MILFORD — During a special meeting June 29, Milford City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Hans Medlarz, effective July 1.
Mr. Medlarz had only been in the job for a little more than six months.
When asked if there was one thing that led to his resignation, Mr. Medlarz said, “that would be a really unfair statement.”
“I enjoyed my time here. I think there are great opportunities for the city of Milford. It really takes a unified approach between council and management. I think the mayor will lead us there.”
Milford Mayor Bryan W. Shupe acknowledged that the sudden change in city leadership may be alarming to some residents and city stakeholders.
“I think it is natural for people to be concerned — when you see a top-level (person) resigning. What I can say to them is that I’ve seen this happen throughout Milford history. Milford does a good job of picking itself up by the bootstraps,” he said.
“Not only for council, but I think the people of Milford do a great job of giving positive support that is needed. I think the same thing will happen here.
“We do have a lot of support from our residents, but we do have a lot of supporters throughout the state that do want to see Milford succeed; and quite frankly need Milford to succeed for Delaware to continue to grow.”
Prior to coming to Milford, Mr. Medlarz spent many years working in Kent County government, working as the county’s director of Public Works for 12 years prior to taking the Milford job.
“He did a lot to get our infrastructure on task and see the challenges coming toward us,” he said.
Mayor Shupe said some of the challenges facing the city are related to growth and infrastructure.
In the meantime, Milford Finance Director Jeff Portman will step up to be the interim city manager.
“Jeff Portman is going to take over as city manager. I think he is a great choice. He has had 25 years in the city with finance but also understands what projects (the city) has, and understands the challenges,” Mayor Shupe said. “In addition to Jeff, it is going to take a concerted effort of everyone in the city.”
The city has already contracted some recruitment firms to fill the vacant position. The city has given the firms three months to find a replacement.
Mayor Shupe said the search will be conducted locally and nationally.
Until then, the city may receive some support from someone who has extensive knowledge of the workings of the city of Milford.
“During that period, Mr. Portman asked if former city manager Richard Carmean would volunteer to help during that time,” Mayor Shupe said.
The mayor indicated that Mr. Carmean has agreed to help if needed.
“I think the biggest thing to get out there is that we will work with the employees and we will work with the residents to let them know what is going on and keep them informed to let them know that we are moving in a positive direction,” Mayor Shupe said.
When asked about his future plans, Mr. Medlarz said that they would not be in local government.
Milford Chronicle Managing Editor
Logan B. Anderson can be reached at 302-422-1200 or email@example.com. Follow @LoganBAnderson on Twitter.