Hope town manager quits months after hiring

Frank Owens stands outside Hope Town Hall after he was hired as city manager in May.

Republic file photo

HOPE — Once again, Bartholomew County’s second-largest incorporated community is looking for a new town manager.

Frank Owens, who was chosen from approximately 50 applicants and hired May 24, turned his resignation Dec. 17, town council president Jerry Bragg said.

“Frank had a personal issue come up, and felt he just couldn’t spend the time that this job takes,” Bragg said.

However, no further specifics were brought up during the council’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday. Bragg only added that the council will be taking applications and begin looking at candidates as soon as possible.

A town manager serves as the chief administrative officer for a community. But unlike a mayor, the manager is not elected and serves at the pleasure of the town council. For Hope, the town manager’s most important responsibilities lies with both economic development and grant writing, council members said last spring.

Owens, who was 53 when he began the job on May 27, has held administrative jobs in cities such as Indianapolis, Anderson and Ingalls – a town similar in size to Hope that is located in Madison County.

He also worked three-and-a-half years for the commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, as director of registration and later as the director of strategic development. In addition, Owens worked 10 years in manufacturing for General Motors.

When Owens was hired, the northeast Bartholomew County community had been without a town manager for about two-and-a-half years. Both Clerk-Treasurer Diane Burton and Town Marshal Matt Tallent took care of many of the manager’s responsibilities, Bragg said.

On Dec. 18, 2018, the council voted 3-2 not to renew former town manager J.T. Doane’s contract after the Bargersville resident spent nearly two-and-a-half years overseeing and managing the town’s day-to-day operations. He had earned $54,060 during his final year in the position.

Before that, Greensburg resident Melina Ann Fox worked as the town’s manager from July 2014 until she resigned from the position in February, 2016.