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7/14/2013 6:00:00 AM
Kingman city manager job a step up for candidate
Howard one of three finalists for City Hall honcho
Rick Howard
Rick Howard

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - Rick Howard has interests both professional and personal in his desire to become the city's next manager.

The general manager of Discovery Bay, Calif., and one of three finalists to replace the recently retired Jack Kramer, to Howard Kingman represents a bigger city with a larger budget and more responsibilities. The move is a logical step up.

The other finalists, John Michrina and Richard Warne, did not return phone calls.

On the personal side, Kingman would put Howard much closer to his Lake Havasu City summer home and life on the water.

Howard said the prospective job was attractive.

"Kingman was in my geographic boundaries, and the city manager job appealed to me," Howard said Thursday.

If offered the job, he would leave a hybrid form of government known as a Community Services District. A local board of directors runs the town Howard manages. The district destination allows Discovery Bay to provide certain services, such as water, sewer and security without being dependent on county government.

Howard said he leads a small staff of 13 at Discovery Bay, but he has history as an administrator in much larger communities.

For 14 years Howard worked for the city of Mission Viejo, Calif., the last several of them as the deputy city manager, where he helped lead a large municipal workforce that served a population of roughly 95,000 residents.

He managed the North County Transit District in Oceanside, Calif., where he led a 650-person workforce.

Howard has spent nearly 30 years in public administration, also having worked for the city of Poway, Calif., and San Diego County.

While he has that home in Lake Havasu, Howard said if he is offered the job he would live within the city limits and that he would play an active role in the community.

"When I moved to Discovery Bay, I told officials I would move into town and I would be a part of the fabric of the community, said Howard. "I did that and I would do the same in Kingman."

As for his management style, Howard said he would work with city staff in a collaborative environment.

"I want input from the city staff and the rank and file," he said. "I have a pretty open door policy."

He said he's been around long enough to understand the job comes with its detractors, saying his decisions won't make every resident happy, but it will be the right decision for the city as a whole.

"I live by two simple rules," he said. "My children and my mother will never be ashamed of anything I do. They may not be happy with me, but they won't be ashamed of me.

"My second rule is, treat everyone like I want my mother to be treated."

The general manager of Discovery Bay since 2010, Howard, 54, is the father of twin daughters now in college.

Howard will join Michrina, the city manager of Center Line, Mich., and Warne, the former Twentynine Palms city manager, in Kingman on July 31.

The three finalists will tour the city and its facilities. A community forum that will allow the men to speak with residents is from 6 to 8 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 310 N. Fourth St.

The City Council could vote to fill the job as early as the Aug. 2 meeting.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: F H

It speaks well of Mr. Howard to be interviewed by the Miner. Hopefully the other candidates will respond.

For the hiring committee - be sure to weigh heavily what the candidate is going to do for Kingman not what Kingman is going to do for the candidate. As far as this article goes the candidate says nothing about what he knows of Kingman, what he sees is the positives and negatives and what plans he holds as the possible manager. Other than an open door policy it sheds no light on what his management style is. This article should have been an "interview" by the community at large. The fact that so many vital questions were not addressed is the fault of Doug, the newspaper's editors or Mr. Howard we'll never know.


Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: Good O' Open Door Policy

Here we go with the good o' standby phase - open door policy. Seeing is believing. From my experience those touting ODP start off that way until the first truly upset employee or customer (citizen). Then "appointments" must be made in order to get into that open door. But there are a few that really do allow an open door policy and it does work to eliminate small problems from becoming large ones when done right.

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: Albie Smith

Who was on the selection committee?
Why are there no candidates from within the city?
If Jack Kramer did this job well for so many years and as far as I can tell Chief Ostermann is doing it fine, why do we need any of these hot shot, i.e. overpaid, CA transplants?


Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Be Careful Kingman

Discovery Bay
Oceanside
Poway
San Diego County


Kingman sounds like a step down for Mr. Howard


Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Warne seems to have left his job in 29 Palms before his term in office ended yet collected a large payout. Would the Miner like to divulge this information? Seems like we get a lot of people here that get jobs but may have backgrounds that should have been explored more carefully. Hopefully this is not the case but it would be nice if the Miner did a bit of research.



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