The City Council this week voted to rehire Arthur E. Jones, city manager for 18 years before he resigned last May, to replace suspended City Manager Nicholas Romaniello.
Romaniello, the city's former planning director who was appointed city manager after Jones retired for health reasons, was suspended April 1 pending an investigation into allegations that he tried to obtain confidential police files on council candidate Alan West. West, who was elected to the council April 8, had vowed during his campaign to fire Romaniello In a 4-0 vote, with Councilman Carl Jacobson abstaining, the council voted to hire Jones, 56, for the $65,000 position in July when Romaniello's post-election grace period ends. The Municipal Code prohibits the council from firing a city manager for 90 days after an election, but it can hire a replacement during the three-month "honeymoon period."
Jones could accept the position earlier if Romaniello, 50, resigns before July. Romaniello was not available for comment.
Jones, whose health has improved since he retired, was named interim city manager in mid-April while city officials searched for a new chief executive. "But after reviewing criteria and the price of hiring an executive search firm, it became apparent that Jones was the best candidate for the position," Mayor Jack Siadek said.
"The city had gone through a rocky period," Siadek said. "Jones is the stabilizing influence this city needs right now."