November 6 – 12 is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Today’s news revolves around animal shelters in municipalities across the country.

Dallas County, Texas (population 2,368,139): Testimony is under way in the trial of a former Dallas animal shelter manager accused of animal cruelty after he ignored an employee’s pleas to rescue a cat that was stuck inside a wall. The cat eventually died. Shelter employee Kimberly Killebrew testified this morning that she asked the city’s shelter manager, Tyrone McGill, multiple times about freeing the cat stuck in the wall in May 2010. Each time, McGill, 61, told her it would be taken care of, Killebrew told jurors. When Killebrew told McGill again about the cat, she testified that they needed blueprints and that they had “protocol to follow” before rescuing the cat. The cat could be heard for more than a week meowing and scratching at the bottom of a wall near a break room and bathrooms. The cat’s meows were “real distinct, real stressed,” Killebrew said. The cat’s meows grew weaker, she said. But it was not removed until more than a week later when it died and began to smell. Dallas County prosecutors David Alex and Brandon Birmingham said in opening arguments said that McGill threatened the jobs of anyone who cut the cat out of the wall because it would be destroying city property, adding that McGill had removed ceiling tiles because he thought the cat could climb out. McGill’s attorneys did not make an opening statement. On cross examination of Killebrew, McGill’s attorney Anthony Lyons questioned her about city rules that prohibit destroying city property without permission and why she didn’t rescue the cat. Killebrew said that she couldn’t without calling to get approval and it was not within her authority to make those calls. She instead repeatedly asked McGill about removing the cat. To remove the dead cat, the city cut a hole in the wall. A photo of the wall shows the hole was not much bigger than a plate that covers an electrical outlet. McGill faces up to two years in a state jail if convicted.

Employees first heard the cat crying and scratching inside the wall on May 3, 2010. They asked McGill and other supervisors what to do about it, court record show. The following day, shelter employee Kimberly Killebrew asked McGill again about freeing the cat, and McGill said he would take care of it. Employees heard the scratching ad crying for several days. By May 8, the cat was still moving inside the wall but it no longer cried. When asked about about the cat. McGill told Killebrew that ceiling tiles had been removed to allow the cat to get out, records show. The next day, McGill said the shelter would not cut the wall to remove the cat. Only when the cat died and the stench became unbearable was the wall cut, records show. McGill “accepted responsibility and indicated he would take care of the problem and permitted the cat to die in a cruel manner,” according to court records. Read more at The Dallas Morning News.

Des Moines, Iowa (population 203,433): Des Moines streets could have fewer animal control officers and residents might be called on to take strays to shelters under one city budget cut scenario that became public on Wednesday. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa — Des Moines’ contractor for animal control and shelter services — has been asked to cut nearly $450,000 a year from its budget, according to an email the organization sent to supporters on Wednesday. That’s more than half of the $868,000 a year the city pays the rescue league to provide animal control and shelter services. Rescue league leaders say a cut that steep would leave Des Moines with no animal control officers on its streets to respond to calls about stray cats and dogs and other animal safety, neglect and welfare problems. Instead, Des Moines residents would be relied on to bring stray animals to the shelter during shorter business hours. City Manager Rick Clark said that local officials are in the early stages of trying to figure out how to fill a $7.7 million budget hole over the next two years. It is too soon to know what programs and services are at greatest risk of cuts, including animal control, he said. Animal control services come out of the Police Department’s budget. As police look for ways to reduce expenses, it makes sense to consider a range of cuts, including animal control, Clark said. An email sent Wednesday to rescue league supporters urged them to ask city leaders to make zero cuts to an “already lean animal control budget.” Tom Colvin, the league’s executive director, said he appreciates the city’s budget challenges and he is not trying to fear-monger. He wants the public to understand the implications for public safety and animal welfare if such a large budget cut becomes reality, he said. The league has provided the city with stray animal shelter services since 2005. The nonprofit humane organization took over the city’s animal control program in 2009. At the time, city officials projected the move would save about $74,000 a year. The rescue league’s three-year contract with the city expires June 30. League officials had asked for a 1.8 percent annual increase in the contract to help pay for cost of living increases for animal control personnel. City Councilwoman Christine Hensley said residents should reserve judgment until formal budget proposals are submitted to the council. In 2010, rescue league officials responded to 12,579 animal calls in Des Moines — an average of about 36 per day. Those calls ranged from cases of neglect to reports of dangerous animals running loose to calls for assistance from police. The league has begun to make headway on a lot of the animal control problems Des Moines has seen in recent years, Colvin said. The rescue league has five Des Moines animal control officers. Cutting the budget by nearly $450,000 would mean zero animal control officers, Colvin said. A cut of $300,000 would enable it to employ two officers. City and rescue league officials met on Oct. 20 to discuss the proposed budget cuts, Colvin said. When the rescue league contracted with the city in 2009 to provide animal control services, it did so to help save taxpayers money, Colvin said. Read more at The Des Moines Register.

Racine County, Wisconsin (population 195,408): All area municipalities have soundly rejected Racine’s nearly $6 million animal control startup proposal, leaving the city to provide the service on its own. Racine officials presented the $5.9 million proposal — for basic shelter startup and equipment — in late July to area municipalities after Countryside Humane Society announced last year it will no longer offer animal control services starting in 2013.  Now, a few months later, the city is left looking at an approximately $4 million startup plan on its own after other municipalities opted out. Other municipal leaders said the cost was the biggest factor in their decisions. City Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox, who is heading the animal control startup efforts, said the only option left is to build a new shelter in the city and hire appropriate staff because there are no existing shelters within city boundaries for use. Animal control services currently offered by Countryside for about $192,000 this year, which the city’s proposal would assume, include: picking up strays, handling bite cases, responding to animal emergencies, assisting police and fire, issuing municipal citations and investigating complaints and reports of abuse and neglect. To do that Bowersox said the initial startup, including the new facility, property and equipment, would be about $4 million in addition to $650,000 total operational and personnel costs annually. She emphasized those are “comprehensive” figures so there aren’t any surprises later. The 10,000-square-foot facility would only be able to handle the city’s estimated 1,318 animals annually. A 15,000-square-foot structure was originally proposed to handle the county’s estimated 2,200 animals. So if other municipalities want to bring their strays in down the line, Bowersox said, “we’d only have so much space.” Bowersox said the city is slightly behind its original timeline but hoped to still be able to begin construction in March. During a presentation to City Council members at a Committee of the Whole meeting last week, Bowersox explained the need for an animal control plan, even though state statutes don’t necessarily require it. There is no state law that municipalities need to do animal control, she said, but statutory requirements do kick in once animals are actually picked up — like keeping them for seven days in appropriate conditions. City officials say animal control is important for both animals and the public. There is an average of 150 bite cases in the city every year with animal control in place, Bowersox said Friday. If city discontinued doing animal control, she warned those cases would escalate and there would be more traffic incidents with increased strays as well as issues with feral cats, packs of dogs roaming the streets, feces and animal population control. Caledonia Village President Ron Coutts said the proposed cost, about $105,000 for the village in 2013, was the biggest deterrent. He said the village is currently in talks with Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant among others. Municipal leaders agreed cost was the biggest factor. Saying it’s still early yet, they hoped to have more definitive animal control options in 2012. Read more at The Journal Times.

Sutter County, California (population 94,737): The new Sutter County Animal Shelter could open as early as January 2013, says Yuba City City Manager Steve Jepsen. Sutter County, Yuba City and Live Oak are finalizing their joint exercise of powers agreement for a new shelter on Live Oak Boulevard this month with the goal to break ground in January and open the following year. Sutter County will consider adoption of the agreement Tuesday. Yuba City and Live Oak are expected to follow suit at their meetings the following week. Talk about the need for a new shelter has labored for years, but a renewed emphasis started this spring after a grand jury report recommended the Sheriff’s Department investigate the shelter for possible violations of state law. The jury called the shelter filthy and cited a severe rat infestation, but the department concluded in September that high rates of illness and death among animals did not reflect criminal behavior or neglect on the part of employees or management. Nearly all the facility and procedure issues identified in the grand jury report have been resolved, said Randy Cagle, assistant community services director. Dogs and cats are vaccinated upon intake, most permeable surfaces have been sealed and there are new dog kennels and new hygiene and sanitation procedures. A consultant was hired for $9,000 to examine the shelter and is expected to submit a review of the changes in the coming weeks. The cats also have new cages with partitions to improve sanitation and cleaning ease and have solid metal sides to minimize transmission of air flow and illness. On Friday, 21 cats were lounging in their six condo towers, as they are known, some perching on shelves, others curled on bedding and one enigmatically dozing in his litter box. The old cat cages are in a new trailer in a room with impermeable walls and floors that will soon house kittens. A washing machine and dryer hummed in the adjacent room as the commercial dishwasher washed dishes — all major sanitation improvements. Though the 25-year-old facility has been upgraded, it’s exciting to finally have a new one on the horizon, Cagle said. Immediate, necessary improvements to the existing shelter cost $140,000, of which $31,000 will be recaptured through improvements that can be utilized at the new location, such as the cat condos and commercial washer and dryer set. The new facility cost is capped at $4.5 million with Yuba City paying $3 million. Overhead will be limited to 10 percent and workers compensation to 5 percent of payroll. Sutter County will remain the lead agency through the design and construction of the facility, and then Yuba City will take the lead. Yuba City expects to dramatically reduce costs under its leadership, Jepsen said. The shelter’s net budget under Sutter County peaked at $1.058 million in 2009-10 and has since dropped to $884,000 this year, he said. When Yuba City is the lead agency, it is projecting an annual budget of $784,000, with changes in administrative costs and workers compensation. Overhead costs are projected at $76,000, compared to $231,000 in 2010-11 under Sutter County. Those costs were reduced by more than $100,000 for this year’s budget. Within the agreement, each agency will have a weighted vote based on funding with a major majority required to act on budget or policy issues. Yuba City will pay 66 percent of the cost of its operations for the next two years, based on the 2009 census, but there will be a future discussion about adjusting cost for time and distance traveled. The three jurisdictions have hailed the pending agreement as a testimony to government cooperation. Read more at the Appeal-Democrat.

Alameda, California (population 73,812): After 126 years, the city of Alameda is giving up the animal rescue business. Faced with a severe financial crisis, the city will hand its animal shelter to a stalwart group of volunteers, officials announced Tuesday. Several city employees who work in the shelter will lose their jobs, and the police department will halve its animal control enforcement staff. The shelter typically gets 1,400 animals per year. The changes will help the city save more than $600,000 a year – a significant chunk of the $4.4 million it needs to cut from its general fund next year. The city will pay Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter $300,000 a year to run a facility that now costs the city $935,000 annually. Volunteers will feed animals, clean cages, walk dogs and oversee adoptions and licensing. The volunteers will contract with local veterinarians and the East Bay SPCA for spay, neuter and euthanasia. Police will take calls on animal abuse, vicious animals or other animal-related complaints. Officials and volunteers said they are thrilled with the 15-year contract, which they described as a sound solution to a difficult problem. The alternative, they said, was to contract with a neighboring city for animal shelter services. The cost would be less – about $250,000 a year – but Alameda residents would have to drive to Hayward, Fremont or beyond to find a lost cat or drop off a stray dog. Alameda’s savings might be other cities’ headaches, though. Staff members at neighboring city shelters fear they may be forced to pick up the slack for Alameda’s reduced animal services. Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter said they hope to equal, and even surpass, the services the city has been providing since 1885. They plan to hire eight full- and part-time workers and rely on 100 or so volunteers to expand the shelter hours. Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Long Beach, New York (population 33,275): Animal rescue organization Rescue Ink and Long Beach City officials celebrated the opening of the Long Beach Animal Shelter on Sunday. The facility, which was closed five years ago, will now be operated by the “rebels with a cause” group of bikers who are best known from the television program of the same name on the National Geographic Channel. Rescue Ink has a $15,000 contract to run the shelter for one year, staff the facility and work in cooperation with the City’s Animal Control office. The recently rehabilitated building is located at 77 Park Place in Long Beach. Read more at the Long Beach News.

Marion County, South Carolina (population 33,062): With the possibility of losing control of the Marion County Animal Shelter staring it in the face, Paws to the Rescue took a step back from its request for increased county funding for the facility Monday. As a result, it appears the nonprofit group will continue to operate the county’s only animal shelter for at least another year. Paws to the Rescue’s request for an increase of $22,000 per year for shelter operations raised some eyebrows in the Marion County Administrative Building. Such an increase — the current budget for the shelter is just $53,000 a year — seemed beyond the means of a financially-strapped county and caused some to wonder if the county would be better off resuming control of the center itself. Marion County Administrator Tim Harper recommended just that to council last week. Faced with that prospect, however, Paws to the Rescue Excutive Director Jen Nall told a county council subcommittee Monday that the proposed increase wasn’t a requirement for her group’s ongoing participation in shelter operations. She said the rescue could live with the current funding, although it would like to see a commitment to a 3- to 5-percent increase each year in that budget. Committee members seemed pleased with Nall’s willingness to continue with what it receives, but couldn’t guarantee the increase. After hearing from Nall on Monday, Harper withdrew his recommendation and said if Paws to the Rescue is willing to continue at its current rate, he’ll recommend the county offer it a new contract through the end of the current fiscal year (June 2012). Paws to the Rescue’s current three-year contract expired last month. Paws to the Rescue took control of the shelter in October 2008 in an agreement with council to improve the care of animals at the shelter. The agreement was for Paws to the Rescue to receive $4,400 per month from the county while the county would continue to be responsible for liability, insurance and utilities of the facility. The committee said it also wants the rescue to submit an audit to the council at the beginning of a new fiscal year. After that, it will be able to ask for an increase when next year’s is drawn up instead of during the middle of a fiscal year. Nall said after the meeting she willing to accept the contract if council approves the committee’s recommendation at the full council meeting, set for Tuesday. The rescue has significantly reduced the shelter’s euthanization rate, which was at 58 percent before it took over and is now down to 29 percent. Paws to the Rescue doesn’t depend on the county alone for funding; it also accepts donations. This year, the group brought in nearly $200,000, much of it from animal lovers from far away who’d heard about the center’s many needs. The donations cover food, vaccinations, vet visits, cleaning supplies, building improvements and more. Nall estimates the annual cost of keeping the shelter running is around $250,000. Still more help could be on the way. The current drive for a countywide penny sales tax could go to help the shelter. A new shelter is one of the many items on a list of projects the new tax could help fund. A decision hasn’t been made on whether to pursue the penny tax. The tax would have a set time limit — seven years — and would require the approval of the county’s citizens through a referendum. Read more at SCNow.

Bolivar, Missouri (population 10,325): Fur is flying as a tale of two animal pounds unfolds in Bolivar. Former employees of the Bolivar City Animal Pound and volunteers with animal rescue organizations say that what once was a smooth-running operation that kept nearly all animals from being euthanized is no longer providing a humane environment for animals and making it more difficult for animals to be saved from being euthanized. But a recent inspection of the pound by the Missouri Department of Agriculture resulted in just three findings that have been corrected, and Bolivar’s city administrator said little has changed in the euthanization and adoption rates at the pound. Marion Rutledge, former manager of the pound, says she was pleased with how few animals were having to be euthanized at the city’s kill facility. The euthanization rate of animals was 2.8 percent in 2010, down from 22 percent in 2008. Using contacts at animal rescue facilities across the country, and with the help of Brenda Closser, who coordinates the transfer of pound animals to rescue organizations, 268 animals — 42 percent of those that went through the shelter in 2010 — were sent to rescue facilities or no-kill shelters.  Rutledge said what she considered to be the pound’s success started to change this spring just a few months after Michael Jones was hired as the city’s animal control officer. She and former pound employee Chris McKinney both report incidents when they say Jones abused animals at the pound and made it more difficult for them to do their jobs. The situation became much more tense for Rutledge in June when she said City Administrator Ron Mersch told her that animals should be euthanized after the required five-day holding period. Though Rutledge and Closser had been coordinating animal transfers to other shelters and rescue organizations, it is impossible to do that in five days, Rutledge said, especially when the rescue organizations are out of state. She said this did not become an issue until after Jones was hired. Mersch said that conversation about needing to euthanize some animals after five days was the result of a rising animal population at the pound. At the time, Mersch told the BH-FP that too much taxpayers’ money was being spent housing animals until they could be taken to rescue organizations. But Rutledge said the 71 animals that had been transferred to rescue organizations up to that point in the year cost the city $1,300 to care for, while euthanizing those animals would have cost $3,000, and she supplied that information to city administration. Rutledge said she was told the city could not complete paperwork for rescue organizations, though Rutledge said the only paperwork she was doing was the transfer paperwork required by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Rutledge said that then the signed paperwork the rescue organizations had to return to the pound quit arriving in the mail, and she said the mail she picked up at Bolivar City Hall had been opened — with paperwork missing. Mersch said that much of the mail that arrives at city hall is opened in the clerk’s office, to the dislike of other city employees, too. Rutledge resigned from the city in August, saying she “was not willing to work there in those circumstances.” After Rutledge’s resignation, Mersch put Jones in charge of the pound with part-time laborers to do most of the day-to-day work under Jones’ supervision. McKinney began as a part-time laborer at the pound in November 2010 and worked under Jones’ supervision for about a month before he no longer was employed by the city. He said he was fired three days after submitting a letter to Mersch with concerns he had about pound operations that could cause liability issues for the city. Read more at the Bolivar Herald-Free Press.

Delta, Colorado (population 8,915): If negotiations are successful, the City of Delta animal shelter will soon be operated by CAWS, or Citizens for Animal Welfare and Shelter. The animal welfare organization is based in the North Fork Valley. In the meantime, Delta Police Department officers are dealing with reports of vicious dogs, but there’s no animal control officer to respond to reports of loose dogs, barking animals, or nuisance cats or dogs. The animal shelter is being operated in a very limited capacity with two part-time shelter technicians. This state of affairs brought several animal lovers to the Delta City Council meeting Oct. 18. Fran Goetz questioned why the city can support the golf course, but have no funds for animal control. Instead, city officials expect animal welfare non-profits to handle stray and abandoned animals. Debbie Faulkner of Crawford said the Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary is getting “20 calls a day” from residents, with over half coming from Delta citizens. More animals are being dumped than ever before, she added. This activity is “rampant” because people seem to think they won’t get in trouble if there’s no animal control officer on the job. Both she and Goetz said the abandoned animals pose a community health risk which increases liability for the city. Chris Miller attended the meeting to invite council members to a RSVP volunteer recognition ceremony but took the opportunity to express her concerns about safety and nuisances caused by animals running at large. The decision to reduce animal control is largely due to budget constraints, Delta Police Chief Robert Thomas said shortly after the services were “drastically” curtailed in the spring. Thomas said his priority is keeping police officers on the street, a direction which has the endorsement of city manager Joe Kerby. At a budget work session preceding the city council meeting on Oct. 18, Chief Thomas expanded on animal control operations. Actual expenditures for animal control were $85,940 in 2010, and are estimated at $53,940 in 2011. With the support of CAWS, Thomas said he expects 2012 expenditures to drop even more, to $47,264. His goal is to apply the savings towards additional patrol officers. He also believes animal control demands a regional solution. CAWS proposes to assume the cost of one of the shelter’s two part-time technicians; the other will remain with the City of Delta and, after training, will enforce the city’s animal control ordinances. Hopefully the training will be completed in late November or early December, Thomas said. JoAnn Kalenak, who has been representing CAWS during the lengthy negotiations with the city, planned to make a presentation to city council Nov. 1. She said CAWS hopes to spend several months “shadowing” city staff. CAWS also needs several months to build a volunteer base, raise donations and pursue grant funds. At the Nov. 1 meeting, city council members had an opportunity to review CAWS’s budget. Read more at the Delta County Independent.

Transitions: Fort Worth, TX; Washington County, MN; Winchester, MA and more

Fort Worth, Texas (population 741,206): By his own admission, Tom Higgins likes to stay in the background. For most of his 24 years with the city, he was the economic development director, working behind the scenes to bring companies and jobs to Fort Worth. As interim city manager for 10 months, Higgins lost his much-beloved anonymity, and the spotlight is expected to get brighter after the City Council’s decision last week to remove the “interim” tag from his job. Though Councilman Danny Scarth talked of Higgins having the “complete and full confidence” of the council, Higgins, 68, who will be paid $233,393.06, knows that Mayor Betsy Price has already said the city will start a national search next year. From wrestling with the city’s pension program to tackling long-delayed work on streets, then finding more funding once the current street backlog is eliminated, Higgins clearly has a lot on his plate. What’s more, he wants to see city employees embrace a culture change to provide more customer service to residents — one of the themes of Price’s mayoral campaign. Council members praised Higgins’ handling of a budget this year that included a 3 percent raise for general employees and no layoffs. But Higgins warns that next year’s budget could be far more difficult. The sluggish real estate market is one cause for pessimism, and Higgins said he expects property values to stay flat, at best. City staff members have begun looking at where to hold the line on expenses to prepare for another shortfall. Long-term projections show the city facing shortfalls in each of the next five years. Just because something is in the budget, he notes, that doesn’t guarantee that the money will be spent. Despite coming close to retiring three years ago, Higgins doesn’t sound ready to quit just yet. A noted early riser, Higgins is often in the office well before dawn poring over documents and getting work done before the phone calls and meetings begin. He keeps a notepad by his bed to jot down ideas and sometimes sits on his patio in the middle of the night deciding what the next move should be. He joined Fort Worth in 1987 as the one-man Department of Economic Development, helping to land the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility and luring companies to the now-booming Alliance Corridor just as it got off the ground. Making those deals work, outmaneuvering other cities, was all part of the excitement that fueled the competitive fire, Higgins said. And he still gets satisfaction driving by businesses or hotels that have brought jobs and visitors to the area. That experience should serve Higgins well as city manager, said Mike Berry, president of Hillwood Properties, which developed Alliance and worked with Higgins on many of those deals. Berry said Higgins’ attention to detail, calm demeanor and institutional memory will be assets for the city. But Berry said time hasn’t passed Higgins by. He can see the big picture and is good at finding new ideas for seemingly intractable problems, Berry said, mentioning that he was in Higgins’ office last week, talking about finding a solution to the perpetually clogged Interstate 35W. Read more at the Star-Telegram.

Washington County, Minnesota (population 238,136): Longtime Washington County Administrator Jim Schug announced Thursday he will retire early next year after 25 years with the county. Named county administrator in 1994, Schug began his quarter-century with Washington County as the director of the county’s Community Services Department. He has worked in county government for more than 37 years in Crow Wing, Redwood and Washington counties, beginning his career as a social worker. Schug, who lives in Stillwater, announced his plan to retire in late January in an email to employees on Thursday. He had previously informed Washington County’s five commissioners, according to a county news release. Schug’s 2011 salary is $150,065. A timeline for finding Schug’s successor was not made immediately clear on Thursday. Commissioner Autumn Lehrke, who represents south Washington County, in an interview Thursday praised Schug as “great to work with” during her 10 months on the board and said “his knowledge base will be greatly missed.” County Board Chairman Gary Kriesel, a commissioner for seven years, said he has witnessed Schug’s skills as a leader. Schug respects the employees and is a positive motivator, he said. Kriesel said the five commissioners will discuss soon the process to replace Schug. Kriesel said his “expectation” is that it would be an internal search. Lehrke agreed. Even those who don’t follow county government closely should appreciate Schug’s contributions, Kriesel said. Over the years Schug has made recommendations to the County Board that led to the county’s solid financial standing and its successful delivery of a wide range of services. Surveys have shown residents are satisfied with county government, Kriesel said. Read more at the Woodbury Bulletin.

Winchester, Massachusetts (population 21,374): The Winchester Board of Selectmen Thursday night unanimously selected Richard Howard, outgoing Malden mayor, as its new town manager, the board said in a statement. Howard was among four finalists for the position, and beat out officials from Saugus and Belmont, a list narrowed from 54 original applicants. In November, Howard announced he would not seek a fifth term in office in Malden. Also a lawyer who served business-oriented clients before his time in electoral politics, Howard had said he would explore non-elected public life or return to law. His departure marks the end of an era in Malden, where Howard has served as mayor since 1996, and a bump in pay. Winchester advertised compensation up to $160,000. Howard earned $114,400 as Malden mayor in 2008, the latest figures available. The other finalists for the job were Saugus town manager Andrew R. Bisignani and Belmont town administrator Thomas G. Younger. Swampscott town administrator Andrew W. Maylor was a finalist before accepting the town manager job in North Andover. In a phone interview, Howard said he would likely take the helm in Winchester in early January, after the new mayor of Malden is sworn in Jan. 2. Currently he and Winchester officials are negotiating the terms of his employment there, he said, including salary, benefits, and other standard contractual items. The transition will require some adjustment, Howard said, but was quick to compare the communities. While Winchester is less than half the size of Malden — at just over 21,000 — Howard said both communities share a desire for transit-oriented development, and more specifically, the remodeling of their high schools. This year, workers are completing a $70 million renovation of Malden High School, the last segment in Howard’s career-long effort to remake and rebuild the Malden Public Schools. Some of the key differences between the communities fall squarely along the population trend. The Winchester town budget is roughly half of what the Malden city government spends in a year. The political structure is also wholly different, and will mark Howard’s first step outside of an elected position. The transition means less hours during evenings and weekends filling the ceremonious duties of a mayor of a medium-sized city, Howard said — duties that he will come to miss, he said. Read more at the Boston Globe.

Cocoa, Florida (population 17,140): Deputy City Manager Brenda Fettrow last month became acting city manager and will become Cocoa’s first female city manager when her contract is finalized in the coming weeks. Fettrow replaces Ric Holt, who was the city’s longest-serving city manager, holding the job since 2000. The Cocoa City Council last month accepted his retirement offer. Fettrow was deputy city manager since 2008. She previously worked for 20 years at Brevard Community College, most recently as vice president of student services and interim executive director of the BCC Foundation. Before that, she was president of BCC’s Cocoa campus. Read more at Florida Today.

Clearlake, California (population 15,250): Clearlake’s new interim city administrator received a warm welcome at her first council meeting on Thursday evening. Joan Phillipe started work on Oct. 24. The council voted to hire Phillipe on an interim basis at its Sept. 22 meeting, as Lake County News has reported. Most recently she worked as interim general manager for the Foresthill Public Utility District in Placer County, and also previously served as city manager in Colusa, Colfax and Loomis. Her interim contract is for six months, after which the council could decide to hire Phillip in a long-term capacity. She has reportedly expressed interest in taking the job permanently. During public comment, Supervisor Rob Brown appeared at the podium with a large gift basket filled with a number of items including freshly baked bread, local produce and wine, gift certificates and tickets for local school sporting events, which he offered Phillipe as a welcome gift. Phillipe told the council later in the meeting that she anticipates “a very positive future” working with the city. Council member Judy Thein thanked Bob Galusha, the city’s engineer, who has acted as interim city manager for several months as the hiring process was taking place. Thein said Galusha won’t have to do double duty in the future. Mayor Joyce Overton said a meet and greet to introduce the community to Phillipe will take place on Nov. 10. Read more at Lake County News.

Lake Wales, Florida (population 14,225): It’s been a while since Lake Wales had a new city manager who was also new to the area. That’s why city of Lake Wales and the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce – in partnership with several local businesses – will host a reception for Therese Leary from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Nov. 3, in the lobby of Lake Wales City Hall at 201 W. Central Ave. Leary of Hilton Head, S.C., was one of two candidates selected for interviews for the post to succeed City Manager Judy Delmar, who announced last year that she would be retiring. When R. Dale Brown of Palestine, Texas, withdrew his application in late August after difficulties with a Skype.com interview and concerns of professionalism among the commissioners, the Lake Wales City Commission voted unanimously to offer the job to Leary. She accepted the job in early September and the City Commission approved her contract on Sept. 7. Her first City Commission meeting will be next Tuesday. City Commissioner Betty Wojcik – who is executive director of the chamber – approached Delmar about planning a reception for Leary and covering the costs with a partnership between the city and chamber. Local businesses such as Center State Bank, Florida’s Natural Growers and Lake Wales Main Street will sponsor the reception. Wojcik said they chose 4:30 p.m. to give people a chance to drop by and still take part in or attend the Lake Wales Literacy Council’s Spelling Circus or the Florida’s Natural Foundation awards, both scheduled for that night. Leary served as general manager for Indigo Run Community Owner’s Association in Hilton Head, N.C. She also served as city manager for Lake Park and Crystal River in Florida, as well as for cities in Connecticut, South Carolina, and Vermont. She hold a master’s degree in management and organizational development from Antioch University in Keen, N.H., and has studied with the New York University business law program. In her interview, Leary said she planned to move to Florida whether or not she got hired by Lake Wales. She described herself as a “consensus-builder” who would seek a team-oriented approach to both city management and public and private partnerships for economic development and recreation. Read more at News Chief.

Harrisburg, North Carolina (population 11,526): The Harrisburg Town Council voted Oct. 24 not to renew the town administrator’s contract and removed her from all town duties immediately. Five of the seven council members were present for the vote Oct. 24 at a regular town meeting. Jeffrey Redfern and Jeff Phillips were absent. The others unanimously approved the decision to put Michele Reapsmith on administrative leave with pay until Nov. 30, when her contract ends. Reapsmith was hired finance director in 2009 and was appointed town administrator in 2010. She said her departure was a mutually beneficial decision. Council member Bill Williams said he had always good relationship with Reapsmith, but he voted in favor of the decision. Williams said the council was “looking into some things,” but he wouldn’t comment further. A special meeting “to discuss personnel matters” in closed session is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 29, he said. The council could vote to take action on the matter, but any voting is likely to take place publicly, after the closed session. Harrisburg voters will elect four council members Nov. 8. Read more at the Charlotte Observer.

Wilcox County, Georgia (population 9,255): Tommy Higgs who was hired in June by Wilcox County Commissioners as county manager has tendered his resignation, effective immediately. Higgs said he cannot support some provisions of a plan that commissioners have unveiled for “expediting payments by Wilcox County to its vendors and service providers.“ In leaving the position he has held for the past four and a half months, Higgs added, “I would like to extend my most sincere and profound thanks to my former co-workers, the many new friends I have met and especially to the many citizens who welcomed and provided me with opportunities to really become a part of this great county.” When Higgs was hired, he was given a six-month contract with a clause for renewal if everyone concerned was satisfied. Commission Chairman Tracy Tyndal says he has received no letter of resignation, but was informed by County Clerk Paula Jones that Higgs turned in his keys, cleaned out his desk and told courthouse personnel that he was resigning. The contract, he said, does not expire until the end of November. Tyndal said the commission met last Wednesday in a called session, to discuss a plan for paying 201 unpaid bills totaling $336,000. When Higgs was asked about the situation, Tyndal said, the county manger responded that he was controlling cash flow. In the first two weeks of her employment, Ms. Jones was getting many collection calls, according to Tyndal, so she started investigating and found the unopened bills. Read more at the Cordele Dispatch.

Valley City, North Dakota (population 6,585): Outgoing Valley City Administrator Jon Cameron’s new job is in the Oklahoma city of Perry. The controversial city official announced earlier this month that he’s resigning after months of political turmoil in the city, but he didn’t say where. He said he would leave it up to officials in that city to make the announcement. Perry City Council member Shelbi Duke has confirmed that Cameron will be working there starting next month, replacing a retiring city manager. Cameron also then confirmed it. Perry is about 60 miles north of Oklahoma City. It has a population of about 5,200, slightly smaller than Valley City, which has about 6,600 people. Cameron says it’s about four hours from Dallas, where he has children and grandchildren. Read more at The Bismarck Tribune.

Loomis, California (population 6,430): Loomis’ new town manager considers Loomis a “gem.” Rick Angelocci began as the Loomis town manager on Oct. 13. He replaced Perry Beck who retired on Sept. 30. Angelocci, formerly the assistant city manager and community development director for the City of South Lake Tahoe, will be paid $110,000 per year, plus a $300 per month car allowance. Beck’s pay after 11 years on the job was $116,000. According to a report written by Beck, the council began the search process in May and received 127 applications. The search was narrowed down to seven interview candidates and then four finalists. Councilmember Gary Liss said he is very supportive of Angelocci, as are other council members. Liss said he was most impressed with Angelocci’s background in planning and in working on collaborative agreements with multiple jurisdictions. According to Beck, prior to working for the City of South Lake Tahoe, Angelocci spent two decades at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and held the position of Chief of Operations. Based on his planning background, he will also serve as the town planning director. Kathy Kerdus, who held the position, recently retired. Angelocci calls himself a “problem solver” and said he looked very closely at Loomis before applying for the job and was impressed with what he discovered about Loomis. Angelocci said when he was scouting the town, he stopped at Taylors for lunch and left his smartphone on the table. He said he realized it and feared the phone would be gone, but he said he was pleasantly surprised to find an employee had picked it up and was holding it for him. He felt the incident spoke of the character of the town. Angelocci remarked that Loomis had stayed true to its original values outlined when Loomis incorporated. Angelocci said he was also pleased with Loomis’ finances. The new town manager said he plans to continue the traditions already established for Loomis and stay on the path the town has consistently taken. Angelocci said he plans to stick to “slow growth, no debt, continue with sustainability. I hope to do as well as Perry.” Angelocci is divorced and has two daughters still living in South Lake Tahoe – Larissa, 16, and Sarah, 13. He said he is living in an apartment in Roseville and plans to rent for a year before settling in a more permanent location. He said his oldest daughter is a junior at South Lake Tahoe High School, but he may consider sending his younger daughter to Del Oro High School. Read more in The Loomis News.

Indian Wells, California (population 4,958): The Indian Wells City Council hired retired Beverly Hills city manager Roderick J. Wood as the interim Indian Wells city manager during a special meeting on Thursday. Wood, 62, has 40 years experience in municipal government, serving as city manager for multiple cities, including Indian Wells from 1989-1992. Land developer and former Indian Wells mayor Dick Oliphant suggested Wood, a La Quinta resident, for the interim position, Mayor Patrick Mullany told the 40 residents present at Thursday’s announcement. Wood, who retired about 18 months ago and is drawing a pension from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, will be paid $15,000 monthly. He is eligible only to work 960 hours a year. He will receive no other benefits, according to his contract. His familiarity with the Coachella Valley is one of Wood’s strong points, council members said. For his part, Wood said he recognizes he will have to figure out the issues quickly. But after familiarizing himself with the city budget and the city’s priorities, Wood said his next task will be to foster the public’s confidence, which has been shaken in previous months by the in-fighting among council members and the more recent controversy involving Indian Wells’ soon- to-be former City Manager Greg Johnson. On Oct. 6, Johnson, 50, abruptly tendered his resignation after allegations that he got resident Haddon Libby fired from his job after Libby publicly questioned Johnson’s salary and benefits. Johnson’s last day will be Nov. 4. He, however, has not been conducting the day-to-day city business. Mel Windsor, the city’s Public Safety and Personnel director, has been acting interim city manager since Oct. 7. Libby has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer, First Foundation Bank, and a complaint against Indian Wells — a notice of intention to file a lawsuit. Some of the residents who attended Thursday’s special meeting believed the council would address Johnson’s resignation and compensation. The announcement of an interim city manager took them by surprise. City officials have remained tight-lipped about Johnson’s severance package, which is expected to be disclosed at council’s next regular meeting, Nov. 3. Johnson earns $254,625 annually and stands to get a year of salary, and accumulated sick and vacation pay. Council interviewed four head-hunting firms on Wednesday and Thursday for the city manager search, but has not made a selection. Once a firm is chosen, the city manager search is expected to take as long as five months. Read more in The Desert Sun.

Viroqua, Wisconsin (population 4,362): The Viroqua City Council, Tuesday night, approved hiring city clerk John Severson as the new city administrator. Severson has served as city clerk for the last six years. He will step into the city administrator role, replacing Matt Giese, who left Viroqua at the end of August to be the village administrator for Cottage Grove, Wis. Mayor Larry Fanta announced Severson’s promotion following a closed session at the council meeting. Prior to Severson’s tenure as the city clerk for Viroqua, he was the clerk/treasurer/administrator for the village of Viola for 10 ½ years. With the internal promotion of Severson from city clerk to city administrator, Fanta said the city will need to find a replacement for the city clerk position. Read more at the Vernon County Broadcaster.

Van Alstyne, Texas (population 3,046): After nearly six months of searching, Van Alstyne appointed a new city manager. Philip Rodriguez was selected out of 70 candidates at Tuesday night’s meeting. He is currently the assistant city manager at Cedar Park, Texas and this new position in Van Alstyne will be his first time serving as a city manager. Mayor Kim DeMasters said the city is growing and she believes Rodriguez is the best candidate to help with that growth. Rodriguez will start his term at the end of November. Read more at KXII.

Grantville, Georgia (population 3,041): Grantville City Manager Mike Renshaw has informed the Grantville City Council that he will be leaving the city in late November to take a position as county manager of Camden County, NC. Renshaw has worked for the city for nearly a year after Grantville went without a city manager for about the same length of time following the abrupt departure of former city manager Scott Starnes, who was arrested on drug-related charges in October 2009. Grantville Mayor Jim Sells said that Renshaw has been “an asset for the city” and will be missed. Renshaw was recently offered a new one-year contract on a split vote from the council, but he opted to take the NC position instead. When Renshaw took the Grantville job at the very end of former Mayor Casey Houston’s tenure in late 2010, Grantville “had been without a city manager for a year, so there was a pile of work that was left undone,” said Sells. His last day of employment with the city will be on Nov. 24. Renshaw’s is only the latest in a wave of resignations by city employees. In recent weeks two electricians and the city clerk have resigned, for a total loss of six employees, out of a total of 23, in just six weeks. Sells said that he expects Renshaw to be replaced quickly. Renshaw said he’s excited about his new opportunity. He said he is most proud of the new “professionalized” police department. He said he and the city staff have also been working “to get the city in a position to take advantage of economic development opportunities in the near future.” Renshaw said he believes the city is better off than he found it. Read more at the Newnan Times-Herald.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transitions: Coconino County, AZ; Kilgore, TX; Suamico, WI

Coconino County, Arizona (population 134,421): Coconino County Manager Steve Peru is announcing his retirement from Coconino County after thirty two years of public service.  Peru began his career at Coconino County in 1979 and has held a variety of positions within the county, including Interim County Manager prior to being appointed County Manager in 2006.  Peru will remain in Flagstaff and continue his involvement with organizations in the community. Peru began his career at the county in the Community Services Department and has served in a variety of roles in the organization, including Community Services Program Coordinator, Career and Training Center Director, Interim Facilities and Interim Finance Director, Elections Director, Assistant to the County Manager/Clerk of the Board and Deputy County Manager.  Peru was appointed as the County Manager in October 2006.  During his tenure at Coconino County, Peru has taken the lead on key initiatives.  These initiatives include the county’s success in financial planning and the ability to weather the worst downturn in the economy since the Great Depression.  Peru also led efforts to ensure the county’s investment in key assets, including parks and open space, the restoration of the Coconino County Courthouse and the construction of a new jail within Coconino County.  Peru has been at the helm during the county’s worst year of natural disasters, including a record-breaking snow storm, a large wildfire, flooding and tornadoes. Peru’s last day with Coconino County will be November 4, 2011.  Coconino County staff will be developing an interim leadership succession plan for consideration by the Board of Supervisors. Read more at Flagstaff Business News.

Kilgore, Texas (population 12,975): After three years working for the City of Montrose, Colorado the decision to pass on the town’s top job was difficult for Scott Sellers. Filling in as Acting City Manager since January, Sellers had the opportunity to apply for the job permanently, had the city council’s encouragement to do so, but as successful as his time there has been, putting down roots for another five or 10 years “just didn’t feel right.”

After months spent searching for a new city manager, the Kilgore City Council is set to approve Sellers as its top choice Tuesday night. From the 90 candidates gathered by the city’s executive search firm, Sellers and four other applicants made it into the final pool of resumes. On paper, he was a strong candidate, Mayor Ronnie Spradlin, one of several. It was in the face-to-face interview that Sellers quickly rose to the top of the pack. Coming over as “very honest, straightforward and sincere,” Spradlin said Sellers also seemed hardworking and dedicated to the job. His experience in downtown revitalization and other experience will be valuable here, Spradlin said, and he looks forward to working with the city’s new chief.

After receiving his Masters in Public Administration from Brigham Young University in 2006, Sellers was almost immediately hired as Assistant City Manager in Centralia, Ill., focusing on economic development initiatives in a town of some 14,000 people. In Centralia, Sellers oversaw the Tax Increment Finance District (similar to the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone established in Kilgore), information technology and helped develop the city’s downtown area including the acquisition and resale of key downtown buildings and creating an ‘opportunity fund’ of seed money for redevelopment. The initiative earned an award from the International City Manager’s Association, as did a budget document (including a strategic plan and short- and long-term capital improvement plan) with measures tying the performance of the city organization to the budget.

Sellers assumed the same role in Montrose, Colo. in August 2008. His time in Montrose included the creation of a downtown development authority and more large capital construction through tax increment reinvestment. Due to the illness of the Montrose City Manager, Sellers stepped into the role on an interim basis in January of this year, lasting into the fall. But Sellers feels his path, and his family’s, leads to Texas.

Kilgore’s population is more than 6,000 below Sellers most recent employer – not to mention, more than 1,000 miles away and about 5,450 lower in elevation. And besides the change warmer climes, Kilgore’s economic climate brings its own challenges, but Sellers says he’s ready to adapt and lead. In preparing the city’s budget for Fiscal Year 2011-2012, Interim City Manager Tony Williams focused on being conservative and cautious in developing a plan, one that would leave the city with a stable foundation if its collections – specifically those related to the oilfield – are not as lucrative as they’ve been in past years.

With Sellers getting to work in Kilgore at the end of October, he plans to move his family to town as soon as possible– his wife, Amy, two daughters and three sons: Adeline (8), Isaac (6), Avery (4), Corbin (2) and six-month-old Oliver. Read more at the Kilgore News Herald.

Suamico, Wisconsin (population 11,346): Steve Kubacki spent 15 years as the village of Ashwaubenon’s administrator before he left in 2010 to seek out new challenges. He applied for Suamico’s open administrator position but ultimately became the Chippewa County administrator. When the Suamico position opened again this summer, Kubacki jumped at the opportunity to head back to Brown County and lead the up-and-coming village. Kubacki is married and has two sons and a daughter. Kubacki started his new position in late September and looks forward to helping chart the village’s trajectory. He will earn $95,000 as administrator. Read more at the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Reedsburg, Wisconsin (population 9,200): Reedsburg probably won’t have another city administrator – or someone to fill a position similar to it – until the start of next year. John Dougherty, former city administrator, was fired last week after several negative performance reviews, and Mayor Dave Estes said the Common Council want to make sure everything is done correctly when hiring his replacement. In the meantime, he said, city staff will step in to fill the gap.

Alderman Bob Parkhurst said Thursday that the Council wants to study the position and what they want from it before they begin looking for candidates. Last week, Parkhurst and Alderman Dave Knudsen both said the Council was unsure whether it would hire another city administrator or a city manager, although both essentially would fulfill the same duties.

As part of Dougherty’s contract, he will receive 180 days of severance pay, or about $40,000. Clerk-Treasurer Anna Meister said he was allowed under contract to request that sum either as six consecutive payments or one lump sum, and Dougherty elected to take the full amount. While $20,000 of that comes from Dougherty’s budgeted pay from October to December of this year, Meister said the other $20,000 will have to be budgeted on top of the city administrator’s regular pay for 2012. She wasn’t sure if having to add the extra money to the 2012 budget would mean cutting funding for something else.

Estes said the city would advertise the position with the Wisconsin League of Municipalities and look for qualified candidates from the area before hiring a head-hunting firm. The city paid an outside consulting firm close to $10,000 during the search for a city administrator in 2008. Read more at the Reedsburg Times Press.

Raton, New Mexico (population 6,303): A new city manager was in place at city hall last Monday, just three days after being officially hired. Jeff Condrey began his new job at 8 a.m. Monday and by 10 a.m. was having his first staff meeting to be formally introduced to the employees he will lead. Condrey, whose résumé includes a variety of municipal, state and federal management positions, was hired by the Raton City Commission on September 30. The commission approved a contract for Condrey at a special meeting, following up on an interview it held with Condrey two days earlier.

Commissioner Charles Starkovich called the city manager search an “arduous task” and thanked his fellow commissioners for the “congenial” manner in which the commission handled the process. He said Raton is “lucky to have a person of this caliber” step into the city manager job. Condrey was one of two candidates brought to the city commission Sept. 28 by The Mercer Group, an Atlanta-based firm that assists with public-entity management candidate searches. They were both interviewed and the special meeting was scheduled for Sept. 30 to approve the contract for Condrey. The Mercer Group was used to locate candidates for the Raton position after the commission advertised the position and drew 18 applicants, which the commission eventually narrowed to three finalists, two of whom came for in-person interviews in mid-August. The commission offered the position to one of the finalists, but terms could not be reached on a contract.

Condrey operated a Rio Rancho-based community development services company he founded last year, but his previous jobs have been mostly in government. He was Gallup’s city manager from about 1985 until 1991, soon after which he was appointed director of the Local Government Division of the state Department of Finance and Administration. In 2002, he became the state Rural Development director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving until 2005. He then returned to the job of city manager, this time in Española from 2005 to 2006 and then went on to become village administrator in Edgewood from the fall of 2006 to March 2008.

Raton’s city manager position was vacated by P.J. Mileta in early March, about two months after announcing his resignation. Scott Berry, a former Raton city engineer and former city commissioner, served as interim city manager until recently. Read more at the Raton Range.

Gunter, Texas (population 1,802): Gunter is searching for a new city secretary after Mark Millar, who served as the city secretary and city administrator, resigned on Wednesday. The city council held a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss Millar’s job performance in closed, executive session. It was during the executive session Millar tendered his resignation effective immediately, said Gunter Mayor Mark Merrill. The council has previously had discussions about Millar’s performance during executive session. Merrill said “there was a performance issue” with Millar, but Merrill said he could not comment further. Millar has been city administrator of Gunter for a year and spent eight years before that as the city’s mayor. Merrill said, moving forward the council is immediately beginning a search for someone to fill just the role of the city secretary. Read more at the Herald Democrat.

Freeport, Maine (population 1,693): Dale C. Olmstead Jr. will retire next April after 30 years as town manager. Olmstead said he has planned to retire at 62, and will reach that age in March 2012. He became town manager in 1982. Town Council Chairman Jim Cassida said Olmstead’s early announcement is helpful, since it will take a while to find a new manager. Olmstead said he and his wife, who is from Texas, plan to spend winters near her family and summers in Maine. They will upgrade a small camp they own in central Maine and spend their time there. At a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Town Council discussed the process that will be used to find a new town manager. According to Cassida, the council is leaning toward hiring a consulting firm that specializes in municipal hiring, and specifically town managers. The council made no formal decision, but favors using the consultant with “some sort of public process,” he said. Two other options Cassida presented to the council included creating a nine-member search team made up of past and present councilors, town staff and residents who would advise the council during the search process. Another option was to create a citizen committee, and give its members the option of hiring a consultant. He said the council will meet with two consulting firms within the next few weeks and decide which one is a better fit for Freeport. Read more in the Portland Press Herald.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Municipal service cuts: Part of the new normal?

“’Do more with less’ is what the slogan has been for many years. It seems to me that we are now at the point of doing less with less.'”–Dane County, Wisconsin, County Board Vice Chairman John Hendrick

Dane County, Wisconsin (population 488,073): Emergency shelter for homeless families, medical help for the dangerously drunk and assistance for the disabled are among the services that would be reduced or at risk in the initial draft of Dane County’s 2012 budget. County Executive Joe Parisi instructed department heads to submit budgets cutting up to 10 percent in the face of state aid reductions, limits on tax revenues and the sluggish economy.

Overall, county departments from the Sheriff’s Office to public works to parks are proposing cuts of $21 million and 13 layoffs, with a dozen vacant positions eliminated. It’s unclear which cuts will eventually be made. The departmental budget proposals differ from previous years because they call for the layoffs — not just eliminations of vacant positions — which would mean employees bumping into new jobs and disrupting operations, said County Board Vice Chairman John Hendrick.

Also, social services cuts aren’t spread evenly among agencies, and for the first time since the 1990s there is no allowance to help nonprofits comply with pay raises required under the county living wage ordinance, he said.

Some cuts in mental health, bail monitoring and crime prevention would eventually result in higher jail and in-patient psychiatric costs, said board Chairman Scott McDonell.

Lynn Green, head of the county Human Services Department, proposes cutting $200,000 from a contract with Tellurian UCAN and eliminating its 19 “detox” beds, where police can bring people who are incapacitated by alcohol to dry out for 24 hours. Without the detox center, though, police will need to take the dangerously inebriated to hospital emergency rooms, where they may have lower priority, meaning officers will have to wait long periods of time with drunks before they can drop them off safely and go back on patrol, said Madison Police Chief Noble Wray.

Green’s budget proposal anticipates hundreds of thousands of dollars from state, federal and other sources to offset reductions for the disabled. She acknowledged that getting the money isn’t a sure thing. Aid to the disabled would erode under the proposal, with clients having less independence and dignity, and some being forced into nursing homes, said Richard Berling, who directs Madison Area Rehabilitation Centers, Inc. The proposal also halves county funds for a Salvation Army overflow shelter for families. Green said she wants to put resources into long-term solutions for the homeless instead of emergency “Band-Aids.” Read more at the Wisconsin State Journal.

 

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (population 48,452): No raises for fewer city employees, shorter hours at the Burns Road Recreation Center and less money for neighborhood programs are why officials say higher taxes won’t be considered at the final budget hearing on Sept. 22. The proposed budget for next year is $108 million, up from this year’s $105 million. The proposed property tax rate of $5.74 per each $1,000 of assessed value would mean the owner of a home assessed at $250,000 with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $1,148. The rate does not include school, county and other taxes. The proposed budget includes an increase in the city’s monthly communications tax that would cost the average resident about $50 annually. That tax increase will raise about $1.1 million annually. Budget highlights include:

  • Parks and recreation money would be reduced from $4.8 million to $4.1 million. That means less mowing of lawns and lighting at city parks. The Burns Road Recreation center will continue to have shorter weekend hours between September and Memorial Day.
  • Elimination of the Military Trail grant program, which gave homeowners on the road up to $5,000 to fix up their houses.
  • The budget for the 117-member police department would increase from the current $20.9 million to $21.9 million.
  • The budget for the 118-member fire department would decrease from the current $18.8 million to 18.6 million.
  • No pay raises for the 436 city employees, who have not received raises since 2009. There were 514 city employees in 2007.
  • Combining the city’s police dispatch service with Jupiter and Juno Beach at the Garden’s emergency operations center. Gardens expects to make about $200,000 annually by charging the two towns for the dispatch service. Read more at the Palm Beach Post.

Youngtown, Arizona (population 6,163): Youngtown will go broke within three years if officials don’t drastically cut services or find new sources of revenue, town leaders say. The town, like other municipalities across the state, is suffering declining revenues from the recession and additional costs passed down by the state Legislature. Officials, who are hosting two public meetings this month on the town’s dwindling resources, rolled out a public survey last week. They said the community’s 6,163 residents have five options:

  • Become a county island.
  • Merge with El Mirage or Peoria.
  • Eliminate services by closing facilities such as the Police Department.
  • Authorize its first property tax to fund existing services.
  • Do nothing and continue operating until the town depletes its $1.8 million in savings.

The Town Council recently approved a $4.7 million budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year. It’s more than last year’s $3,983,000 budget due to incoming grants and unspent money from last year. Officials say they drew $630,000 from its rainy day fund to balance this year’s budget. If that continues – assuming no additional revenue streams are obtained – the savings will last until 2014-15, barring a major emergency expense that could hasten its depletion. Such an emergency could include serious flood or storm damage to a city street or public facilities.

The town has a grim history of trying to sell voters on a primary property tax. Voters shot one down last year by 73 percent of the vote. The money would have helped sustain the Police Department’s $1.3 million budget, town leaders said. Its defeat forced $500,000 in cuts that included four officer layoffs. It also resulted in one layoff in the town’s public works department. The remaining eight-member force was called by an outside consultant “a Police Department in name only,” and the consultant recommended the department be disbanded.

Reducing staff and other spending in the town isn’t an option either, said Town Manager Lloyce Robinson. She said the town is already down to the “bare bones.” The town is also in a never-ending search for new sources of money, such as federal, state and tribal grants. They also recently hired a consultant to help the town market itself to businesses and developers in hopes of lifting sales taxes and developer impact fees.

If it’s absorbed by El Mirage or Peoria, the town comes under the control of those cities’ councils. If it becomes a county island, the cities services and infrastructure will be managed by the county Board of Supervisors. Read more in the Arizona Republic.