HISID names Donna Putnam interim manager

Thursday, August 2, 2012
Donna Putnam has been named interim district manager at Holiday Island.

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- After a special executive session meeting Thursday, the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners voted to appoint Donna Putnam as interim district manager until the board can find a replacement.

The position came open Wednesday after the board accepted the resignation Monday of John D. Kennedy, who had served as district manager for four months.

At a special meeting and executive session Wednesday, the board approved each commissioner taking turns to serve as acting district manager, but the board also approved a motion to look for an interim district manager, who is not a commissioner, from among Holiday Island property owners.

Commissioner Ken Ames served as acting district manager until today. Putnam will take over Monday.

She has prior career experience as a project manager for an insurance company in Minnesota, a consultant for information technology (IT) companies, a senior business analyst in international IT and experience in process improvement, business analysis training and as a corporate trainer.

During the open portion of Wednesday's special meeting, the board discussed how to go about finding a new district manager.

"We need to go outside and solicit a recruiter to find a replacement for this position," said Ken Ames. ".... We spent a lot of time on this last year, two or three months, horsing around with this, looking at resumés.... We have professionals out there that do this for a living, and let's get somebody in here that can help us out."

He also called Kennedy a "good man," but said a lot of money was spent on his training, "and what did we get for it? Nothing."

He suggested putting clauses in a contract that unless the district manager stays in the position for a certain time period, he or she will have to reimburse some expenses. Ames said it has been done in companies that hire executives.

The board agreed to search for a headhunter firm but was split on whether to have a formal contract or to require reimbursement.

Brown said several candidates from the previous search had been concerned no formal contract was offered and that Arkansas is an "at will" state, where they could be fired at any time after selling their home and moving their family here.

"A firm could tell us what the norm is," said Graves. "I'm not necessarily in favor of a contract."

The board approved a motion to invite two or three firms versed in government management candidates to make a presentation. Ames agreed to search for firms and set up meetings.

The board also agreed to make some agenda changes for upcoming meetings. The special work session scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13, to discuss amenity policies and fees will now also include a discussion of the district manager position salary range and recruiting firms. The regular work session scheduled for Monday, Aug. 20, to discuss the 2013 capital improvements program will also include the mid-year financial review.

All meetings have been scheduled for 9 a.m. at the district office.

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