Glenarden official’s resignation raises concerns about turnover, city projects -- Gazette.Net







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The turnover continues in Glenarden as the city finds itself without a city manager for the second time in a year.

Melinda Jones, who began May 28, notified Mayor Gail Parker Carter and city staff Tuesday morning that she resigned effective immediately, with a letter dated Aug. 31, according to officials.

Jones could not be immediately reached Thursday for comment.

“Ms. Jones resigned for personal reasons. Any more specific information on her reasons for resigning would be considered confidential,” Parker Carter wrote in an email to The Gazette.

Councilwoman Jennifer Jenkins (Ward 3) said she is concerned about the progress of city projects, such as installation of a wheelchair-accessible elevator at the James R. Cousins Municipal Center and the paving of streets, without long-term leadership.

“I don’t have any confidence that we will be able to secure an experienced city manager within a reasonable time frame and get them to stay to the end of the fiscal year,” Jenkins said.

Prior to Jones, Donald Bell served on a six-month contract as an interim city manager until it expired April 3. Parker Carter did not bring him on permanently, stating she wanted someone with more municipal government experience. The position involves overseeing department leaders and managing city improvement projects.

Before Bell, Bea Tignor served as an interim city manager from July 2009 until November 2009 when she was brought on permanently. She resigned for a job in the administration of County Executive Rushern L. Baker III in March 2011.

According to a 2009 survey from the International City/County Management Association, city managers stayed in their position for an average of seven years, said Evelina Moulder, ICMA director of survey research.

Resident Geraldine Langford, who serves on the city’s election board, said she was surprised to learn of Jones’ resignation.

“Evidently something is wrong if they don’t stay any longer than they do,” Langford said. “Something is wrong, but I don’t know what. I just don’t know.”

Until hiring Jones, Parker Carter, Glenarden Police Chief Phil O’Donnell and city treasurer Mike Laughlin worked jointly to oversee city manager duties for two months, a configuration allowed under the city charter, Jenkins said.

Parker Carter wrote in an email that the next steps will be to advertise for a city manager position.

O’Donnell said sharing managerial duties with Parker Carter and Laughlin has not had an effect on his duties as police chief, overseeing 12 full-time officers.

“I’ve been supervising code enforcement and public works since Donald [Bell] left,” O’Donnell said. “Our crime is very low. We have good supervisors in our police department. The rest of the stuff, you just got to go with the flow.”