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Is Takoma Park Closer to Hiring a New City Manager?

Acting city manager Suzanne Ludlow sat down with Patch to discuss the hiring process.

In late April, five candidates were interviewed for the Takoma Park city manager job, bringing a nine-month-long process closer to a conclusion.

Patch sat down with Suzanne Ludlow, who has been serving as acting city manager since October, when Barbara Matthews left to take the city manager job in Rockville.

Ludlow has served the city since 1993 in a variety of roles, including being deputy city manager since January 2008. She is a candidate for the city manager job.

Patch: What differences have you experienced between being the deputy city manager and the acting city manager?

S.L: I’ve been functioning as acting city manager since the beginning of September 2012, and it’s been interesting in that I’m essentially doing my old job plus new assignments. It’s been somewhat of a challenge since it is budget season. The difficult thing is recognizing that everything I’m doing is interim. There may be new leadership, so it’s not appropriate for me to make significant changes at this time.

Patch: Has there been one particular aspect of the budget process that you’ve found challenging?

S.L: No, there’s not one particular item, since I have to speak with City Council before signing anything anyway.

Patch: You’ve been working for the city for so long, you’ve been through the budget process—was there anything surprising about it this time?

S.L: I was surprised that the budget does have some staff increases, directed by the council. Two of the part-time employees that do [audio-visual] work for City TV—if someone is doing the same job day after day, we have a council directive to make that into a permanent position. There were also new positions that have to do with the council wanting the library and computer center open on Sundays. It felt a bit strange [to do that] as acting manager, but [it was] at direction of the council.

Patch: Can you tell us anything about how the [city manager] hiring process is going?

S.L:  The council had appointed a citizens committee to help identify people to look at resumes, and hired an executive search firm. The council interviewed five people this past weekend [April 27-28; Ludlow was one of the candidates interviewed]. I believe they will move relatively quickly, but I don’t know. In the meantime, I’m here as acting manager, and that’s fine!

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