Sykesville town manager to resign in spring to start consulting business

November 30, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Sykesville is losing the only town manager it has had. James L. Schumacher will leave the job he's held for nearly 10 years to open a consulting business next spring.

Mr. Schumacher, 42, told town officials Monday night that he plans to open Diverse Management, a consulting company based at his home in Union Bridge.

He'll remain with the town until March.

"I wanted to give them time to hire and train someone," he said. "I plan to stick around for as long as they need me. Leaving is a real wrench for me, but it is time."

In his new company, he said, he will be "doing basically what I do now but for several towns. I may be unique in that I have had hands-on experience and I will stay with my best points."

Mr. Schumacher came to Sykesville after working 10 years as a county planner.

He holds a degree in city management and urban planning from University of Maryland College Park.

His resignation follows the retirement of Clerk-Treasurer Vincent J. Diffenbaugh, leaving the town searching to fill two key positions.

"Fortunately for the town, both Jim and Vince are leaving on good terms and willing to help their successors," said Mayor Jonathan S. Herman.

Town officials are reviewing about 15 applications for Mr. Diffenbaugh's position and soon will advertise for a town manager in local and statewide publications.

Mr. Herman said he sees difficulties in finding a replacement with Mr. Schumacher's expertise. The job, which pays about $35,000 a year, will be "a big challenge" to the person who follows Mr. Schumacher, the mayor said.

"We have had a great working relationship and Jim has been a real attribute to the town in more ways than I can count," Mr. Herman said. "He has a great background in planning and has single-handedly secured state grants to improve the town."

The mayor cited the revitalized Main Street, a town storm water system, the restoration of Sykesville's train station and the Small Town Planning Guidelines as a partial list of the accomplishments for which Mr. Schumacher can take "the lion's share" of the credit.

"Jim is actually the working mayor, since I can't be there all the time," said Mr. Herman, who works full time as a building contractor.

"He has been the main man here for so long and does the job so well. He has mastered his craft and has handled everything from the state to irate residents."

Mayor Herman said he was surprised to hear of Mr. Schumacher's plans at the end of Monday's Town Council meeting.

"We are sad to lose him, but happy for his new venture," Mr. Herman said. "It was a shock, but I understand. After 10 years, he wants to move on. I feel this is a good opportunity for him. No matter how hard you work, you will never own the town."

Mayor Herman said he is grateful for the interim Mr. Schumacher has offered the town.

"Jim's willingness to stay four months shows what a good working relationship we have," Mr. Herman said. "I would hope we can have someone on board and in training before he leaves."

The Town Council will have to decide whether one person can handle all aspects of the manager job, the mayor said.

Sykesville hired a building inspector last year and may need a zoning administrator also, Mr. Schumacher said.

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