Kalispell City Manager Jane Howington told her staff on Thursday that she would be leaving at the end of December, a city official confirmed.
Howington, who was hired in 2009 and guided a turnaround in the city’s budget, will take over as the city manager in Newport, Rhode Island, according to the Newport Patch.
Howington could not be reached for comment.
The Newport City Council announced on Wednesday that Howington had been offered the position on Oct. 30. Her hiring will be effective Jan. 9, 2012, and Howington would become the city’s first female city manager, according to the story. She was one of six candidates out of 199 applicants to be interviewed, the story said.
Kalispell City Attorney Charles Harball confirmed that Howington sent staff an email Thursday saying she would be taking the Rhode Island position.
Howington will leave having boosted the city’s diminished cash reserve from $244,122 in 2009 to roughly $1 million in 2011, an achievement originally planned to take five years. At a city council meeting on Aug. 18, Howington touted the efforts of her staff and other city employees who helped turn around a dire fiscal situation during hard economic times.
“We’re at a million dollars in our reserve fund. Did you ever think that we would be able to do that?” Howington said. “I’m sorry I’m emotional but that’s a very, very hard thing to do.”
Before taking the Kalispell position in August 2009, Howington was assistant city manager of operations for Dayton, Ohio for two years. She served as city manager in Oxford, Ohio from 2000 to 2007.