Manager search to begin again Favored applicant backs out

incumbent will delay retirement

June 23, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Manchester will begin again the process of looking for a new town manager.

The mayor and council's first choice said "no thanks" just before being offered the job.

"The fellow we thought was just what we wanted, we had already selected from maybe 40 applicants," said Mayor Elmer C. Lippy Jr., who makes the appointment with council approval.

"We just swooned," he said. "But it turned sour, and we were all stunned."

The candidate withdrew hours after learning that the job does not provide benefits, Lippy said. Another issue was the council's decision to dilute the office by removing the town manager's ability to hire and fire employees, and to sign their paychecks.

"He [said that] with those restrictions on the town manager's job, he'd just be a paper-shuffler," Lippy said.

The mayor said he called council members Friday afternoon to seek their opinion and they agreed 4-to-1 to readvertise the position and "go back to square one," broadening the number of publications to include southern Pennsylvania.

The current town manager, David M. Warner, has agreed to stay beyond his intended July 1 retirement date. He said he probably will work a reduced schedule because of commitments he has made.

"I appreciate that," Lippy said. "Dave has been a great town manager. It's magnanimous of him to say 'I'll help you out.' "

This isn't the first time Warner has pitched in.

When his predecessor resigned in 1994, "They asked me to help out for six to eight weeks -- but that was 3 1/2 years ago," he said in a recent interview about his retirement.

The new search will delay his retirement into August, Warner predicted. The deadline for applicants will be July 20, and it will take several weeks after that to choose from among them.

"There's an awful lot of work to be done," Warner said of his decision to stay longer. "I'm also interested as a citizen."

Warner, 58, a former director of pupil transportation for Carroll County public schools, has served the town since 1987, including three years as councilman and two years as its project administrator. He became the acting town manager after the previous town manager resigned in 1994 and was named to the job in 1995.

Lippy was a Carroll County commissioner when Warner's predecessor resigned, but he explained that because of that experience, the council "wanted the authority of the town manager diluted."

Their ire "had nothing to do with Dave Warner," he emphasized.

Council members were persuaded to allow the manager the power to suspend an employee, Lippy said.

Although the mayor and the council were disappointed that their first choice turned them down, "I'm glad he made the decision now, rather than take the job and have us go through it again in a matter of months," the mayor said.

Pub Date: 6/23/98

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