Wednesday, May 14, 2008

City manager interviews slated for late May

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Tom Roff⁄Special to The Gazette
Ian Iheme and Nathan Shan, both 2, help teacher Ana Paula Panesi make muffins to serve to their mothers at the Jefferson Montessori School in Gaithersburg.
Six weeks into an active search for a new city manager, the city has seen its mailbox – and inbox – burgeoning with applications, but city leaders still want more.

More than 55 qualified applicants have applied for the city’s top position, which could bring a salary as high as $186,812, said Human Resources Director Margaret Daily. City leaders recently opted to extend the application deadline until May 14.

Alliance Resources Consulting LLC of Arlington, Va., is conducting the nationwide search and recommended the extension, Daily said. City officials and representatives from Alliance will meet next week in a closed session to review the applications and determine next steps.

Alliance will narrow the pool to the top 10 applicants. City officials will help him narrow the pool to the top five. On May 28, the mayor and council interview the five finalists. Then, city leaders will hold a ‘‘meet and greet” for the public.

City leaders hope to hire a new city manager by late summer, Daily said.

Solicitation ordinance

The city adopted a new ordinance last week that bans solicitation in roadway medians.

Solicitation in roadways is illegal according to Maryland state law and the new ordinance just extends that measure, said Greg Ossont, the city’s planning and code administration director at a May 5 meeting of the mayor and council. It replaces the city ordinance that attempted to ban solicitation in city roadways.

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler ruled the city roadway solicitation ban ‘‘unconstitutional” in late February.

‘‘It undoes what was adopted earlier this year,” Ossont said. ‘‘Basically everything that the state found to be problematic has been eliminated, we’ve gone back to the old one with one minor change...this basically goes back to the old ordinance which says you cannot solicit in medians.”

The new ordinance declares it ‘‘unlawful” to seek donations, subscriptions, alms, employment or business from vehicle occupants while standing in any median area separating a public roadway. State law bans solicitation on sidewalks and roadways.

City leaders agreed May 5 that an ‘‘editor’s note” reflecting the addition should appear in the next publishing of city code.

Committee members sought

The city is looking for residents to serve on its Ad Hoc Senior Advisory Committee to determine requirements for a new senior center in Gaithersburg and research recreation trends for active older adults.

The committee will have a maximum of 12 members, including two state or local officials, two state or county employees and eight other residents. The committee will issue recommendations on adult recreational programs and benchmark current facilities to help design requirements for the new senior center. The committee will also help identify and explore funding opportunities and partnerships. The mayor and council have requested the final report of the committee within six months.

To apply, send a letter of interest and resume by June 6 to Mayor Sidney Katz at Gaithersburg City Hall, 31 S. Summit Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20877. For more information, contact Michele McGleish, Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture at 301-258-6350.

Olde Towne plans advance

City leaders recently deemed four city-owned parcels in Olde Towne ‘‘surplus” — opening the properties up for sale and redevelopment.

The city is negotiating sale of the Fishman site at 315 E. Diamond Ave. and lot 5 on South Summit Avenue near the northeast corner of the railroad station to Douglas Development Corp. of Washington, D.C. The developer presented designs to the mayor and council in December that depicted a public plaza and three-story building. Drawings showed 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and two stories of office space.

The city is also negotiating sale of the Wye site on South Frederick Avenue and the Schultz site on Fulks Corner Avenue to Clark Realty LLC of Arlington, Va.

The developer unveiled plans for the former railroad loop behind Olde Towne Avenue in December that showed two four-story retail and residential buildings connected by an atrium lobby with a pedestrian bridge that would cross the nearby train tracks – and link the neighborhood.