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Artesia to Choose New City Chief Next Year

December 26, 1985|STEVEN R. CHURM | Times Staff Writer

ARTESIA — A replacement for interim City Manager Harold Campbell apparently won't be hired until after city elections in April, according to Mayor Robert Jamison.

Campbell's contract expires next week, but Jamison said the council will probably extend his $4,462-a-month pact through April, when two of the five council seats will be on the ballot. That way, Jamison said, the new council can decide on a permanent city manager.

A decision on Campbell's contract is expected at the council's Jan. 13 meeting, Jamison said.

Hired Temporarily

Campbell was hired on a temporary basis in July, 1984, to improve the management of City Hall. Artesia was losing almost $129,000 a year, city records were outdated, and key staff positions were vacant.

Jamison said Campbell has balanced the budget and revitalized management of the city with its population of 14,500.

Despite his apparent success, Campbell, 62, said he does not want the Artesia job permanently. He retired in 1981 as city manager of Huntington Park and said he cannot hold the Artesia post beyond next spring without jeopardizing his current retirement benefits.

Jamison said the council has been slow in finding a permanent replacement because it will be hard to find someone as capable as Campbell.

"I just wish there was some way we could keep him forever," Jamison said. "He's done a fabulous job with turning this city around."

Likely Candidate

Jamison said he wants to find someone who can continue Campbell's approach to government. The most likely candidate appears to be C. Eugene Romig, assistant city manager and personnel director.

Romig, 44, was hired last spring. He was one of four professionals the council hired part-time on Campbell's recommendation to overhaul city operations. This fall he became a full-time employee.

Romig, who teaches a public administration course at USC, stepped down as Whittier's assistant city manager in the early 1980s to start a private consulting business, which he has since left. He could not be reached for comment. "Gene is my choice for the job," said Jamison, adding that the council has not officially discussed the position with Romig. "What this city needs is stability, and Romig would more than likely build on the job Campbell has done."

Jamison said the council has tentatively agreed to delay until the April elections a decision on the city manager. Facing reelection are councilmen Jim Van Horn and Dennis Fellows. Neither has announced whether he will run again.

"It is only fair that we wait to see if the makeup of the council changes at all before making such an important decision," Jamison said.

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