Hyattsville Hires Public Works Director
Council now looks to complete city administrator hire, begin search for new human resources director.
Less than one week after the resignation of Acting Public Works Director Julia McTague became public knowledge, the Hyattsville city council approved the hire of a new Public Works director in the form of Lesley Riddle, who currently works as the Assistant Director of Public Works for the city of Greenbelt.
The hire was announced after a brief closed session held at the outset of last night's city council meeting.
According to Abby Sandel, Department of Community Services director for the city of Hyattsville, Riddle's first day on the job will be in mid-March.
City officials have been actively searching for a new public works director since shortly after the resignation of McTague's predecessor Patrick Ryan, who gave up the post in March 2012.
By this past September, now-outgoing city human resources chief Chris Vermillion reported that the city had narrowed the field for the public works position to five candidates.
The city council now turns its attention to hiring a replacement for Vermillion, whose resignation also became known last week. In the midst of Vermillion's resignation, the city council is also trying to complete the hiring process for a new city administrator, a post which has been vacant (except in acting capacity) since October 2011 when former city administrator Gregory Rose resigned.
But so far, no official moves have been made to fill Vermillion's post.
"Council has not made an official comment, so I cannot speak to that right now, but obviously we need a human resources director," said Abby Sandel, Community Services Department director for the city of Hyattsville.
Mayor Marc Tartaro said that Vermillion has delayed his last day at work, now set for March 22. This could allow the city council to complete the city administrator hire before Vermillion's departure, according to Tartaro.
"It may be wildly optimisitc to think that we might have a new city administrator and human resources director by April," said Tartaro. "But it's possible."
Currently, the plan is to invite two final candidates for the city administrator position in to lead a mock community meeting and to meet with city staff members. The meetings are to be set for sometime next month. In the meantime, city officials will be putting the call out for local residents who would be interested in participating in the mock community meetings, which would be filmed for the city council to review as part of their deliberation process.
Tartaro rebutted the notion that the city has a problem with retaining director-level employees, citing the long tenures of city Chief of Police Doug Holland, City Treasurer Elaine Stookey, Director of Community and Economic Development Jim Chandler, and several other long-term employees of both the police department and municipal bureaus.
"We really don't have a huge turnover in the city, in the civilian or police staff, for that matter," said Tartaro after the meeting.