2014-04-10 / Front Page

Howington Eyes New Post

By Tom Shevlin

Newport City Manager Jane Howington is one of several candidates being considered for a city manager job in Brunswick, Ohio.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported this week that Howington had submitted her application for the post over the winter and she is now one of a select pool of candidates being publicly considered.

Hired just under two years ago to take over for former Newport City Manager Edward F. Lavallee, Howington has made a number of changes to the city's operations, seeking to revamp City Hall into a more customer-oriented environment and improve communications. But her tenure has also been a bit rocky at times. Last fall, she found herself the subject of a public spat with Councilor Michael T. Farley, who alleged in a subsequently withdrawn resolution that she had failed to perform her duties.

The news of her potential departure came as a surprise to a number of council members.

"I was shocked," said Jeanne- Marie Napolitano. "I won't say I felt betrayed, but some notice to the council would have been good."

Citing the approaching budget season, Napolitano added, "It's really not coming at a good time."

"I just don't know if we'll be able to focus on the things we need to focus on."

Prior to coming to Newport, Howington spent much of her professional life in Ohio and later in Montana, where she served as city manager for the tourist community of Kalispell.

She was quoted by the Plain Dealer as saying that she and her husband were interested in coming back to the area, noting close family ties.

Howington was not immediately available for comment on her application or her potential departure.

Her contract in Newport is up for renewal in September.

If she does choose to leave, it would likely be with a pay cut.

The position in Ohio is advertised at a salary of $100,000 per year. She currently makes roughly $140,000.

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