FERGUSON, Missouri -- Officials on Tuesday named an interim city manager to carry out municipal business, while the City Council conducts a nationwide search for a permanent executive, which they lost in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting. Pam Hylton, who was hired as the assistant city manager in 2011, was selected to step in for John Shaw, who resigned on March 10.
The six-member City Council voted unanimously to enter a temporary employment agreement with Hylton, to reflect her new duties. She did not make a public statement after her appointment. Mayor James Knowles said Hylton would make an annual salary of $100,000, which will be prorated for the time that she serves in the position. Shaw earned $120,000 annually, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report. As the assistant city manager, Hylton earned $76,128.
Knowles also said it would fall to next council administration to appoint a permanent city manager, after a municipal election on April 7. There are three open council seats and eight candidates vying for the positions. Results of the election will be closely watched in the U.S., as the fatal shooting of Brown, who was 18 and unarmed, by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson sparked national debate about unfair policing in majority-minority communities.
Shaw, the city’s manager since 2007, oversaw Ferguson during a period when the U.S. Department of Justice said the city unfairly doled out fines and jail time through it police department and municipality to raise money. In a scathing report released on March 4, the Justice Department said the fines disproportionately affected African-American residents, who make up two-thirds of the city’s 21,000 population. Email communications between Shaw and other city officials showed his praise of the revenue-drive practices, according to federal authorities. The former manager has denied ordering police officers or court officials to target black residents.
Shaw’s resignation was the fifth official departure, after the Justice Department’s larger investigation into the conduct of the Ferguson Police Department. That investigation found that racial bias among city leadership had compromised the department’s institutional integrity. Other resignations include two senior police officials, the municipal court clerk, the municipal judge and the police chief.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council unanimously adopted portions of President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which provides federal money for programs that promote the proficiency of young black men in education, among other tenets. The Ferguson-adopted program also is aimed at ensuring “all children are safe from violent crime,” according to a public reading of the resolution.