Dover city manager to retire

DOVER — Dover City Manager Scott D. Koenig made a somewhat surprising announcement at the end of Monday night’s city council meeting at City Hall.

Mr. Koenig, who has worked with the city of Dover for the past 27 years, announced that he will be retiring, effective this Friday. He provided written notice to city council prior to Monday’s meeting.

“I’d like to say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed serving the city of Dover in various capacities since June 18, 1990,” Mr. Koenig said. “I will cherish the friendships and experience developed over these years for the rest of my life.

“I appreciate the hard work and dedication displayed by the city’s workforce and I continue to have high expectations of their future accomplishments.”

Donna Mitchell was appointed by city council to the position of acting city manager, a position she will hold until council completes a thorough and comprehensive search for a new city manager.

“Mr. Koenig’s career with the city of Dover has been long and accomplished and I speak for all members of council in thanking him for his service to our city,” City Council President Timothy A. Slavin said. “Mrs. Mitchell has the full support of council and we are appreciative of her willingness to accept this interim appointment.”

Mr. Slavin said that city government has to be prepared to handle any such personnel issue that might arise.

“Transitions like this are a natural part of the growth of an organization and our city government is no exception,” Mr. Slavin wrote, in an email to city government and employees. “The steady force in all of our work is the work ethic each of you brings to your responsibilities each day.

“We are personally grateful to you for helping us all to maintain our steady course during this period of transition to a new city manager.”

Mr. Slavin said there would be a formal recognition of Koenig’s service and career at a future meeting.

Mr. Koenig has steadily grown in his role with the city over his nearly three-decade long career. He started out as a public works engineer and eventually rose to become director of public works and public services manager.

Mr. Koenig has served as Dover’s city manager since November 2011. He became interim city manager in June 2011, when former city manager Tony DePrima retired after nearly 10 years on the job.

Councilman James L. Hutchison Sr., who will also soon be retiring from city government, said it has been a pleasure watching Mr. Koenig as he grew into his role as city manager.

“I’ve always been impressed with your knowledge of this city and the infrastructure and I’ve never seen anyone that was better prepared in answering questions off the cuff like you’ve done,” Mr. Hutchison said Monday night. “I thank you for your service, your dedication, your commitment and your focus to this city.

“The city’s a better place today because of the years of service that you’ve given. I wish you and your family the very, very best.”

Councilman David L. Anderson said Mr. Koenig has a lot of accomplishments to be proud of, including streamlining departments within the city, which has helped save taxpayers money.

He was also impressed with the city manager’s health care cost sharing plan which he said helps protect city employee benefits.

“Twenty-seven years is a great amount of commitment and I believe the city’s better off with your leadership than without it,” Mr. Anderson said to Mr. Koenig. “There have been a number of areas of success that you should definitely be proud of. I wish you the best in your next season and future endeavors.”

Councilman Brian Lewis echoed the words of appreciation to Mr. Koenig.

“I would like to deeply express my sincere appreciation to Mr. Koenig for his long-standing service as our city manager,” he said. “It has been an honor and pleasure working with Mr. Koenig and I wish him and his family many blessings in the future.”

There have been some warning signs that Mr. Koenig’s office may have been overburdened with too much work, especially in preparing the city’s annual budget.

Mr. Koenig tried to receive authorization to start a recruitment process for a budget analyst in the city manager’s office at a Council Committee of the Whole meeting on Jan. 24, but it was not passed despite staff recommendation.

Mr. Koenig had requested the addition of a budget analyst to prepare, develop, compile and administer the annual operating and multi-year capital budgets.

Other duties would have included regular monitoring of the budget throughout the fiscal year, monitoring various purchasing activities, completing special projects and supporting the city’s strategic planning efforts.

However, members of the Legislative, Finance and Administration Committee didn’t feel as if the new position was necessary.

Mr. Koenig did not spit any venom as he announced his retirement Monday in a prepared speech.

Instead, he said, “I would like to thank the mayor (Robin R. Christiansen), members of council, members of former councils, for the opportunity to be part of this community and serve at the pleasure of mayor and council.”

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