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.

Transistions: Riverside County, CA; Polk County, IA; North Las Vegas, NV and more

Riverside County, California (population 2,189,641): Riverside County Executive Officer Bill Luna is resigning his position as the top county administrator effective Oct. 4, county officials announced Thursday. Luna notified the County Board of Supervisors of his resignation on Sept. 15, and it was officially accepted Thursday. No reason was given for his decision. Former Executive Officer Larry Parrish will serve as the interim chief executive until a successor is found. Luna took over for Parrish in 2008, helping guide the county with its $4.7-billion budget through a recession that has been especially harsh in the Inland Empire. Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Polk County, Iowa (population 430,640): Newly hired Polk County Administrator David Jones is scheduled to start on Oct. 12, county officials said this week. Jones comes via Tazewell County, Ill., where he has served as county administrator and managed a yearly budget of $56 million. He has worked for Tazewell County – population 135,394 – since 2006. He previously spent six years as an assistant to the city manager in Cleveland, Tenn. In Polk County, Jones will help oversee a $242.5 million annual budget in Iowa’s most populous county. He will also help make key decisions on how the county will weather lower property valuations that could cost several million dollars a year in lost revenue. County supervisors voted to hire Jones in late July. Jones’ annual base salary will be $155,000. He will also receive a vehicle allowance equal to $3,600 a year and annual deferred compensation payments equal to 5 percent of his salary, or $7,750. Supervisors have also agreed to pay Jones $12,000 for relocation costs. The Polk County job opened in April when former county administrator Ron Olson resigned to become city manager in Corpus Christi, Texas. Read at the DesMoins Register.

North Las Vegas, Nevada (population 177,426): After several key employees, including the city attorney and acting city manager, left this summer, North Las Vegas is adding a crucial member to its team: a new city manager. In a 4-1 vote, the City Council on Wednesday night ratified the appointment of Timothy Hacker. He starts next week. Hacker, the former city manager of Mesquite, was the only candidate considered for the position. Hacker will receive a $180,000 annual salary, plus benefits. His contract includes a six-month severance package if he is released without cause.  On why he was suddenly fired from Mesquite: I was surprised. It was a 3-2 vote of the council. Two of them talked to me about it and the three who voted for it never spoke to me about it. I was an at-will employee and the average city manager serves for three to five years. When you get over five years, you take some satisfaction. I don’t want to speculate, but the tough economic times just caught up with the mayor and City Council and they chose to release me.” Read more at the Las Vegas Sun.

Woodland, California: (population 57,080): Woodland officials announced Wednesday that Kevin O’Rourke, Fairfield’s retired city manager, will step in on Oct. 3 and serve as interim city manager there through March 2012. Woodland’s current city manager, Mark Deven, is departing Friday for a similar position in Arvada, Colo. O’Rourke served as a city manager for more than 30 years in the cities of Stanton, Buena Park and Fairfield, according to a news release. Following his retirement from Fairfield in 2007 after 10 years of duty, O’Rourke remained active in the International City/County Management Association and the League of California Cities. He most recently served as the interim city manager for Stockton, from October 2009 through July 2010. Read on The Reporter.

Lincoln Park, Michigan (population 36,248): City Manager Steve Duchane is leaving his job with the city. Duchane said today he accepted a position in Eastpointe and will likely leave the city in late October. Duchane has been the city’s chief administrator for seven years. Duchane will have a base salary of $105,000 and will receive $4,600 in lieu of medical benefits with an annual deferred compensation package worth $6,400. He is paid $102,500 in his current position. Duchane has been the focal point of controversy during his nearly 30 years of public service. He was fired in 2003 as city manager in Sterling Heights for falsely stating that he had a bachelor’s degree on his resume. He went on to obtain a bachelor’s in community development and public administration and a master’s in public administration from Central Michigan University. Duchane assisted in numerous collaborative projects with Allen Park, Wyandotte, and Southgate. He said he’d like to finish some of those projects before he leaves, including getting Allen Park to join the Downriver Central Dispatch in Wyandotte, which Lincoln Park and Southgate are members of. With Duchane leaving, city officials must decide whether they will hire another city manager, or go a different route. Councilman Thomas Murphy has said he doesn’t like the idea of a city manager while Mayor Frank Vaslo has said without one, the city could fall back into (a financial) hole. Duchane said he will help the city in whatever way he can in replacing him. Duchane has played a key role in several collaborative projects Downriver, Vaslo said, and he is a little worried that some of them may fall through without Duchane. Valso said it is important for the city to fill the void as quickly as possible. Read more at the News-Herald.

Clearlake, California (population 17,723): The Clearlake City Council voted at its Thursday evening meeting to appoint a new interim city administrator. Joan Phillipe, currently interim general manager for the Foresthill Public Utility District in Foresthill Calif. – located in Placer County – received a 4-0 vote from the council to fill the spot on an interim basis. Council member Judy Thein was absent for the vote. After discussing the appointment in a closed session that occurred immediately before the regular meeting, the council voted on the contract in open session. Bob Galusha, the city’s engineer and current interim city administrator, explained that in February, while Steve Albright was serving as interim city administrator, the city began a recruitment process to find a permanent candidate for the position, which hasn’t been filled on a full-time, permanent basis since Dale Neiman left last November. The city went through an extensive recruitment process, and in June had announced that Canadian Tully Clifford had accepted the job. However, Clifford withdrew later in June, as Lake County News has reported. Galusha said that in August the city began its second recruitment process, seeking a new city administrator either on an interim or permanent basis. He said they interviewed five candidates, three of whom were interested in the position both in an interim or permanent capacity. Phillipe was one of those three also interested in taking on the job permanently, Galusha said. After interviewing and ranking the candidates, the council directed Galusha to negotiate an employment contract with the top applicant – Phillipe, Galusha explained. Galusha said the interim contract was for six months, with an evaluation of Phillipe set to take place three months into the contract. If, at that point, it’s decided that it’s a good fit both for Phillipe and the council, “You could renegotiate the contract and do a permanent contract,” Galusha said. He said that Phillipe has a significant amount of experience in small towns, including time as city manager in the cities of Colusa, Colfax and Loomis. She also formerly served as executive director at the California State Sheriffs Association in West Sacramento, Galusha said. The contract that Galusha presented to the council proposed $65 an hour, or $11,267 per month plus benefits. Because Phillipe has been a past employee in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the contract calls for the city to provide a portion of her PERS contribution, which is 12.3 percent of the $65 hourly rate. In addition, the city will give Phillipe a monthly housing allowance of up to $2,000, Galusha said. Altogether, the total cost is less than what has been budgeted for the city administrator position in the 2011-12 budget, said Galusha, who added that there will be a savings since the city administrator position will have been empty for the first four months of the fiscal year by the time Phillipe arrives. Galusha said Phillipe will report for work on Oct. 24. He said she currently is training a new general manager at Foresthill. He added that city staff recommended the council approve the contract. In response to questions from community members, Galusha and council members said Phillipe had a strong record that included experience with redevelopment. Read more at Lake County News.

Gilchrist County, Florida (population 16,939): A longtime county administrator is leaving. The Gilchrist County Commission voted three to two late today to fire Ron McQueen, effective immediately. He’s been with Gilchrist County for 17 years. Commissioner Randy Durden says McQueen had an unsatisfactory job evaluation about a month ago…and some commissioners remain unhappy with his performance. A special meeting to decide how to replace McQueen has been called for a week from today at 4pm. Read more at WCJB-TV.

Madison County, Virginia (population 13,308): Madison County Administrator Lisa Robertson is resigning.  Robertson says she’s going back to practicing law. The Madison County native has been the administrator since 2006. There is no word yet on who might replace Robertson and when that spot will be filled. Read at NBC29.com.

Lake Elmo, Minnesota (population 7,328): Bruce Messelt is trading in the city for a county. Messelt, Lake Elmo’s city administrator since September 2009, is leaving that post to become county administrator for Chisago County. The Chisago County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Messelt’s employment contract Wednesday. The county started its hiring process in July and Messelt was selected from 77 applicants. Messelt has more than 20 years of public and non-profit management experience, including work with the U.S. Department of Defense, the city of Tucson, Ariz., and Minnesota cities Moorhead and Lake Elmo. Messelt, a native Minnesotan and graduate of Concordia College and the University of Minnesota, is scheduled to start work Nov. 1 with Chisago County. Lake Elmo will hold a special meeting Sept. 27 to discuss the city’s plan to fill Messelt’s position. Johnston said the council will most likely request a list from the League of Minnesota Cities of people interested in filling in as the interim city administrator. Johnston said he hopes to have an interim city administrator in place by the time Messelt’s 30-day notice is up. The city council will decide if the city will conduct a search for a new city administrator itself or if it will hire a search firm, Johnston said. Read more at the Stillwater Gazette.

Lampasas, Texas (population 6,330): Pending the City Council’s negotiation of an agreement, an interim city manager could be hired Monday. A council member found Ron Wilde, a Cedar Park resident, online with Municipal Solutions, a nationwide staffing firm that helps city governments locate city managers and other personnel, Mayor Jerry Grayson said. The council selected Wilde out of a pool of three possible interim candidates. Grayson said he sees no reason for Wilde’s contract not to be finalized Monday. Grayson said Wilde previously worked in cities in Kansas and Washington. Wilde has a master’s degree in public administration, Grayson said. He also has experience managing a city with its own electricity distribution center, like Lampasas.  As the interim city manager, Wilde would run the day-to-day operations of the city, Grayson said. If the council approves the agreement for Wilde, he will begin work Oct. 10, said Stacy Brack, city secretary. Wilde could be contracted to work anywhere between six and 12 months, according to estimates by Brack and Grayson, until a permanent candidate can be found. The city is still searching for a full-time city manager since former City Manager Michael Stoldt was fired in late August. A job ad on the Texas Municipal League website states the position requires a bachelor’s degree in business, public administration or a related field, though a master’s degree is preferred, and at least 10 years of experience as a city manager or assistant city manager, including experience working in a city with an electric utility. Read more at the Killeen Daily Herald.

Stanwood, Washington (population 6,231): Former longtime Marysville city administrator Mary Swenson plans to attend her first Stanwood City Council meeting tonight as the temporary city administrator for Stanwood. Swenson is set to work 16 hours a week at a rate of $70 an hour. Her work will include moving the city through its upcoming budget process and labor negotiations, and the search for additional fire-fighting help. A contract employee with Prothman, a Seattle headhunting firm, Swenson plans to be on the job until Dec. 31 or until the city runs out of the $22,000 set aside for her work. For more than a year, Stanwood Mayor Dianne White has reported to City Hall most mornings to help city staff before she heads to her day job as a pharmacist. White, who is paid $1,100 a month for part-time mayoral duties, returns to her desk at the city during her lunch hour and then she’s back after her pharmacy shift ends in the afternoon. The mayor fired the city’s administrator in April 2010 because White decided the city needed a different style of management. Lagging tax revenues, however, didn’t allow Stanwood officials to hire another administrator, so the mayor stepped in. City clerk Melissa Collins has frequently phoned the mayor at the pharmacy to get her direction on a variety of subjects. At the end of Swenson’s service, White hopes to get from the new interim city administrator a report on administrative responsibilities and staffing needs, a development plan for each city department and a recommendation about how the city can better offer services that encourage economic development. Swenson, 54, retired from her job with the city of Marysville more than a year ago. Since then she has done some work for Prothman and the consulting firm Strategies 360. Read more at the Daily Herald.

Basehor, Kansas (population 4,613): The city of Basehor is moving ahead without former city administrator Mark Loughry, asking Basehor Police Chief Lloyd Martley to serve as an interim replacement. Basehor Mayor Terry Hill said after a special city council meeting this morning that despite some legal questions surrounding the council’s vote to remove Loughry Monday, the members had decided to move ahead with his termination. Hill said he would visit Loughry later today to collect his city keys and make arrangements to clean out his office. The city will also give Loughry a lump-sum severance payment provided for in his contract, Hill said. The amount of that severance payment was not yet available from the city this morning. During the meeting, Hill said he would talk to Martley about becoming the interim city administrator. The council took no formal action during the meeting, which was called for the purpose of determining if further action was needed after the council’s vote Monday to remove Loughry as administrator. Hill’s announcement followed a 15-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel and a 10-minute executive session to discuss finding someone to fill the duties of the city administrator. Meanwhile, Hill said the city would begin searching for a new permanent city administrator “almost immediately,” despite some legal uncertainties surrounding the council’s 3-2 vote to remove Loughry. Hill said one purpose of today’s special meeting was to warn council members that by letting their vote stand, they may be opening the city up to a lawsuit because of a violation of Loughry’s employment contract and a possible conflict with a charter ordinance passed by the city in 1995. The three council members who voted to remove Loughry — Dennis Mertz, Fred Box and Iris Dysart — said they were not concerned with that possibility, Hill said. Loughry’s contract states that if the council intends to terminate his employment, the council must provide him a written notice of that intent at least 10 days before taking action, and must also allow him to appear at a hearing to defend himself. The council did not take any of those actions before voting to remove Loughry, Hill said earlier this week. Hill said those three council members had still not stated a reason for their vote, and he did not understand what the reason might be. This past spring, the council members gave Loughry a positive performance review, he said. Hill said he’d been contacted by several city residents confused about the vote to remove Loughry, as well. If Martley is appointed interim administrator, this will be his second stint in that role. He served as interim administrator for more than two months in 2009, after former administrator Carl Slaugh resigned and before Loughry was hired. He currently holds the title of assistant city administrator, in addition to being the police chief. Hill said after the meeting that Martley was the council’s first choice to take over temporarily, though he wanted to meet with him to offer him the job before the council formally appointed him. Read more at The Cheiftain. The vote came after some city officials said that Loughry was getting too much health insurance coverage and had overstated the income from his last job when he accepted the position in Basehor. Loughry said Thursday that he negotiated the health benefits and that the previous salary Basehor officials looked at didn’t take into account benefits or a raise he was anticipating in Hays. And Loughry said the City Council broke his contract by firing him without giving him 10 days notice that the issue was coming up for a vote. Mayor Terry Hill on Thursday defended Loughry, saying his service has been fine for two years. Mertz called it an issue of fairness. Basehor gives municipal employees full health coverage but doesn’t pay premiums for their family members. Loughry said he negotiated the benefit for his family and asked Hill to make a notation in his contract later when he noticed it wasn’t there. A previous city attorney told officials after the change that only the council could amend the contract. For Loughry and Hill, the question is: Why now? Mertz said the benefits and salary issues have been simmering for a while. He believes the surprise vote was legal, even though Loughry wasn’t warned. Read more at the Kansas City Star.

Friday Harbor, Washington (population 2,120): Of its many claims to fame, the fact that Friday Harbor is managed by an administrator whose longevity is unmatched in Washington state is not  — widely known. But those days are numbered. After 24 years at the helm of Friday Harbor, retirement beckons for town Administrator King Fitch, and those plans have been set in motion. Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher today announced that Fitch intends to hand over the helm of the town’s day-to-day operations by the end of June, 2012, and that he notified town employees of that decision earlier in the day. Lacher said Fitch informed each member of the town council with a personal telephone call. Fitch’s pending departure will present a tough challenge for the town in the months ahead, she said. Even though calling the shots for the town for nearly a quarter-century may be enough, Fitch said the decision to step down is painful just the same. That tenure began even before Fitch was selected town administrator by former mayor Jim Cahail. Fitch, who stepped into the administrator post on Sept. 8, 1987, had been working part-time for the town as a building inspector at that time. Lacher said the list of accomplishments that Fitch put in place over the years is long and significant, which include securing of water rights for the town’s future growth, facilitating implementation of the state Growth Management Act, merging the island’s fire departments and overseeing several major public works projects, including the recent replacement of the submarine sewer line. By town ordinance, the administrator is appointed by and serves at the will of the mayor. Fitch and Lacher are currently working on a strategy and timeline for the upcoming transition. As for the future, Fitch, who will turn 65 in early January, said that he looks forward to having more time to spend with family and with his four grandchildren in particular. And though he and his wife, Pam, have no intention of leaving the island, Fitch said he looks forward to that day when he can also walk down the streets of Friday Harbor without making a mental list of all potholes, catch basins or cracks in the sidewalk that he needs to attend to the following day. Read more at the San Juan Journal.

Hyde Park, Vermont (population 474): On Thursday, September 8, at their regularly scheduled meeting the Hyde Park Selectboard officially welcomed and introduced new Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski. The Hyde Park Selectboard began discussing the idea of hiring a town administrator several months ago and began the actual process soon after. At the September 8 meeting, the board also appointed Rodjenski as Hyde Park’s Zoning Administrator and Town Service Officer. As a part of those duties he will be working closely with the Development Review Board and Planning Commission. According to Rodjenski, he was interested in the Town Administrator position in Hyde Park for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it was available at a timely moment for him. When the position was advertised Ron had just begun looking for fulltime work again after taking a few years off to be a stay-at-home dad. Rodjenski has roughly 20 years of experience fulfilling the needs associated with all three of his positions due to the fact that he has held similar posts in the towns of Richmond and Underhill. He has a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Central Connecticut State University, and he moved to Vermont following his graduation from that university in 1988. While he was officially welcomed by the board at their September 8 meeting, Ron actually started work on Tuesday, September 6. He has already attended three evening meetings, one each with the Planning Commission, Development Review Board, and Selectboard, while also meeting the town road crew and Town Office staff in order to familiarize himself with the town and what’s going on. Read more at the News & Citizen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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