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The Park’s New City Manager: Promotion Or Punishment?

By Greg L | 20 December 2010 | Manassas Park | 12 Comments

Manassas Park hires a new city manager whose resume makes you wonder why he didn’t get the job of city manager job in Oak Ridge, TN.  Then you run across something like this story, where James Zumwalt turned in his resignation the same day he got closely questioned about how the city of Paducah committed millions of dollars to build a structure on land it didn’t own.  Oops.

Zumwalt’s resignation comes after a complicated process involving securing land for a downtown Quilt Show Pavilion. The Commission was facing a time crunch to get the pavilion erected before the April show. Confident the city owned the property commissioners committed one and a half million dollars to build the pavilion. Only after committing the funding did the commissioners learn that the donated property was in fact deeded to the Paducah Renaissance Alliance, not the city of Paducah.

I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Zumwalt is an outstanding pick for City Manager.  With a career spanning over 40 years in municipal administration, I’d gather he knows a thing or two about rescuing financially faltering municipalities from consequences of the actions of their elected leadership.  During a career that long, you’re bound to have a bump or two in the road, and it’s entirely possible Zumwalt’s departure from Paducah was simply one of those.  Seeing Zumwalt uncover that one of the people applying with the Paducah City Council to replace him was falsifying his resume, you tend to think well of the guy.

But still, after 40 years of service, many at the top positions of responsibility in municipalities vastly larger and more prestigious than Manassas Park, you have to wonder how he ended up here.  Manassas Park isn’t quite work release employment for failed government bureaucrats, but a promotion from Paducah, Kentucky it ain’t.



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12 Comments

  1. mpcinsider said on 21 Dec 2010 at 8:32 am:
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    Well Mr. Zumwalt let me introduce myself. My name is MPCinsider and I will be thorn in your side for as long as you are city manager. People like myself will tell you that the city is going downhill and you might want to take notice. I wonder if you ask yourself where is the business. Well sir no business wants to be in Manassas Park. You see if you can’t get access to the local interstate easily then you won’t do business here. Our property tax is way too high and there is a lot of dead wood at city hall that needs to be cleanup. Also you might want to ask the Park and Rec director to see when the Rec center will start making a profit. It has not broken even yet. Oh and about all the bonds coming due. How are you going to handle that? One last thing, you might want to look at the city’s checking account. You see there is no money to pay for stuff after March 1st.
    Just remember I will be a thorn in your side so get use to it.

  2. Suzie said on 21 Dec 2010 at 8:47 am:
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    Using that mainstream media in the “you can’t always believe what you read” catagory, Paducah Renaissance Alliance is a funtioning board/agency of the City of Paducah. Them is us from the legal stand point. Two commissioners got their way and one other regretted the decision.

    Zumwalt is not a spring chicken but the man works 70+ hours a week. He is an honorable man. If all goes well he will be with you for 3-5 years. That will be good for the Park and for him & his family.

  3. Suzie said on 21 Dec 2010 at 8:52 am:
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    Zumwalt likes thorns as they usually have the prettiest flowers. Work to cultivate with him.

  4. mpcinsider said on 21 Dec 2010 at 11:55 am:
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    Hey Suzie I am no flower!!

  5. NYOB said on 23 Dec 2010 at 11:18 am:
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    Why is there an article on the new city manager for MP but nothing about what took place that night?
    The vote was 4-1 to rezone against a large opposition by the people of MP.
    Greg, you know how lacking support of the people is in MP but this time the show of concern was overwhelming and still excuses were given as why this should have passed. Not enough shoppers, traffic, etc. So the vote is another issue. Break it down by members.

    1. Polk voted against- check
    2. Bunner abstained-check, why vote on something rushed like this,he did the right thing to abstain.
    3. Kassinger-votes yes, should have abstained on her way out the door, wrongdoing? not really but good judgement? mm I do not agree
    4. Trueting-votes yes, fine, do not agree but if he thinks it is best, stilll not listening to what residents wanted
    5. Miller- should have abstained based on previous partnership with the landowner
    6. Mayor is only supposed to cast a vote fo ties if I am not mistaken and again not listening.

    If this was put of till January it would have failed with Banks and Leeper a no.
    Why the hurry? The new city manager better be aware what he is up against as good ethics and common sense do not often prevail in MP. Hopefully new council members will help to shift.

    One reason the vote was taken that evening as the mayor and acting city manager said was it would have put the new council coming in, in an akward position to vote on a matter after a hearing had taken place. Everyone knew that going in to that meeting so if it was an issue why not postpone it? That is double talk at it’s worst.

  6. Anonymous said on 23 Dec 2010 at 5:41 pm:
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    Staff report on rezoning had no cons, despite this requiring a change to the comprehensive plan. Polk brought that up. Also despite this being a residential property that would be next door to an industrial property.

    Kassinger stated during that meeting that she would abstain, but then went ahead and voted for it anyway.

    Not enough traffic for commercial uses? Then why do we have two speed humps on Manassas Drive? Speed humps reduce cut through traffic. We have them because Clark asked for them and the city gave them to Clark without much thought. Probably told the city that “we need the humps to get the commercial spaces filled”.

    New city council members in an awkward position? Not only that, but apparently the current city council is privy to information about this rezoning that the new council members aren’t.

    Staff report wasn’t available till late Friday. Not emailed to council members till Monday morning.

    What a soup sandwich.

    by the way the manassas park patch did a story on this and also has video.

  7. NYOB said on 31 Dec 2010 at 8:20 am:
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    No cons?! How is it everything on Vanessa’s plate had no cons. Nice lady but no clue on what a city should look like. Sorry but true.
    New city manager cam from a town that laid off to survive, sound similiar to MP?
    Howeer I wonder if he konws how many were laid off here and would ever bring them back since the rec center has some who were hired at that time filling those positions which is NOT ALLOWED!. The people who were let go must be brought back and those hired last be laid off, Mr. Z, look into that if you want to set something right to start and earn some respect.

  8. mpcinsider said on 3 Jan 2011 at 8:52 am:
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    When the rec center hired new people they hired them at low pay rate and as part timers. this meant that they can save mony on both ends.

  9. mpcinsider said on 7 Jan 2011 at 9:27 am:
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    It seems people don’t like the city center.

    http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/VA-Manassas-Park-City-Center-at-Manassas-Park.html

  10. mpcinsider said on 7 Jan 2011 at 9:27 am:
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    I wonder how long before MP runs out of ideas and funds to pay it’s bill. Maybe soon then you may suspect. ;)

  11. mpcinsider said on 12 Jan 2011 at 8:01 am:
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    Hey Zumwalt you may want MP to go down this route. Since MP has no money anyways. ;)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-12/jpmorgan-s-dimon-says-he-expects-more-municipal-bankruptcies.html

  12. FrauD said on 13 Jan 2011 at 11:16 am:
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    Rumor has it that Councilman Leeper is ready to re-visit local housing laws with Richmond. Hoping for a better outcome, this time around.

    Be sure to let him and the rest of our governing body know how much this would mean to the residents of Manassas Park.

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