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Murphy To Leave Administrator Post

Hyattsville needs someone who is familiar with the process of annexation, city says.

When she leaves her post as Hyattsville's City Administrator, Elaine Murphy will return to what she calls home – California and her family.

Although the date isn't certain – Murphy and her husband own a home in a neighboring community and will need to sell it before moving west – it likely will be in the coming months.

"I'm sad to say it's an end of a part of who I am," said Murphy, who's been at her post with the city for 11 years. "But it's time for me to be a part of my family."

As she has been thinking about spending time with her two sons, stepdaughter and three grandchildren, Murphy has also been busy thinking about other things - like city roads and infrastructure and commercial annexation and residential development.

Although many have been involved in the growth that Hyattsville has seen in the past decade, Murphy has spearheaded much of what has turned the city into a mini–boomtown. One of her self-dubbed greatest accomplishments is the annexation of the East-West Highway corridor, including the Mall at Prince George's.

"Everybody said it couldn't be done," she said.

Since then, the city has received tax payments from the businesses included in the annexation.

"Based on the 2001 estimate that was completed prior to annexation, the additions would add $700,000 in income," said Abby Sandel, the city's communications director.

That figure was before additions like Mosaic at Metro and Post Park were built and the resulting figures have been substantially higher, Sandel said.

Mayor William Gardiner also noted Murphy's work on the mall annexation as one of her key legacies. The annexations, he said, allowed the city to make necessary capital investments and to expand services.

"Elaine strengthened and maintained excellent relations with county and state officials," he said. "The city has successfully obtained a number of grants due to her efforts."

During Murphy's tenure, the city has also worked to build a positive image among its peers. Cluttered signage and graffiti have been removed at her direction.

"We have to make sure our face is one that … the people who live here are comfortable with and are proud of," she said.

One of her most challenging jobs was development of the former city hall on Jefferson Street. The site now boasts a HIP artists apartment building, and there are also talks of a YMCA coming.

"[It was a] problem to maintain the building," she said of the location before redevelopment, adding that people would put wires down into flooded areas of the building.

As for her eventual replacement, Murphy said the person should be educated in finance and human resources but also be patient.

"They have to recognize that whatever one person says may not be the actual reality," she said.

According to the city's Web site, the ideal candidate should be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of annexation processes. "The Mayor and City Council are seeking a candidate from a well-managed city who views himself/herself as a contemporary, proactive and consistent manager who values excellence in city governance," the site says.

Her legacy will live on in projects like EYA's mixed-use development on U.S. Route 1, Post Properties and the maintenance of city parks.

"I'm only one piece of what has been done with [the city]," she said. "We're in a uniquely positive place.

"I'm really very proud of where the city is, and I'm sure that the person who comes in will have [many] things to do."

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