Burlington Mayor Weinberger announces appointments for FY13
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has announced mayoral appointments for fiscal year 2013. Weinberger said in a letter to the City Council, "This is a time of considerable change in city government. In addition to an entirely new Mayor’s Office, FY13 will see a new CAO and City Attorney, as well as new directors at CEDO, Parks and Recreation, the Airport, and the Library. These leadership changes will be balanced by continuity and stability in our other city departments."
The annoucnement comes ahead of a City Council meeting June 18, 2012 to confirm, or not, the appointments and reappointments. See list below.
Weinberger unveiled his list of city appointments on Monday, along with a reorganization plan for the mayor’s office.
At the latest in a series of budget work sessions with the Council, Weinberger explained his desire to add a new assistant to the mayor by reshaping jobs in his office and that of the clerk/treasurer. According to an analysis by Human Resources Director Susan Leonard, the combination of eliminating one position, reclassifying another and creating the new job will result in no additional staff and a budget saving of $564.
Weinberger meanwhile announced the decision to replace Parks and Recreation Director Mari Steinbach, while continuing to search for new directors of the Fletcher Free Library, Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO), Burlington International Airport, and the Office of the City Attorney. The current heads of those units will continue to serve until successors have been approved.
The Council will begin to formally discuss confirmation of Weinberger’s proposed appointments and reappointments at the June 18 meeting and must reach its decisions by the end of the month.
Carina Driscoll and Mike Kanarick will become permanent key assistants. Driscoll, a former state representative and city council member, was recently appointed to fill a vacant position in the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office as an assistant to Interim Chief Administrative Officer Paul Sisson. Weinberger actually wants her in the newly created position of Assistant to the Mayor for Open Government, Innovation and Mayoral Initiatives.
Kanarick, who was communications and finance director during Weinberger’s campaign, managed his transition team, and already works as his executive assistant would become his permanent assistant for operations and communications. At the budget session there was little dispute over Kanarick’s credentials or the mayor’s right to assemble the team of his choice. Some councilors questioned the proposed pay, however.
Republican Paul Decelles called it a $10,000 raise. Democrat Joan Shannon replied that such a description was not fair since the amount being requested is similar to what Joe Reinert received as assistant to Mayor Bob Kiss. Weinberger argued that Kanarick is highly qualified and would have expanded operational duties under the reorganization.
“I’m troubled,” added the mayor, and noted that he had “nothing to do with the analysis of his resume. It would be a shame to lose him.”
“This is not about Mike,” explained Finance Board member Sharon Bushor. “It’s about where we place him in our step placement system.” Kanarick’s revised job involves a reclassification to step 10, in this case meaning a salary of $65,610.
“We guard that classification pretty carefully,” Bushor said. “I need time to consider.” Independent Karen Paul expressed the general feeling that “you should have who you want, assuming they are qualified.”
Weinberger reluctantly agreed to a one-week postponement of action on Kanarick’s pay, until more information about options could be reviewed. The position of executive secretary, currently held by Jennifer Kaulius on a temporary basis, would be reclassified under the reorganization plan as an office assistant.
In some cases Weinberger’s list of appointments coincides conveniently with decisions to retire or depart. City Attorney Ken Schatz announced his decision to leave months ago. The intention to replace Larry Kupferman as director of CEDO, which handles federal funds and manages a wide range of development projects, was made clear by both Weinberger and Republican Kurt Wright during the mayoral race.
The replacement of Steinbach reflects a more recent decision to take Parks and Recreation “in a new direction,” wrote the mayor in his appointments memo. Steinbach faced criticism last year during the debate over use of Penny for Parks money for a new waterfront skate park. She also came under fire for not seeking sufficient public input on a merger of after-school and enrichment programs.
Weinberger recommended the reappointment of six key people in the administration: Burlington Electric Department General Manager Barbara Grimes, who explained her proposed $52.3 million budget at the Monday work session; Police Chief Michael Schirling and Fire Chief Seth Lasker; Public Workers Director Steve Goodkind; Church Street Marketplace Director Ron Redmond; and City Arts Director Doreen Kraft.
HR Director Leonard and City Assessor John Vickery, appointed to two-year terms last year by Mayor Kiss, will continue in their posts for another year at least.
The future of five assistant city attorneys remains uncertain, however. Ian Carleton, Weinberger’s first choice for the top job, withdrew his name after criticism of a request for a higher salary. Weinberger is still looking for a replacement and wants to give whomever he chooses “latitude to evaluate and shape the City Attorney’s Office and advise me.” He therefore is not reappointing assistants Eugene Bergman, Nikki Fuller, Richard Haesler Jr., Gregg Meyer and Kimberlee Sturtevant. That means their jobs are secure only if the eventual city attorney wants them.
The search also continues for a permanent chief administrative officer. In the meantime Weinberger is asking the council to extend the appointment of Interim CAO Sisson until Sept. 30, although he hopes to complete a promised national search earlier.
After the retirement of library co-director Amber Collins at the end of June, Robert Resnick and Robert Coleburn will share management responsibility. But Weinberger agrees with a recommendation from the Library Commission “that the library will be best served by a single director.” He is working with the commission on a new job description and a search.
For the group of reappointments, Weinberger said: "The following team of individuals recommended here for reappointment have performed their duties responsibly, served the City well, and each warrants reappointment. I am confident that the following city officials will continue to ably serve our City and, therefore, recommend them for reappointment for a term of one year:"
- Ron Redmond Church Street Marketplace Executive Director
- Doreen Kraft City Arts Director
- Barbara L. Grimes Burlington Electric Department General Manager
- Seth Lasker Burlington Fire Department Chief &
Emergency Management/Civil Defense Director
- Michael E. Schirling Burlington Police Department Chief
- Steven Goodkind Department of Public Works Director &
City Engineer and Surveyor
- Gordon H. Gilbert Second Constable
The retirement of Deputy Chief Walt Decker from the BPD has created a vacancy in the position of Pound Keeper. Weinberger recommended the following individual for appointment for a term of one year:
- Andi L. Higbee Pound Keeper (new appointment)
Chief Administrative Officer Interim Reappointment
Weinberger: "In my March 31, 2012 memorandum to you in which I sought the interim CAO appointment of Paul R. Sisson, I promised that, 'I will return to you before June 30th to seek either an extension of this interim appointment or a permanent CAO appointment.' As you know, we are in the midst of a national search for a permanent CAO and, therefore, for the sake of continuity, I respectfully request that you extend Paul’s interim CAO appointment until September 30, 2012 or earlier if a permanent CAO is in place before that date. In the event we have not yet appointed a permanent CAO by September 30, 2012, I again will return to you to seek an extension of this interim appointment."
- Paul R. Sisson Interim Chief Administrative Officer
The following information regarding the status of other mayoral appointees does not require action by the City Council at the present time.
Continuing Two-Year Appointments
The following individuals were appointed by Mayor Kiss for a term of two years pursuant to Section 122 of the City Charter and have one year remaining on their terms:
- John Vickery City Assessor
- Susan Leonard Human Resources Director
Continuing to Serve Until Successors Appointed
Pursuant to Section 122 of the City Charter, the current term of mayoral appointees “shall continue until their successors have been appointed and qualified.” Based on this provision, the following individuals will continue to serve in their positions until successors have been nominated and the City Council confirms those appointments:
- Kenneth A. Schatz City Attorney
- Larry Kupferman Community & Economic Development Director
- Robert McEwing Interim Burlington International Airport Aviation Director
- Robert Coleburn Fletcher Free Library Co-Director
- Robert Resnik Fletcher Free Library Co-Director
- Mari Steinbach Burlington Parks and Recreation Director,
Cemetery Department Superintendent, &
Weinberger: "Ken Schatz, Larry Kupferman, and Robert McEwing will continue to serve until their successors have been appointed. Regarding the Fletcher Free Library (FFL), Co-Director Amber Collins is retiring at the end of this month. The FFL board has recommended, and I agree, that the library will best be served by a single director. We have been working with the FFL board on a new job description and search process. After careful consideration and broad consultation, I have decided to take the future of Parks and Recreation in a new direction. Mari Steinbach has graciously agreed to continue to serve until her successor is appointed."
Assistant City Attorneys
Weinberger: "In an effort to allow a new City Attorney latitude to evaluate and shape the City Attorney’s Office and advise me, there will be no reappointments of the assistant city attorneys at this time. Pursuant to the City Charter, they will continue to serve in their current positions until future appointment/reappointment action is taken."
- Eugene Bergman Senior Assistant City Attorney,
City Grand Juror, & City Constable
- Nikki Fuller Assistant City Attorney & Assistant Grand Juror
- Richard Haesler, Jr. Assistant City Attorney & Assistant Grand Juror
- Gregg Meyer Assistant City Attorney & Assistant Grand Juror
- Kimberlee J. Sturtevant Assistant City Attorney & Assistant Grand Juror
Mayor's office. 6.11.2012; vtdigger.org