Local city manager retires after 3 years
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2012 02:02
After three years of service, Newark's city manager Kyle Sonnenberg has announced his retirement, spurring city officials to search for his replacement.
Sonnenberg, who will officially leave office on Feb. 24, is known by many city officials for his efforts to improve Newark's infrastructure.
Newark Mayor Vance A. Funk III said Sonnenberg helped direct improvements to the city's water and electric systems, which are antiquated in some locations.
The improvement of water quality in the older pipes of the city's infrastructure was a recent project undertaken by city officials. The city's Water and Wastewater department relined utility pipes on Wollaston and Kells avenues, which decreased the iron content and increased the clarity of residents' water.
"His legacy is going to be the promise for our future utility system," Funk said.
Sonnenberg received a master's degree in public administration from the university and worked as an administrative assistant to the city manager in McKinney, Texas. He served as the assistant city manager of Fayetteville, N.C. in 2004 before returning to Newark in 2008 to become the current city manager.
Sonnenberg declined to comment on his retirement.
Carol Houck, who has served 14 years as assistant city manager, will replace Sonnenberg as interim city manager until a new city manager is appointed. City council will select a new city manager through a recruitment process, which lasted for eight months when Sonnenberg was in the running for the position.
District 1 Councilman Mark Morehead said during his three years of service, Sonnenberg helped present several environmentally-friendly initiatives.
Morehead said Sonnenberg decided to retire in order to focus on the preservation of nature and wildlife, an interest that he has pursued throughout his life.
"Everybody has to make life decisions based on their own desire and how they see themselves," Morehead said.
He said it will be important for Sonnenberg's replacement to have experience interacting with a university community.
While Newark officials search for the new city manager, Houck is looking forward to serving in the interim, and said she would like to improve the city's financial system.
"I will continue to look at ways to save within our organization," Houck said.