Looks like the three-legged tripod that is Durham's new deputy city manager structure will be a bit less wobbly.
BCR learned this afternoon that Keith Chadwell has been hired as Durham's new deputy city manager for community building, overseeing a range of departments that -- as of the FY10 budget package -- includes the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, planning and inspections, Neighborhood Improvement Services, Community Development, and the Human Relations Commission function.
The new hire, who'll report directly to city manager Tom Bonfield, is reportedly set to start in mid-September.
Chadwell is a nearly thirty-year veteran of public-sector service, his most recent post being a two-year stint (out of a five year contract) as the city manager in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Before the south Florida gig, Chadwell worked for almost seven years as deputy county manager in Fulton County, Ga.; in the core metro Atlanta county, he oversaw a range of functions including social services, housing and the library system.
Before that, he briefly served as COO for Washington, DC's department of human services, after another seven-year stint as regional director for Virginia's social services department.
Chadwell's most recent stint running Pompano Beach was reportedly rocky, with the career public servant resigning under fire -- though managing in cash-starved Florida municipalities can be tricky (something ex-Pensacola city manager Tom Bonfield may have found in comparison to his current stint running Durham's city government.)
Chadwell survived a 3-3 tie vote to fire him earlier this year, then informed his city commission at a May meeting that he would resign in a deal in which he'd earn nine months of salary and promise not to sue, says the Miami Herald. The mayor of Pompano Beach called the move "in the best interests of the city," with Chadwell calling his departure "negotiated" and "an amicable quid pro quo."
His stint with the District of Columbia lasted only eight months -- with Chadwell becoming one of four seasoned executives to be recruited into the DC social services system by then-Mayor Anthony Williams and leave quickly, all within a three month window that a Washington Post report suggested spoke more about the challenges facing the District's social services programs than the quality of the widely-acclaimed managers they brought in to turn troubled agencies around.
Interesting, both the DC and Pompano Beach stints gave Chadwell a chance to use what's gotta be one of those lines you learn in Masters of Public Administration school (U. of Toledo '79 for Chadwell, we hear, on top of a 1976 graduation from Morehouse College.)
"Having been here only since February, there have been a lot of seeds planted that I won't get to see bear fruit," he told the Washington Post's Carol Leonnig and Sewell Chan back in 2000 -- while noting in his Pompano Beach letter that "I believe some figurative seeds planted during my time will bear substantive fruit in due time."
Hey, those kind of words really come in handy in local government circles.
Chadwell had also been a finalist for a number of other positions, including the county administrator job in southwest Florida's Manatee County (Bradenton/Tampa area) -- and was the first pick of at least one St. Johns County, Florida commissioner for their top county position, though Chadwell accepted the Pompano Beach position during the County's deliberations in 2006.