Following the chaos at the most recent Portsmouth City Council meeting two weeks ago, at which the resignations of both the City Manager Derek Allen and 4th Ward Councilman and Mayor Jim Kalb were tendered, it is now the job of the remaining members of the council to pick up the pieces and move forward.
Part of that moving-forward process is filling the vacancies for both the city manager and the 4th Ward council member.
“I believe council’s top priority is to keep our city moving forward through this entire process of hiring a new city manager and choosing a new 4th Ward councilperson,” says Acting Mayor Kevin E. Johnson, who will take the Mayor’s oath of office Monday evening.
The deadline for applications for the 4th Ward council seat was Friday, and, according to City Clerk Diana Ratliff, there are three individuals who have applied to fill the vacancy.
“As of right now, there are three applicants,” Ratliff said. “Council will review the resumes and go into executive session to interview each person, and then reconvene and open nominations for the 4th Ward. The person appointed will immediately take the oath of office and be seated at the table.”
For the time being, Sam Sutherland, director of public utilities/water, is filling the position of interim city manager following Allen’s resignation. Councilman Johnson expressed his appreciation for Sutherland stepping up. “I think I can speak for all of council in expressing my sincere gratitude to Mr. Sam Sutherland for stepping up to fill this void until a new city manager can be hired,” Johnson said.
During his first stint as interim city manager in December, Sutherland told The Daily Times he had no interest in permanently filling the position. With the issues between Allen and council now dissolved, and the city manager position officially vacant, the search for a new city manager is in full effect.
Ratliff says that in the search of a new city manager, information from the previous city manager search, as well as advertising, has been gathered for discussion. She expects this topic will be discussed during Monday’s 6 p.m. council meeting in the Sodexo Ballroom in the University Center at Shawnee State University. This is expected to be the last time council will meet there.
Other items on the agenda for discussion are the three items on the agenda to receive a third reading: An ordinance authorizing the city manager to enter into a 25-year easement agreement with the state real estate and planning, representing Shawnee State University; an ordinance authorizing the vacation of the alley between 3rd St. and Farney Ave. as requested by Steve Falls and Mike Stapleton on behalf of Sciotoville Christian Church; and an ordinance authorizing the transfer of $21,739 from the city’s General Fund to the Municipal Court Subsidy Fund.
Reach Ivy Potter at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932