PINETOP-LAKESIDE — Town Manager Keith Johnson asked council on July 1 to consider the appointment of Finance Director Kevin Rodolph as assistant town manager. Following a brief discussion, the mayor moved the item to the July 15 agenda for further discussion. The item was not on the July 15 agenda but was brought back on Aug. 19 for consideration and was unanimously approved.
Johnson reiterated Rodolph’s qualifications for the role stating that Rodolph has served as an interim manager for three other governmental agencies in the past, and on a daily basis is involved in consultations with himself, the mayor, council and staff. Rodolph has been in his current position with the town for the last five years and additionally oversees many of the responsibilities of the Human Resources Department which does not have a director.
“He has the knowledge and experience to not have me or anyone else look over his shoulder. When something hits the fan, you want someone who can lead during the absence of the manager. I have great staff and managers, but if any of them were covering while I might be away, they would be relying on Kevin to guide them,” said Johnson.
Checking with Town Attorney Bill Sims and other managers in the White Mountains who have taken similar steps, Johnson said they all agreed that it is an important step to help provide continuity for the organization.
Johnson said there would be no additional salary adjustment with the appointment.
“I would also accommodate any employee that would be interested in learning the ropes and prepare to someday serve as town manager by working with them, and give them opportunities to do this. This request is not a permanent position and would not follow with the next finance director,” said Johnson.
Councilor Sterling Beus, who acknowledged full confidence in Rodolph at the July 1 meeting, had inquired if the appointment of Rodolph might preclude other department heads from having the opportunity to serve as interim.
“Since I had concerns last time and brought them up, I voiced those concerns, but have spoken with several of the staff and I can support this, this time,” said Beus.
Councilor Paul Watson, who also acknowledged confidence in Rodolph previously, had also voiced concerns at the July 1 meeting. He had asked if a community the size of Pinetop-Lakeside with its level of services needed an assistant and inquired if there would be a request for a compensation change.
“I, too, at the last meeting when this was discussed, mentioned some concerns,” said Watson. “I have had the opportunity to follow up with Kevin, and understanding this is not an organizational change — that this is a specific personnel change – with that, I am supportive of this.”
Mayor Stephanie Irwin said, “I do think that Kevin has been fulfilling this role anyway so it’s nice to give him that official title.”