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Rockville welcomes new city manager and talks charter

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Published on: Thursday, October 04, 2012

By Daryl Buchanan

ROCKVILLE- The new city manager is now officially in the Rockville family.

Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio officially welcomed Barbara Burns Matthews as the new City Manager during Monday’s weekly city council meeting. Matthews began her first day on the job Monday. The Mayor and Council previously announced on July 9 that they had chosen Matthews out of a field of three candidates.

Matthews leaves the City Manager position in neighboring Takoma Park to come to take the job in Rockville. She served in that position since 2004. Matthews is replacing Scott Ullery who retired last December. Her start at the helm also marks the filling of two major positions within the City after Doug Barber was hired as the new City Clerk.

“I wanted to say what an honor it is to be selected as Rockville’s new City Manager. I’m really thrilled to finally be on board. It’s been a long time since I accepted the position and I thank the Mayor and Council for their patience as I fulfilled my duties to Takoma Park,” said Matthews. “I hope in the weeks to come I get the opportunity to meet many members of the community.”

Matthews’ hiring also marks a historical moment for Rockville. While there has been female acting City Managers, Matthews is the first woman to sit as the fulltime City Manager.

Also on the agenda was an update from Steve VanGrack the Chair of the Charter Review Commission. VanGrack spoke to the council on the goals the commission had set in relation to areas where Rockville can be improved.

Participation: Increase citizen participation at all levels of City government, in particular in the election of the Mayor and Council,

Responsiveness: Promote City governance that listens, represents, responds and is accountable to the citizens, communities, challenges and progress of the City,

Effectiveness: Effectuate City governance that reflects and serves the needs of a growing and diverse community within a growing and diverse region, in an equitable and inclusive manner, and

Leadership: Encourage, bring forth, develop and facilitate citizen leadership.

“These are things we seek to do better. These are goals we feel strongly about and unanimously supported,” said VanGrack.

VanGrack also took time to talk about the town hall meetings the commission will be holding starting October 2. The commission is seeking input from city residents on a number of matters that include council size, length of terms, voting methods, full time versus part time Mayor and Council, and a number of other matters.

VanGrack says there will be handouts at all the town hall meetings for residents and depending on the size there may or may not be a time limit for speakers.

Following the presentation Councilmember Bridget Newton inquired if the commission was getting all the research and information they required. VanGrack said the commission was getting the necessary information citing past records from Charter Review Commissions and help from city staff.

But he also expressed interest in seeking information from within the city instead of going to outside sources. “We’re Rockville. We’re different. We can listen to what other people do or have done, but we’re a little different. I give much greater weight to what we do in Rockville,” said VanGrack.

The next Charter Review Commission town hall meeting is scheduled for October 9 at the Rockshire Community Center at 2351 Wootton Parkway at 7 p.m.

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