochoa will officially take over the job on Jan. 3, 2012, according to a Glendale city spokesman. Ochoa said in an interview Tuesday night that his departure will be “bittersweet.” Ochoa started as an intern in Monrovia in 1993, working his way up the ladder until he was appointed to the city manager position in 2004. A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Ochoa obtained a master’s degree in public administration from USC while working for Monrovia. Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman said in a prepared statement that Ochoa was selected because of his impressive “credentials, his values, his track record and multi-dimensional understanding of local government and municipal operations.” In terms of population, Ochoa’s leap from Monrovia to Glendale is enormous. Glendale is more than five times the size of Monrovia. Ochoa will also take charge of a much larger city work force. About 1,800 employees work for Glendale, compared to approximately 300 in Monrovia. Ochoa said his experience would translate, however, because the city faces many of the same challenges–economic development, declining revenue–that he’s faced here. Ochoa’s salary is still being negotiated, according to the Glendale News-Press. Ochoa currently makes about $182,000 per year in Monrovia, not including benefits and bonuses. Starbird makes about $240,000 annually, the News-Press reports. Ochoa said he was approached by a Glendale executive recruiter in September and has been going through the application process since. He tendered his resignation at the Monrovia City Council meeting Tuesday and will stay on as city manager until Jan. 2, 2012, he said. Ochoa said he plans on moving to Glendale as soon as the real estate market allows. He lives in Monrovia with his wife Sophia Ochoa and their children Nicolas, 14, and Tessia, 10. Read more at the Montrose Patch.

Rockingham County, North Carolina (population 93,643): There is a new man in charge in one Triad County and he may be a familiar face to some. Tuesday, the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners appointed Lance L. Metzler as new county manager, who is currently the county manager in Montgomery County. Metzler’s qualifications to serve as the chief executive officer of Rockingham County Government include many years of professional experiences, visionary leadership, and governmental innovations. In a news release the county said Metzler will begin work December 5. Since 2005, as county manager for the County of Montgomery, some of his top accomplishments are the following: the first Strategic Plan for the County; the first official Capital Improvement Plan; a team approach for operations and long-term planning; and a pro-active approach to growth and customer service in a diverse community. He served as county administrator/manager for the County of Northampton, VA, between 2000 and 2005. Some of the milestone accomplishments included: first Sustainable Technology Industrial Park in the nation; a new County facility to house County services; collaborative efforts for regionalism to address housing, water and sewer needs; aggressive Land Use Plans; and Distinguished Budget Awards. As town manager for the Town of West Point, VA, from 1997 to 2000, his accomplishments included hiring and developing qualified department heads with teamwork philosophy; an industrial park; a Farmer’s Market; a Bikeway and Scenic Vista; a historical walking tour; a police department; an Emergency Operation Program; and Wastewater Treatment and Airport service development through regional efforts. Metzler also worked for the Town of Kingstree, SC, and the Town of Troy, NC. He has been featured in numerous governmental magazines, publications, and productions; is a credentialed International City/County Manager’s Association (ICMA) Manager; and is actively involved with city/county governmental associations. In addition, he was charter president of the West Point Rotary Club, a member of Seven Lakes Baptist Church, and a Pi Kappa Phi Alumni. Metzler has an undergraduate degree in Urban/Regional Planning at East Carolina University and is currently completing a master’s in Public Administration from Old Dominion University. He has done graduate work at Virginia Tech along with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Public Executive Leadership Academy (PELA), and the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute (SEI). Read more at WFMY News 2.

Oviedo, Florida (population 33,342): After an extensive internal search, city officials have made a decision in appointing a new city manager. At a special meeting on Oct. 20, the Oviedo City Council voted unanimously to offer the city manager position to Kathryn Breazeale. Breazeale is a familiar face to the city, as she has been the active budget officer since December of 2010. Breazeale has previously served in several positions that qualify her for the responsibilities that come with a position such as city manager. Serving as the director of administrative services for the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, Breazeale will enter this position with a vast knowledge of city affairs. With a master’s degree in public administration, more than eight years of progressively responsible local government experience and four years in the private industry as a CFO, the city council’s decision was made based on merit and experience. Additionally, the city is also still in pursuit of a financial director. The position is open and all qualified candidates are urged to apply. The finance director is part of the city manager’s senior management team that performs a variety of professional, supervisory and technical accounting and finance work, according to city documents announcing the position. The guidelines express that an ideal candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college in accounting or business administration and also have at least five years of experience in finance administration and government fund accounting. The city is also looking for someone who has been in a similar position before, serving as either a director or assistant director in a larger organization. Pay for this kind of position ranges between $90,000 to $100,000 in annual salary, according to the release. Read more at the Seminole Chronicle.

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

Elk River, Minnesota (population 22,974): The city’s new administrator is running things for the first time — after apprenticeships spanning two decades in other Minnesota communities. Others might have seen a city with a high tax rate and a decrease in property values. But Elk River’s new city administrator sees “a jewel.” Elk River is the Sherburne County seat and the second-largest city (after St. Cloud) in what has been Minnesota’s fastest-growing county for much of the past decade. It is a city of possibilities — from its quaint Main Street and cozy downtown district to the superstores that straddle Hwy. 169. It is the one community within a rural county that has access to several major arteries, with Minneapolis just 30 miles away. For Portner, it’s a dream job. Of course, this is a guy who, years ago, savored spending a day in a small western Minnesota city, observing as officials talked about trying to develop around a post office. He grew up in New Ulm unsure where his future would take him. But he was always observant — even of things others took for granted. New Ulm was a city that took care of itself, he recalled. The yards were manicured, the streets clean. He went to the University of Minnesota and landed an internship with then-U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad. Portner had considered a teaching career. Then he began meeting police chiefs, school superintendents and city officials. After earning a master’s degree at Hamline University, Portner learned in 1991 that Brooklyn Park was looking for an assistant to its city manager. He spent six years working in what was then Minnesota’s fifth-largest city. He later moved to Plymouth, another large suburb, and served as the city’s administrative services director. He felt fulfilled in Plymouth but jumped at the chance to go to Elk River. The city initially offered the job to Kevin Lahner, city administrator in Burlington, Wis. When Lahner declined, Elk River chose Portner to succeed Lori Johnson, who resigned and is now city administrator in Otsego. There were 71 applicants for the job that Portner ultimately got. He and his wife, Penny, a Forest Lake teacher, live in Andover, a location that creates a 20-mile commute for each of them. They have two daughters and a son. In spite of a 45.7 percent tax rate and a 5.6 percent decrease in property values, Elk River has tremendous potential, he said. With the levy, there’s an additional 3 percent tax increase, he said. But the positives far outweigh the economic climate. Read more at the Star Tribune.

Leland, North Carolina (population 13,527): Leland’s new town manager, David A. Hollis, begins work at his new post on Tuesday. He succeeds William B. Farris, who will retire December 16 after more than 30 years of municipal work experience, five of which he served as Leland town manager. Hollis is a licensed engineer, who previously worked for North Carolina engineering firm, W.K. Dickson and Company. He also has served as chief project engineer for New Hanover County and as the superintendent-plant manager for Brunswick County’s Water Resources department. The Leland resident was the chairman of the town’s planning board and a member of the Leland Code Rewrite Committee, which has led revisions of the town’s ordinances. He was appointed to both groups in 2008, but resigned when he accepted the position as town manager, said Carol Ann Floyd, Leland town clerk. The town received 34 applications for the town manager position. The town council and Mayor Walter Futch led the hiring process. Hollis will receive an annual salary of $95,000 and will receive a $300 monthly vehicle allowance. Read more at the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

Grand County, Utah (population 9,225): The Grand County Council will be without an administrator beginning Nov. 18. Council members approved 4-2 a resolution last week to exercise the council’s right not to renew the county council administrator’s employment agreement based on “restructuring of the position.” Melinda Brimhall, the current council administrator, said the decision was mutual. Brimhall said the discussions about the status and future of her job began a year ago, after what she referred to as significant personal attacks against her from a number of county elected officials. Brimhall is the seventh administrator to be hired by the county since citizens voted in 1992 to change the form of county government. Brimhall assumed the role of county council administrator in the fall of 2009, after working as a management analyst in the city manager’s office in Casa Grande, Ariz. At the time she was hired, Brimhall made a verbal commitment to stay for two years, she said. Council chairman Chris Baird said at the Oct. 18 meeting that ending Brimhall’s contract is a mutually beneficial decision. He added that the county will restructure the position to better conform to modern state codes. Council members Audrey Graham and Ken Ballantyne voted against the action, stating their disappointment with the county council for allowing the problems between the council administrator and other elected officials to reach this point. Baird offered his appreciation to Brimhall during the meeting and said it was a “tough decision” all around. Brimhall said she is not sure what her next step will be, but she will be leaving the Moab area after completing her final month as council administrator. She will be given six months’ severance pay as part of the agreement. Read more at the Moab Times-Independent.

Rockwood, Tennessee (population 5,705): Rockwood City Council has offered the city administrator’s job to Jack Miller, Crossville’s former top official. Miller received the nod over former Roane County Executive Mike Farmer in a 4-2 vote during a special session Monday, Mayor James Watts said Tuesday. Former Morgan County Executive Becky Ruppe also applied for the city administrator’s post, to be vacated soon by Jim Hines, who is retiring. Watts said he will meet with Miller this week to negotiate a contract and salary, and council will be asked later this month to approve the pact. The job was advertised at $50,000 annually, Watts said. Watts said Miller has a work record that includes extended stints as city manager in several cities. Miller was abruptly fired in January 2008 by the Crossville City Council through a prepared resolution that stated he wasn’t “performing up to desired standards,” according to published reports. Hines, 66, announced plans to retire several weeks ago. Hines, who also performs the duties of city building official and city recorder, said he may stay on as a contract employee to continue to do the building official’s duties. Read more at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Minden, Nebraska (population 2,923): Matthew Cederburg has accepted the position of City Administrator/Finance Director for the City of Minden. Cederburg, who was recently hired as City Clerk/Treasurer  for the city in June, 2011, was offered the opportunity at the October 12 City Council special meeting and will immediately make the transition into his new position. The formal swearing in of Cederburg will be at the November 7, 2011 City Council meeting. Cederburg fills the administrator position that has been vacant since early summer. Read at The Minden Courier.

Hickman, Nebraska (population 1,657): Silas Clarke of Omaha has been hired as the new city administrator for Hickman. Clarke replaces Brett Baker, who resigned in May to become Seward’s new city administrator. Clarke will begin his duties Nov. 14, said Kelly Oelke, Hickman’s finance director and city clerk. Clarke was assistant grant administrator for the city of Omaha and worked as the high schools’ director of the attendance collaborative at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He also was the capital improvement plan coordinator in Onawa, Iowa. Clarke has a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis on local government and a bachelor’s degree in political science. Hickman is about 15 miles south of Lincoln. Read more at the Journal Star.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Animal Shelters: Memphis, TN; Flagler County, FL; Appomattox County, VA

Memphis, Tennessee (population 646,889): A new shelter could be the first step toward a new future for Memphis Animal Services without former shelter director Matthew Pepper. Memphis Animal Services has faced a government raid, employees charged with abuse, and the recent resignation of Pepper. With a nationwide search underway for a new director, employees are being retrained again in data entry.

Cindy Marx-Sanders, a member of Community Action for Animals, is concerned about new shelter records obtained by Action News 5 investigators. Marx-Sanders pointed to records that show 592 dogs killed in July and August with no reason given. The city directed questions about the records to Chief Administrative Officer George Little.

Other records show the shelter has more than 1,300 open calls as of September 15.  Some of the calls include “investigate bite” and “investigate cruelty” calls. “Officer Activity Reports” appear to show some officers not getting in the field until an hour after their start time and coming back to the shelter two hours before they are off. Action News 5 calculated nearly 20 hours unaccounted for in the logs at the start and end of an animal officer’s shift in just a 12-day period.

While Marx-Sanders believes many shelter employees are doing a great job, she is concerned the city does not always fire the ones who are not. One of the reasons is because of a provision in a union agreement with the city.  It says, “any employee who does not receive any disciplinary action for a period of six (6) months, shall have his or her record cleared.” That means employees disciplined in January could have a clean slate by July. Little said he will bring up the clean slate issue during annual negotiations with the unions in animal services and other departments, but he expects resistance. Little said there have not been consistent yearly performance reviews citywide.  The administration plans to change that. Read more at wmctv.

Flagler County, Florida (population 94,901): Animal lovers rallied at Monday’s Flagler County Commission meeting and succeeded in quashing a vote that could have put small, private shelters out of business. The commission already approved the first reading of ordinance-code changes that would make shelters and sanctuaries a “permitted special exception” in agricultural districts, and require them to have a minimum of 10 acres and no more than 50 animals, among other restrictions.

“No. No. No,” was the cry of about 20 from the gallery after County Administrator Craig Coffey recommended approval of the second reading, with tweaking to come after the ordinance was on the books. Instead the commission voted to table the vote until the Nov. 7 meeting, and hold workshops between now and then with shelter operators.

Palm Coast resident Rebecca Bearss put the acreage requirement per animal in perspective for commissioners. “That’s more than 4,356 square feet for a small dog or cat,” she said. “This is an area large enough to park 20 full-sized vehicles. I don’t think it’s a criterion for caring.”

Planning Director Adam Mengel said the ordinance changes were the product of “extensive staff work,” and that anyone legally operating a shelter would be grandfathered in, but the statement didn’t carry much weight with Debi Root, operator of Second Chance Rescue.

“I don’t think three minutes is enough time to address all the problems with this ordinance,” she said. “I don’t have 10 acres, but it’s not about acreage. It’s about care.”

The County Commission on Sept.19 approved the first reading of the ordinance amendment, which was spurred, in part, because a court order preventing the owner of the Pig Tales Sanctuary in western Flagler County, Lory Yazurlo, from keeping pigs expires in November. There is nothing on the books currently to regulate shelters or sanctuaries, said county spokesman Carl Laundrie when the code changes first appeared on an agenda. Because private sanctuaries are not required to register with the county, officials there have no idea how many may be in existence. Root took exception to the stipulation that a code enforcement officer would be sent to investigate complaints versus an animal welfare officer.

“Implement an inspection process and have a check list,” she said. “The problem is that you should know who the sanctuaries are and regulate them. You can have two animals neglected and abused on 100 acres. You can have 100 animals on 2 acres and they are all well-cared for.”

After listening to concerns, Commissioner Barbara Revels said the “document needs to viewed holistically,” and Commissioner Milissa Holland added that no “unintended consequence” should be made with the code changes. Mengel recommended altering the county’s “kennel ordinance” that deals with anyone who has four or more cats or dogs.

Another concern that arose out of Monday’s meeting is for hunters who often keep four or more dogs for their sport. “Lots of our hunters have more than four dogs and are, in effect, operating a kennel,” Mengel said. “Everything, when you turn it over, other things come up.”

Palm Coast resident Jane Culpepper told the commission it was about to kick over a hornet’s nest. “Don’t make a decision today. Give these people a chance to give some input and do it right,” she said. “It’s about time for the elected officials to listen to the people even if it’s a knock-down, drag-out (fight).” Read more at the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Appomattox County, Virginia (population 14,973): Appomattox County is taking steps to bring its animal shelter up to state regulations after the county was slapped with a $1,000 fine last month. The county board of supervisors was notified of the violations prior to its July meeting. For two months, the supervisors had been discussing with the state how to remedy the problems, County Administrator Aileen Ferguson said Monday. At its Sept. 22 meeting, the county accepted a consent order agreeing to pay the fine and remedy the issues, which included sanitation, veterinary care and the length of time that animals were held before they were killed. Ferguson made brief mention of how the shelter will be instituting written protocols regarding all three areas of concern, at the county Board of Supervisors meeting Monday. In addition to mandatory protocols, the order also notified the county that its facility would be subject to unannounced inspections through December 2012. The county could face a fine of $20,000 for not complying with any part of the order. Ferguson said sanitation was an easy fix, but the killing and veterinary care protocols could end up costing the county a significant amount of money. Ferguson said when an animal with no owner is given care, then has to be put down, the cost could quickly add up. She said the county is working with a local veterinarian to develop standards. Each measure would be brought before the board before a decision is made to implement it. Read more at The News & Advance.

Transitions: Marshall County, AL; Sheboygan, MI; Kinston, NC and more

Marshall County, Alabama (population 93,019): Marshall County Administrator Nancy R. Wilson announced her impending retirement in a joint press release with the Marshall County Commission. And she intends to enjoy it. Wilson, an Albertville resident, is retiring Nov. 1 and will remain on administrative leave till the effective date. Attorneys for Wilson and the Commission had been working on a settlement to avoid litigation after Chairman James Hutcheson placed Wilson on administrative leave with pay and without explanation Sept. 1. Officials did not release details of the settlement or explain the reason for Wilson’s sudden and surprising departure. Commissioners plan to fill the position and requested an opinion from the Alabama Attorney General to determine the proper procedure for hiring a new county administrator. Commissioners are asking the AG for clarification on what legislative act they should use to hire the new administrator. Wilson served as county administrator for four years after being hired during former Chairman Douglas D. Fleming’s administration. She previously worked for the Dallas County Commission for seven years, for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for eight years and for the Alabama State Department of Education for nine years. Wilson plans to stay in Albertville for now and enjoy the time with her daughter. Read more at the Sand Mountain Reporter.

Sheboygan, Michigan (population 46,845): The Sheboygan Common Council, with the help of two tie-breaking votes by Mayor Bob Ryan, Monday night voted to create a city administrator’s position, effectively stripping Ryan of many of his duties, while rejecting the recommendations of one of its committees. Finance Director Jim Amodeo will be promoted to city administrator and current Deputy Finance Director Nancy Buss will be named city treasurer, effective next Monday. Last week, the city’s Salaries and Grievances Committee, in a pair of 3-to-1 votes, voted to promote Amodeo to interim administrator and that the positions of finance director and deputy finance director remain in the city’s table of organization, even though they wouldn’t be filled. But Monday night, two votes — one to remove the term “interim” and one that calls for Amodeo to fill the position through the length of his contract, which runs through August 2015 — ended in a 7-7 tie. Ryan voted yes for the amendments so that they each passed 8-7.

Ald. David Van Akkeren and Darryl Carlson argued that making the job interim and leaving the finance director in the table of organization would eventually create added expense cause instability in city government. Bohren and Versey argued that making it an interim position would allow the city to search for a better qualified administrator than Amodeo, who has no experience in public administration, and that removing him from office would be more difficult if he’s allowed to serve out his contract as city administrator.

Ald. Don Hammond said Amodeo has done a good job for the city and was part of a nationwide search that drew 30 applicants for the finance director position. Versey said, “We did a search for a finance director, not a city administrator.”

Under the plan passed Monday night, all department heads, including the fire and police chiefs, would report to the administrator on budgetary and other administrative issues, essentially stripping Ryan and future mayors of overseeing most of the city’s day-to-day operations. The administrator would report only to the Common Council president. The top three Common Council officers — president, vice president and Committee of the Whole chairman — but not the mayor, would evaluate the administrator.

The idea of a city administrator has been discussed for years, but the latest push came from the recent controversy concerning Ryan’s drinking binge in Elkhart Lake at the end of July and his subsequent refusal to resign or take a leave of absence to seek treatment. There also is support among some aldermen to make the mayor’s job part-time at a lower salary. Those changes could not occur until the start of the next mayoral term in April 2013. Some aldermen have said they support a public referendum on changing the mayor’s job description. Such a referendum would have to be put on February’s ballot to be in effect when the next term starts, City Attorney Steve McLean has said. Read more at the Sheboygan Press.

Kinston, North Carolina (population 20,048): Although many in the community wanted Kinston officials to look close to home when selecting a new city manager, local leaders looked to a small city more than 150 miles to the west to find their man. Tony Sears, 34, who is currently serving as Randleman’s city manager, was tapped as Kinston’s newest city manager Monday. The members of the City Council, after having met with Sears several times, voted unanimously to approve his contract. Sears is scheduled to start work Nov. 2. Before coming to Kinston, Sears spent nearly seven years as city manager of the town of Randleman. The town of about 3,600 people is nestled in Randolph County, part of the greater Greensboro area. Sears is married with two sons, ages 9 and 7. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, with a concentration in town, city and county government. He also minored in community planning and history. Sears earned his Master’s of Public Administration from ASU in 2002. In addition to serving as Randleman’s city manager, Sears interned with the town of Troy in 2000 and Apex in 2001. He was town manager for Kenly in 2002 and 2003. Sears will take over the reins from Interim City Manager Bill Ellis, who has been at City Hall since July 1. Ellis will return to his post as director of the Kinston-Lenoir County Department of Parks and Recreation. Ellis stepped in as interim manager after former City Manager Scott Stevens announced this past spring that he would serve as Goldsboro’s city manager. Stevens had spent four years as city manager and had worked for the City of Kinston since the late 1990s. Read more at ENCToday.

Hyattsville, Maryland (population 15,570): After less than one year of service, Hyattsville City Administrator Gregory Rose has resigned, effective Oct. 7. After a three-hour closed session discussion, the City Council voted 7-4 to accept Rose’s resignation letter, which was dated Oct. 1. He will be paid until Jan. 18, the end of his contract, but his last day of work will be this Friday. Rose offered the council two options in his letter—either leave his post now or stay on board until his contract end date. The council, despite protest from several of its members, decided on option one. No reason was given for Rose’s departure, but over the past couple months the council has, during public meetings, repeatedly criticized Rose’s work. At Monday’s meeting, several council members, including Mayor Marc Tartaro, told Rose they were concerned about his lack of progress on hiring a human resources manager for the city. Rose said he was unclear on the council’s wishes, adding that it did not provide him clear direction. It is not yet clear who will serve as acting city administrator. Vincent Jones, former assistant city administrator, resigned his post last summer. In times past, Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland has served as acting administrator while former administrator Elaine Murphy was on leave. Read more at the Hyattsville Patch.

Dickson, Tennessee (population 13,499): Through tear-filled eyes, city of Dickson mayor Don Weiss read a letter of resignation from City Administrator Tom Waychoff at Monday’s monthly city council meeting. Waychoff has been city administrator for 10 years and is fighting cancer. Weiss said he recieved the letter on Sept. 23. Waychoff’s last official day on the job is Friday.

Crookston, Minnesota (population 7,737): Two things are known for certain regarding the future of the City of Crookston administrator position: One, Aaron Parrish’s last day on the job is Nov. 11 and he’ll start his new administrator job in Forest Lake on Nov. 14. Second, City Clerk/Treasurer Betty Arvidson has been recommended to serve as interim administrator, a capacity she served in after Ray Ecklund retired and before Parrish was hired. Arvidson was a finalist for the permanent job when Parrish was hired in 2004, but has indicated she will not be a candidate this time around. But after that, city officials have to decide how they’re going to go about finding a successor to Parrish. The Administrative Committee this evening will likely decide whether or not the city should handle the recruitment of candidates on its own, or retain an outside firm to handle the process on the council’s behalf, which would involve announcing the position, researching the salary range, advertising, reviewing applications, selecting finalists, developing interview questions, facilitating the interview process, checking references and negotiating a contract. In a memo to the committee, Parrish states that the city has solicited proposals from two firms that have coordinated many administrator searches in cities across Minnesota. The committee will go over the proposals tonight. In addition, the committee is expected to formally designate Arvidson as interim city administrator. She is expected to receive a 15 percent bump in pay as interim administrator. Read more at the Crookston Times.

Camden, Maine (population 3,651): Outgoing Town Manager Roberta Smith has been showing the ropes to her replacement, Patricia Finnigan, this week. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the pair met with Camden’s municipal department managers in the Tucker Room of the Camden Opera House. Both were expected to be present at a Select Board meeting that evening, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Washington Street Conference Room, and broadcast on Channel 22. Read more at the Herald Gazette.

East Spencer, North Carolina (population 1,369): The town of East Spencer hired a new administrator Monday, ending a search that took more than a year. After meeting in closed session, the Town Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the contract for Macon Sammons Jr., a former manager of Surry County. On Sept. 13, after the board interviewed Sammons for a second time, Mayor John Cowan said he is “highly qualified” for the position. Cowan said Sammons has been the manager of two counties in Virginia as well as Surry County, and he has more than 20 years of municipal management experience. Former Town Manager Donnie Jones left due to medical reasons in the spring of 2010. While East Spencer looked for someone to fill the position, town Clerk Anneissa Hyde served as interim town administrator. Read more at the Salisbury Post.