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Latrobe council accepts manager's resignation

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Latrobe City Council approved the resignation of city manager Alex Graziani but had some differing opinions on when he should leave his office for his new position in Penn Township.

Graziani has been Latrobe's manager since August 2011. The township hired him on April 16 to replace retiring manager Bruce Light.

He first notified council he would leave on May 30, but after an executive session on Monday, council made a motion to accept his resignation effective Wednesday.

Mayor Rosie Wolford disagreed with the measure and asked for an amendment to return the date to May 30, saying that would give Graziani and the city more time to resolve some projects, including funding for parking garage renovations through the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

“I am concerned that we have a $1 million RCAP grant outstanding and some loose ends that I think that we could easier tie up if we had a little more time, or get closer to completing,” she said.

Waiting until May 30 would be one less month without a leader, Wolford said.

The amendment failed with a 5-2 vote, including Wolford and Councilwoman Julie Bisi, in favor of the May 30 date. A second vote approved the April 30 resignation date 5-2 with Bisi and Wolford dissenting.

Wolford expressed her dissatisfaction after the vote, explaining that she asked for a roll call vote to identify her position clearly.

“People look to the mayor for leadership, and part of the reason why I did a roll call vote on this is because I'm very disappointed that a majority of this council opted to go an extra month without a city manager,” she said.

Department heads will run day-to-day operations, and any decisions they are not comfortable making would require a meeting and vote of council, Wolford explained.

Councilwoman Trisha Caldwell-Cravener said after the meeting she believed Graziani was ready to move on.

“Alex is ready to move on and so is the city,” she said. “There's trust in all the department heads that it will run swimmingly.”

The resignation provisions specify that Graziani should return any city-owned equipment, his name will be removed from any financial signature cards, an audit will be performed, and his email will be directed to finance director Barbara Buck.

He will be paid the balance of his vacation time, according to the measure.

In other business, council approved the submission of a letter of intent to the state Department of Community and Economic Development to assist with a search for a new manager.

At no cost to the city, a neutral and impartial facilitator will review resumes, then develop a database and a set of interview questions during the hiring process, said Mike Foreman, regional local government policy specialist with the department's Center for Local Government Services.

Foreman said the process reviews resumes anonymously early in the process, which could take three to four months.

May 23 is the deadline to apply for the Latrobe city manager's position.

“Ideally the cream will rise to the top, and the council will be in a position to begin negotiations with a preferred candidate,” he said.

Foreman said he has experience with about two to three similar manager searches per year, including currently aiding Ligonier Township and Jeannette.

Ultimately, council is in control of the process, but he can offer his experience, he said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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