Unclear if Middletown city manager will challenge termination with deadline approaching

With days remaining, it’s not clear whether Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins will challenge the city council’s termination proceedings against him.

At its Nov. 5 meeting, council unanimously adopted the preliminary resolution of its intent to terminate Adkins as required by the City Charter. The resolution was passed as an emergency and took effect upon passage that Adkins be suspended with pay pending the final termination resolution.

Acting City Manager Susan Cohen said Adkins has until Thursday to submit a written response or request a public hearing concerning his termination, according to the charter.

“As of today, the city has not heard from him yet,” Cohen said Monday.

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She declined to comment on what the city offered Adkins in exchange for his 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 termination of a city manager, all eventually submitted their resignations before a final termination vote was held by council, according to city records.

Adkins, 56, could not be reached for comment.

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He 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. Adkins’ current contract expires in July 2020, and his annual salary is $165,000.

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.”

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The charter gives Adkins 30 days to submit a written response or request a public hearing. Adkins may reply in writing and request a public hearing, which must be held between 20 and 30 days from his request. After a public hearing or consideration of his written response, council will vote on a final resolution to terminate Adkins.

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Council named Cohen, 39, as the acting city manager on Nov. 5 pending the selection of a new city manager. Cohen was tapped as acting city manager due to her knowledge of many of the projects underway and many of the projects are already well on their way to completion, according to Councilwoman Ami Vitori.

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City spokeswoman Shelby Quinlivan said a request for proposals is 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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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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