Local News

Who Will Manage Tusayan?

January 11, 2013

What did the Mayor know and when did he know it? Tusayan Mayor Greg Bryan knew early on in the process that a candidate for the Town Manager’s position, Brent Lewis, had been arrested for allegedly failing to pay alimony while Lewis was the Town Administrator for Minden, Nebraska. We pressed Mayor Bryan as to whether that was a deal breaker. Mayor Bryan simply responded that Lewis self disclosed. While Bryan may have known about the arrest, he failed to tell the public what he knew.

The arrest was not disclosed at a public meeting held January 7th to give residents a chance to review the top two candidates. Bryan hosted that meeting. Despite the arrest, Lewis is one of two finalists after the council initially received 46 applicants.

 Bryan said with the two finalists in place, “The council will go through and have an executive session and determine whether they have sufficient information to make a good decision. We don’t feel we are in a rush situation. We will be diligent in our process.”

As for Lewis’ arrest Bryan said, “It was self-disclosed prior to any background check.” When asked if he felt the arrest was a deal-breaker Bryan replied, “It was self-disclosed.”

Lewis spent 19 years working for the Town of Minden, Nebraska, a community of about 3,000 people with 24 employees. He resigned in 2011, following his arrest. The arrest and his departure are covered in this report from the Kearney Hub. Prior to his job in Minden, he worked in municipal governments in Texas for about 10 years. Lewis told those gathered at the January 7th public hearing that he would make it a priority to gather public input on issues like the general plan and the budget and he would take extra measures to inform the public on town government through enhanced websites and blogs. He would also like to hold growth summits and citizen listening sessions.

The other candidate for Tusayan Town manager is Calvin Bonenberger , who is the current Town Manager for the community of Rising Sun, Maryland which also has about 3,000 residents .Bonenberger also has about 30 years of experience in municipal governments. That includes stints as a fire chief and a wastewater treatment plant operator. He says he would work to find common ground within Tusayan with the goal of having residents care about the community.  He talked to residents during his visit and, ”Found people not buying into incorporation.”   He said he would work to instill trust and community pride in Tusayan.

During the question and answer period, both candidates were asked if they know that developer Stilo was out of compliance in its land use plan with Tusayan. Neither was informed of that fact.