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Leesburg Council Extends Town Manager Contract, Includes Raise

© Leesburg Today - 10/28/2015

The Leesburg Town Council on Tuesday agreed to extend Town Manager Kaj Dentler's contract for two more years.

Dentler, who took over the job last October, also was awarded a 3 percent raise to bring his annual salary to $179,220. The council met in closed session Monday night to conduct Dentler's evaluation. The town's budget included 3 percent raises for employees this year.

""We're really pleased with him,"" Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd said. ""Every member has respect and appreciation for the job he does. We wanted to make sure he stayed with us so we extended his contract and he got a raise. That demonstrates our confidence in him as our town manager.""

Dentler joined the town staff in 1996 as the Parks and Recreation director, and served as deputy town manager starting in 2007. Last October, former Town Manager John Wells retired after 10 years in the position and Dentler took over, following a succession plan put in place by the council early in 2014.

Dentler has restructured several departments during his first year in the post, moves he said were designed to improve organizational efficiencies and customer service. The Departments of Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology are now a single entity and the Public Works and Capital Projects offices merged.

""Thank you for your support and continued confidence in me,"" Dentler told council members at Tuesday night's meeting.

Umstattd said Dentler is in ""frequent touch"" with all members of council, and that sometimes she'll get an email at 4:30 a.m. from Dentler because the early-morning riser ""stays on stop of everything.""

She also said Dentler takes a hands-on approach and has demonstrated the ability to foster good chemistry within the town staff.

""I think the ability to laugh is more important sometimes than its given credit for,"" Umstattd said. ""If the workplace is just drudgery, you'll have people leaving. I think he has the ability to keep the best members of our staff and to attract really good new members.""

The mayor also said Dentler has ""taken to heart"" the council's decision to try to promote diversity within the staff. She said there is still the policy that ""you hire the best person regardless,"" but the town is getting more well-qualified candidates from different segments of the community than a few years ago.

""The only complaint I have about him is he doesn't like Wendy's,"" Umstattd joked.

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