Annapolis mayor says key vacancies won't linger much longer

After firings and resignations, vacancies include manager, attorney and directors

  • New Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides is pictured in council chambers. A Republican in a Democrat-dominated city, has faced a rough road in his first four months in office.
New Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides is pictured in council… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)
September 11, 2014|By Pamela Wood | The Baltimore Sun

Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides says he's making progress on filling a number of key vacancies in city government positions and will have nominees for a new city manager and city attorney by Sept. 22.

Because of a series of firings and resignations since Pantelides took office in December, the city government is without a permanent city manager, city attorney, planning director, transportation director, and recreation and parks director.

The new city manager will have a hand in hiring new directors for recreation and parks and planning and zoning, Pantelides told members of the city council Monday night.

The mayor's comments came as the city council approved to extend the terms of three acting department heads: acting Planning Director Sally Nash, acting Recreation Director J.P. "Flip" Walters and acting Transportation Director Kwaku Agyemang-Duah.

As they voted, the city's aldermen and alderwomen expressed frustration that so many key positions have remained vacant for so long after a series of firings and resignations.

Some aldermen were particularly concerned about transportation, where there are many unanswered questions about the future and no permanent leader. That department is in flux as the city attempts to trim costs and considers joining a regional bus network.

"It feels to me like we're just in a situation of stasis," said Alderman Ross Arnett. "We're not moving forward, we're not solving problems."

Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson said she was concerned the city's human resources staff seems to be shut out of the hiring process because the mayor is relying on his own committees to vet candidates. She noted that the council wanted to hire a national search firm to recruit city manager applicants.

"You did not follow the wishes of the council," she said.

Pantelides said he's confident his process is resulting in good candidates. He said he had three finalists for planning director, for example, but they ended up taking jobs elsewhere. So the recruitment process had to be restarted.

"These are highly sought-after people," Pantelides said.

Pantelides said in an interview he understood the concerns about vacancies and he's working to fill the positions.

"We've got to make sure we get the right people in the jobs," he said.

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