UPDATE: Morgantown City Council selects Kim Haws as its next city manager

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UPDATE (NOV/06/20 8:00 a.m.):

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown City Council voted unanimously to hire Haws as the new city manager.

Deputy Mayor, Rachel Fetty, said she is excited about him joining the city.

Fetty

It’s very exciting that we’re able to find a candidate that I think will have a diverse background and the personality to continue leading our city and to take us to the next level as we deal with the extraordinary challenges that we’ve been facing over the past, really ever since COVID started. We certainly have — I think it’s very important for folks to realize that we have had a shortage of staff.

Rachel Fetty – Deputy Mayor

That shortage, Fetty said, was because of financial adjustments due to lost tax revenues as a result of the pandemic. Some staff were asked to voluntarily consider shortening their hours and others were not replaced when they retired or moved on.

Right now, the city is in the “right space”, Fetty said, to start filling those positions including the city manager position, which has been filled by Interim City Manager, Emily Muzzarelli, for several months after the departure of Paul Brake.

Fetty said she is personally thrilled that Haws has a “very diverse and interesting background.” That background includes his most recent experience as the city manager of Bridgeport for 20 years.

“His experiences in Bridgeport are very similar, I think, to what we’ll be dealing with here and what we have dealt with in the past,” Fetty said. “He’s familiar with state leadership, he’s familiar with the state legislature, he’s familiar with our municipal organizations and the municipal league here in the state and the efforts that they make to ensure that local decisions can stay local for the benefit of the community. And so I think that his experience here in West Virginia will really make it easier for him to adjust and settle in really quick.”

In addition, she said, she thinks Haws has a heart for the same issues that are near and dear to her and other city council members. Those issues include fighting poverty and homelessness, as well as creating affordable housing. The deputy mayor said she is hoping he will figure out the best and most substantial steps to take in terms of combating these issues.

Fetty said she would be remiss if she didn’t show appreciation for Muzzarelli for serving as the interim city manager for the last few months. She said she was “impressed and grateful” for the services Muzzarelli provided.

“She was cast into an extraordinary role and I always try to remind everyone that times that call for great leadership choose us, we don’t choose them. I am just so grateful for how our staff has risen to the occasion and done everything they could, I think, within their abilities to keep our community safe and to show up for work every day. And I’m just very grateful that we’ve gotten through this period of time. I’m sure that things can only improve and they will with so much passion, dedication and effort.”

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown City Council will vote at its Wednesday, November 4, regular meeting on the appointment and employment agreement for Kim Haws as City Manager.

Kim Haws
Courtesy:
City of Morgantown

“We are thrilled about the outcome of this search,” said Morgantown Mayor Ron Dulaney Jr. “Kim rose to the top of an extremely competitive pool of applicants. He is a strong, experienced leader who will bring an open, collaborative, and proactive approach to the management of our city. Kim understands the unique challenges and opportunities of municipalities in West Virginia. His experience with impactful economic development projects will help us realize our redevelopment and development opportunities downtown, along the riverfront, and at the airport. He has experience guiding downtown revitalization initiatives and significant municipal recreation improvements. Kim has a strong record of managing change and growth and will share the city’s commitment to improving the quality of life for all in our community.”

Haws most recently served as City Manager in Bridgeport, West Virginia for 20 years. Before that, Haws was the City Manager for the City of East Palestine, Ohio, and the City Manager for the City of St. Johns, Arizona. He has a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in counseling from Northern Arizona University.

“The opportunity to serve as Morgantown City Manager is an honor and privilege. I look forward to serving the city and the people of Morgantown,” said Haws. “There is a very positive energy and outlook that makes the community vibrant and exciting.”

The selection comes after a national search, which garnered more than 100 applicants. Finalists participated in an interview process that included multiple interviews with city council, an opportunity to meet and talk with the city’s department heads, and with a community stakeholder group.

The city has been well served under the leadership of Emily Muzzarelli, who served as Interim City Manager, and will return to her position as Assistant City Manager. Ms. Muzzarelli did not apply for the position.

“Emily has done a tremendous job leading us through an extremely challenging time for our city,” said Mayor Dulaney. “We thank her for her outstanding service to Morgantown. We would also like to thank our city’s department heads and all city employees for their persistence, patience, and great work as we go through this leadership transition.”

Mr. Haws will begin his new role on or about Dec. 4.

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