Council confirms Crowell to act as city manager

AUBURN — Police Chief Phil Crowell said Tuesday he will spend the next three weeks researching ways the City Council can find a permanent replacement for ousted City Manager Glenn Aho.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Auburn Police Chief Phil Crowell, left, and Mayor Dick Gleason talk prior to a special meeting to appoint Crowell as acting interim city manager.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The Auburn City Council votes unanimously to appoint Auburn Police Chief Phil Crowell, foreground, as acting interim city manager on Tuesday. From left are Belinda Gerry, Robert Hayes, Mayor Dick Gleason Dan Herrick, David Young, Ray Berube and Joe Gray. Councilor Mike Farrell was not at the meeting.

City Councilors voted 6-0 Tuesday night to appoint Crowell to perform the city manager's job until the next council meeting on Nov. 7. That night, councilors are expected to come up with a replacement plan.

"We have a lot to do right now," Crowell said. "We have a city to run and a bond sale that's going forward and we need someone to fill that role."

Crowell will remain police chief in title during that time. He said he plans to look for a search firm to help find Aho's replacement.

"There are firms that will come in and act as a manager in the interim, and even do the job search for the city," Crowell said. "That's one option I will be researching. Of course, we could keep the entire process in-house, and that's another option."

Councilors voted Monday to terminate Aho's employment agreement, placing him on 90 days' paid leave. According to Aho's employment agreement, he is due a severance package equal to six months' salary and benefits if he is terminated without cause. Under Aho's $109,000 salary, that amounts to $54,500, plus unused vacation and benefits.

Mayor Dick Gleason said Monday that councilors did not discuss Aho's severance package or who would succeed him. The City Charter says the assistant manager can fill the role in the manager's absence, but the city has not had an assistant manager since July 1. Up to July 1, Crowell acted as assistant manager while Aho and his department heads worked out a new, team-based management approach.

Crowell said he has faith in the team approach and it would stay in place.

"We need the teams now more than ever," Crowell said. "As you know, we are very short on top management and so they will be very valuable."

In addition to Aho and the assistant manager job, the finance director position is still vacant. The city has hired Jill Eastman to fill that slot, but she is not scheduled to begin until Nov. 7.

Crowell said he would move to fill the vacant fire chief's position. Geoff Lowe, assistant fire chief, has been acting as interim chief of that department.

For his part, Crowell said he was happy with his job as police chief and was not looking to be city manager permanently.

"I feel I owe something to Auburn," Crowell said. "The community has been good to me, and I think I owe something to the employees here, as well. There are many people here who just want to come in each day and do their job, and it's been tough for them to do that. I want to make it easier for them to do that."

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Kim Berry's picture

CONFUSED

with the way this was written. Several positions were named as being vacant or needing to be filled. And a couple of names were tossed in there.

Any one please clarify? AS to which positions are open/unfilled/vacant? I dont know what's going on is all. I am not making judgment calls or opinions, because I still dont know what's going on.

thanX

Lynn Berube's picture

Phil Crowell as interim city manager

At last! Calmness and reason will return to the city building. As a former city employee while Mr. Aho was ruling, I know exactly what the employees felt and how low the morale was. Lots of work ahead to heal the city and get it back to a well-functioning municipality but the staff is certainly up for it!

 's picture

OK, but why NOW? This is the

OK, but why NOW? This is the worse possible time to fire a manager. From your comment, this has been occuring for a while, what incident made it necessary to do it NOW?

Aho's departure

Mr Berube, I trust yo read Lynn Berubes post, that should explain one of the reasons for the council'scarefully considered action, in response to your questioning my comment last night that Chief Crowell would not receive both his and the mgrs. salary, I doubled checked and he will not, though he may recive asmallteam leader stipend that was established by Mr. Aho himself when trying to avoid filling the asst. mgr. posistionCheif Crowell filled that position this summer+ is well qualified, he is anexemplary example of good citizenship; I would sugesst that if you arethat interested in Auburn City affairs, that you volunteer to serve on a board or committee , or run for a city electoral posistion

Lynn Berube's picture

city mgr

my opinion is they analyzed the situation and came to the conclusion that being without a city mgr. was a lot better than keeping him on. there is so much that went on behind the scenes. for example, there were MANY letters of complaint about him.

Kim Berry's picture

OK, A LITTLE BIT CONFUSED

ahmm, does it say here that Crowel is considering the FIRE CHIEF position? or that the person doing INTERIM will do that? Geof Lowe? It says "HE" will fill that position, but Lowe's name in the same context . as the person who has been filling in that position.

And the POLICE CHIEF is going to do the CITY MANANGER position?
Now it says :the finance director position is still vacant" but then it says it says that some one was hired for that position!

So, IS the FINANCE DIRRECTOR position vacant? OR DID they hire somebody for it? This is very confusing! Normally if a job is open, then some one is hired for the position,that means there is no longer an opening!
OMG I dont get it. Maybe I just didnt get enough sleep las night. I dont know. I dont get it. sorry, clue me in. Or is this story written some what unclear?

 's picture

but the chief isn't giving up

but the chief isn't giving up his Police Chief title, but is stepping into the city manager's role. Double pay? Having one's cake and eating it too? Crowell should resign his chief's position, OR decline the city manager's role. If this isn't a Keystone Kops movie, then this city council has given this city one huge black eye. The teawaggers on this council should be really proud of themselves.

Replacing Aho

Anopionated Mr Breton asummes a number of things most wrong:1st I doubt chief Crowelis going to receive100%of both salaries , and2nd.blindly asumming the council is wrong to sack Aho; Mayor Gleason, level headed by any definition tonight I believe was quoted as saying it was warranted, andit was an issue festering since May; in stead of playing out the string, this counci lshould be commendeded for taking bold+ courageous actions on behalf ofour city!Thank you Councilors!
Bob Mennealy

 's picture

First where does it say that

First where does it say that Crowell is NOT going to receive two salaries? I must of missed that part. There's a lot of things I missed since all of this was done in secret. I cannot understand why these right wing dingbats ALWAYS do nefarious things in secret. WHY are they so afraid to do thing out in the open? Why do it a month before most of them will be voted out of office? Most of the next council will be new ar the job, the next mayor will be someone who has never won an election, and has had no experience. In this mixed you're going to throw a new manager? Right in the beginning of a new budget season? Yeah, right, Bob, this was a great idea!

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