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Newport City Council Announces Next City Manager

Jane Howington, currently the city manager for Kalispell, MT, will soon run Newport's affairs.

A Montana woman could soon be moving to Newport to take over the city's operations.

l announced Wednesday, Nov. 9,  that Jane Howington was offered the position as the next city manager, which would be effective Jan. 9, 2012, according to a release from Mayor Stephen C. Waluk. She will be the 12th city manager of Newport and is the first woman to assume the role.

Howington currently is the city manager of Kalispell, Montana, where she has worked in that role since 2009. She has also worked as the assistant city manager for operations in Dayton, Ohio, and served as city manager of Oxford, Ohio. Howington also served in municipal positions in three Massachusetts communities.

Kalispell is similar to Newport in that the two cities rely on tourism, Councilor Charles Y. Duncan said. While Newport brings in tourists during the summer, Kalispell has a high winter tourist population.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be offered an opportunity to serve the Newport community,” Howington said, according to the statement. 

This past August, the city council began a nationwide search for a replacement for City Manager Edward F. Lavallee, .

The council’s seven-member resume-screening committee reviewed 119 applications for the position. The council interviewed six of the most qualified candidates in October, then offered Howington the position on Oct. 30 after a second round of interviews.

The number of applicants says a good thing about Newport, Waluk said, since he did not know of any other city that saw more than 100 applications for city manager positions. Applicants were not just the unemployed, but many people in other jobs who wanted to relocate to Newport. 

“The pool of candidates from around the nation was extremely impressive and included many individuals with strong credentials. However, it was quite clear to the council that Jane Howington, who has worked in municipalities with urban environments, tourist economies and college-town related challenges, possessed a combination of experience, skills, and disposition that made her an outstanding fit for Newport," Waluk said in the release. 

Waluk said it was Howington’s experience in several cities and towns that sold her as Newport’s next city manager.

Councilor Naomi Neville said she believes Howington will interarct well with Newport’s community groups.

"We are very pleased to fill this important position with such a highly qualified individual. Jane Howington has 25 years of experience in city management in communities across this country, with a strong emphasis on finance, collective bargaining and planning. She will serve Newport well," Waluk said in the release. 

The council will vote on Howington’s employment during its Dec. 14 meeting.

John H November 10, 2011 at 06:35 AM
Huge mistake. Newport needs less reliance on zero-growth tourism strategems and players- do you really think that the 1/4 of residents in poverty are going to escape by waiting tables and foaming lattes for six months? What's going to happen when the nation's discretionary income takes a nose dive next year and the Pentagon consolidates operations at NAVSTA- (Whitehouse and Reed combined are less than half the man Chafee was at keeping the warmachine dole running)? We need a manager who can improve city services- get roads paved, put the fire and police unions in their place, grab the city's pension problems and civil service by the throat and show them who's boss and recussitate permanent job light industries. I've spent lots of time in Dayton and mid-Ohio and she has no clue how to handle the mountain of trouble that is Newport- for christsakes it's taken FIVE years to build a school for a dwindling population and the powers that be still can't get us to shovel ready despite a multi-million dollar blank check.
Ben Z November 10, 2011 at 01:54 PM
This is a little disheartening, why don't you read what her city has done and there are no accomplishments and everything they are doing is the same as here. Where is the leadership about seeing projects completely through? She has no experience with our tourism society. The town kalispell was under water redevelopment & changing the town economics while multiplying "panhandlers' where coming to the city towns people "Towns" people where concerned with. What are her credentials? No completion of a water redevelopment plan. No completion of town redevelopment. And our public politics. Hmmmmmmm don't know what or how they felt this was the right person but I hope it works out, ummmm after our water bills are $300 per household per month. Yeah maybe she will help Waluk with the "Armory". lolll
Sandra J. Flowers, PhD November 10, 2011 at 09:13 PM
At the risk of contributing to tangential remarks, I'd like to clarify one phrase, e.g., " a multi-million dollar blank check." Don't we wish!?! If only someone could give Newport Public Schools--never mind the city--a blank check! But we can dream, can't we? Best wishes to the new City Manager.
John H November 11, 2011 at 02:07 PM
Blank check is EXACTLY the word to use in this case. Voters went to the polls to approve bond measures and the state and feds ponied up matching funds without so much as a single drawing for the building, or a comprehensive long term plan for both that school and the rest of the district. This is what happens when you give money to people who aren't capable of spending it: nothing good happens (accent, for right now, on the 'nothing') This manner of squeezing laundry lists into a capped budget is utter folly and it has been allowed to happen as a direct result of the council and current managers' lack of proper forward thinking leadership and what we're getting in the form of Ms. Howington is more of the same.
Kalispell Citizen November 11, 2011 at 07:09 PM
Newport - you have just made an enormous mistake. We have observed Jane Howington's work in Kalispell for the past two years. She simply moves money around and hoards it to show an increased reserve. Our streets are not improved because she is not spending money that is in the budget for streets. The city equipment is old and she is not replacing it, thought there is money in the budget for this. Her staff are totally demoralized by her actions. The unemployment rate has increased in the community and in the city. Our city council will only tell you that she has done a fabulous job at increasing the reserves. What they won't tell you is that she was their second choice for the position and she does little more than count beans. But...by a majority, the citizens of this city are glad to give her to you.
KalMT70 November 16, 2011 at 06:17 AM
I am not sure why my Kalispell neighbors are even here, except to spread the same disinformation and venom that they spread with their (I have to believe) very small audience here in the Flathead. I have worked with Ms. Howington and am hard pressed to think of a public employee with a more ethical approach to her work on behalf of the rest of us. Those who work closely with her understand what we are losing. Those who didn’t get their way about some cherished issue will register different mileage, as always. Newport chose well.
Fire Burning December 01, 2011 at 04:40 PM
KalMT70 - Ethical? You are kidding right? I agree with you on one thing: we absolutely understand what we are losing.

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