Monticello Manager: A part-time position?
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO April 12, 2013 Monticello’s search for a new village manager continues to grind through board politics, though there may be a vote in sight.
But for whom?
Trustees Carmen Rue, Larissa Bennett and James Matthews indicated this week that they’re leaning towards hiring county native Chris Gozza.
Currently the senior director of Real Property Management and Operations at the Center for Discovery, Gozza would only serve as manager in a part-time or consulting role, maintaining his existing employment.
But Rue said (and Bennett confirmed) that Trustee Matthews and TC Hutchins might be more in favor of hiring the village’s code enforcement officer, James Snowden.
Snowden wouldn’t comment, and Hutchins couldn’t be reached.
But Matthews disagreed that there’s any stalemate, indicating he, too, is interested in Gozza.
“He seems to be a nice guy and knows what he’s doing,” Matthews said of Gozza. “The process is moving right along. I think we’ll make a decision in a couple of days.”
That stands in contrast with Rue’s concern that the village may be without a manager for some time due to board discord.
“It’s bad,” she remarked. “It’s wasting so much time.”
And they can now count Gozza out.
“I did have a discussion with most of the board members regarding a possible part-time relationship,” he told the Democrat on Wednesday afternoon. “While I would love to assist the Village of Monticello, their needs and my work schedule are just not compatible.
“The village has tremendous potential but is in dire need of stability in the manager’s office. I wish that I had the necessary time to assist them.”
Another rumored candidate, former Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau, has yet to submit a proposal.
Since Rue’s against hiring a current village employee (including Snowden) as manager, she’s approached Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini to fill in part-time until a permanent manager can be found.
Cellini confirmed that after repeated rejections of Rue’s offer, he finally did express willingness to temporarily serve.
“I care about the community,” he stated, noting it’s within his town’s borders.
But he’s planning to retire at the end of the year and is not contemplating a permanent role with the village, nor cutting back on his existing supervisor duties.
“I’ve got a full-time job here,” he explained. “I’m not looking for a job.”
He added that, to date, his only conversations on the matter have been with Rue.
Mayor Gordon Jenkins, who was ousted as acting village manager by his fellow board members last month, is refusing to participate in the search for a new manager.
“I’m not even getting involved in it,” he remarked, calling his ouster evidence of board “viciousness.”
“They don’t know where they’re going,” he accused. “Who’s running the village? No one.”
The board has split up the village manager duties into various categories of which separate board members have oversight, but Jenkins remains upset.
“What does Rev. Matthews know about the Water Department?” he cited as one example.
He feels the board is mishandling the process.
“You don’t even need to look for a manager,” he said, referring to his desire to switch Monticello to a mayor-as-manager form of government. “It should be where the mayor assumes the duty of the manager. ... And you don’t have to spend $70,000 [the prior manager’s salary] to do it.”
Yet Jenkins confirmed he’s dropped plans to mount a petition drive to let voters decide on that switch.
“I just got tired of it,” he explained. “The community should get more involved. Even if they want to dissolve the village, I’ll be willing to listen.”