City to look at manager vacancy


by Sarah Squires

Following the resignation of Winona City Manager Larry Thompson early this month, Assistant City Manager for Economic Development Judy Bodway was tapped as Interim City Manager, and the city council is expected to review the arrangement at its first January meeting.

Winona Mayor Jerry Miller said the council will examine the compensation package for Bodway to act as Interim City Manager, and may discuss whether a search for a permanent replacement will come anytime soon.

“As far as I’m concerned, we should be OK for now,” said Miller. “I don’t think there’s a rush right now [for a replacement search]. I think we should just see how things develop and then go from there.” Her prior role included a focus on community development, and Miller said that Program Development Director Lucy McMartin has been working closely with Bodway to ensure that area is fully covered.

Thompson had been with the city for less than a year when his first performance evaluation in September suggested there were areas in which his performance could use some improvement, including following up on council initiatives and building positive working relationships with city staff. He was also asked to take on a greater leadership role in the city and keep more regular office hours.

A second performance review in December, according to a summary read by Miller, showed that Thompson’s management style “has resulted in some deficiencies regarding his accessibility, interactions with city department heads and supervisors,” read Miller. “Because of these deficiencies, the city council believed that Mr. Thompson was not the right fit for the city to continue in his position as city manager.” He was placed on administrative leave following that second performance evaluation, and resigned shortly after.

As part of a separation agreement approved by the city council after his resignation, Thompson will receive $55,000 from the city, as well as accrued vacation, holiday and sick leave pay, six months of paid health and life insurance and long-term disability. The council also approved a mutual nondisclosure provision, and to give Thompson a letter of reference.

The city paid more than $20,000 for the search for a new manager, hiring Thompson in late 2010, one of two finalists interviewed for the post. He was also given $10,000 for relocation expenses.


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