The City of Rockville announced Monday that Takoma Park City Manager Barbara Matthews will assume its city manager position in October.
Matthews, city manager in Takoma Park since 2004, said she decided to make the jump to the state’s third-largest municipality because it has authority on more services, including development and utilities.
Matthews’ base salary in Takoma Park was $140,046 per year, according to city media specialist Craig Terrill. She also received $4,800 per year in a car allowance and $12,000 in housing allowance, Terrill said.
Matthews’ salary in Rockville will be $199,000, according to a city news release.
“I’ve been with Takoma Park for eight years and I have loved every minute of it. But in the life of a city manager, that’s a long time,” Matthews said. “The move is about professional development. Rockville presents some new challenges.”
Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said Matthews’ familiarity with the area, particularly in her involvement as the president of the Maryland Municipal League’s City & Town Administrators Department, gave her an edge over fellow finalists Paul Folkers and Thomas Moton. Folkers is the assistant city manager of Gainesville, Fla. Moton is the acting city manager of Greenville, N.C.
“I’ve seen her and been impressed with her,” Marcuccio said. “You need somebody to represent your community’s issues and I think she’s a talented lady in that way.”
The announcement came seven months after former Rockville City Manager Scott Ullery retired and Assistant City Manger Jennifer Kimball took over as acting city manager. Kimball did not apply for the permanent job, Rockville Councilman Tom Moore said. He said he expects Kimball to return to the assistant city manager position.
Moore, in his first term, said he had not met Matthews before last week’s Maryland Municipal League annual convention in Ocean City. In April, the city decided to hire an outside consultant to review personnel policies in light of complaints from five former employees who said their employee evaluations were unprofessionally conducted. Moore said he hopes Matthews’ background in human resources can help quell concerns.
One complaint filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was dismissed by the agency.
“I think that’s going to help move the city forward,” Moore said. “We’re at a tricky moment right now with staff morale having taken some licks.”
Matthews, who lives in Reston, Va., said her experience in several fast-growing Missouri cities will help her with ongoing development plans in Rockville. Takoma Park does not have authority over development in the city.
Rockville had a population of 61,209, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Takoma Park had a population of 16,715.
Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams praised Matthews for her handling of the city budget during tough financial times. Large cuts in Highway User Revenue and other fees from the state and Montgomery County led to the first layoffs in Takoma Park’s history in 2010.
Matthews’ last day in Takoma park will be Sept. 7. Williams and the city council hope to name an acting city manager by then.
“I know she was happy here and would have been happy to stay if she didn’t get that job,” Williams said. “She did get that job and it’s a much bigger city, and a lot more responsibility and a lot more money. But I was still hoping up to the very last minute that it would fall through.”