After deadline passes for suspended Middletown city manager, what’s next?

Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins did not request a public hearing regarding his possible termination, so the city council will move forward with a vote on firing him on Dec. 17.

Adkins faced a Thursday deadline to submit a written response or request a public hearing as provided by the City Charter. That deadline was 30 days after Middletown City Council started the process to terminate him on Nov. 5.

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Council unanimously approved that preliminary resolution of its intent to terminate Adkins and suspend him with pay pending the final termination resolution. The preliminary resolution was approved as an emergency measure that took immediate effect.

The Journal-News has left numerous messages with Adkins seeking comment on his future plans or if he was going to seek a public hearing concerning his termination as provided in the City Charter. As of midday Friday, none of those calls have been returned by Adkins.

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Earlier this week, Acting City Manager Susan Cohen declined to comment on what the city offered Adkins in exchange for a possible resignation.

The charter provides for three months of salary from the date of the preliminary resolution for a city manager being terminated. Although past councils have initiated the process to terminate the city manager, all eventually submitted their resignations before a final termination vote was held by council, according to city records.

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In the Nov. 5 preliminary resolution, council said it was commencing the process as it “no longer desires to employ Douglas Adkins as City Manager because of irreconcilable differences between Council and Mr. Adkins concerning leadership style, and these differences make his continued work as City Manager untenable.”

City spokeswoman Shelby Quinlivan said earlier this week that a request for proposals was being prepared for the new city manager search. That process cannot start until Adkins is officially terminated by council or a separation agreement is negotiated, according to city officials. The selection process for a new city manager could take six to nine months, officials said.

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Adkins, 56,was hired in September 2005 as an assistant city prosecutor. He eventually was promoted to city prosecutor and community redevelopment director before becoming city manager in June 2014. His current contract expires in July 2020, and his annual salary is $165,000.

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Much of the Middletown community was surprised about the pending termination of Adkins despite the many accomplishments that the city has seen in his tenure. Many of Adkins’ accomplishments as city manager were outlined in his plan when he applied and was eventually hired for the position in 2014.

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Middletown City Managers

1956 to 2019

Charlie Thompson, March 1956-March 1964

Dan Kothe, June 1964-September 1970

Dale Helsel, October 1970-May 1985

William Burns, October 1985-January 1988

William Klosterman, July 1988-August 1992

Ron Olsen, November 1992-November 2004

William Becker, March 2005-March 2007

Judith Gilleland, January 2008-July 2014

Doug Adkins July 2014-Nov. 5, 2019, suspended with pay pending termination proceedings

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