Taylour Tedder: I was the right person at the right time

Two weeks in, Rehoboth Beach’s new city manager beginning to evaluate how to improve city
May 31, 2024

It’s a beautiful late-spring morning in Rehoboth Beach, and new City Manager Taylour Tedder is standing on Rehoboth Avenue, waiting to get his picture taken. As he’s doing so, an unidentified woman walks by, recognizes Tedder, smiles and says, “welcome,” without breaking her stride.

The brief encounter brings a smile to Tedder and a “thank you.” Then he turns and says, “Everyone here has been so nice.”

Rehoboth officials announced Tedder, who is replacing Laurence Christian, as the new city manager in early April. His first day was May 15. He moved nearly across the country for the new job – he was previously the city manager of Boulder City, Nev., home to the Hoover Dam.

Within days of the announcement, the details of Tedder’s contract became available – $250,000 annual salary, $50,000 in moving expenses, $750,000 home loan. It almost immediately drew the ire of constituents, who wanted, and are still waiting for, an explanation from commissioners for how they reached the terms.

Tedder said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the reaction to his contract. He’s just looking forward to proving his worth, he said.

“I don’t want myself to be distracted by the online public reaction,” said Tedder. “It’s important to me to focus on the job at hand, and to utilize my skills and experience to effectively serve the community.”

Except for his two-and-a-half-year tenure at Boulder City, Tedder has spent most of his life in Kansas. That’s where he was born, went to school and gained the first few years of municipal government experience in Leavenworth. His coastal experience is limited, but he said his wife had been thinking about moving to the East Coast.

“The beach is the draw,” said Tedder. “I love the beach, and my wife loves the beach more than I do. I grew up in Kansas City, so I like the humidity too.”

Tedder said he first thought about the Rehoboth city manager position when the city was looking to replace former City Manager Sharon Lynn, who stepped down in May 2022 after seven years. At the time, he said, he hadn’t been at Boulder City for two full years, so he decided to hold off. Then he saw the job opening again when Christian announced he was leaving, and then again when another potential city manager candidate fell through.

“I believe I was the right person in the right place at the right time,” said Tedder. “My skills and experience matched everything the city was looking for in a city manager, and the city as a whole matched my professional interests.”

Like any town government, there are similarities between Rehoboth and his previous job, said Tedder, pointing to budgeting, finance, utilities, tourism and public works projects. There are differences too – no electric utility, no municipal airport or golf courses, no water conservation issues, the sizes of the municipality and different natural disasters to worry about.

“The big difference is the ocean,” he said.

Similar to his response to the public’s initial reaction to his contract, Tedder said he’s going to focus on fulfilling his duties as city manager to the best of his abilities, not necessarily living up to the contract.

Tedder was hired by the seven current commissioners. He realizes there will likely be change in that governing body, which he said he’s fine with. He said it’s similar to what happened in Boulder City – he was hired by one group, by the time he took the position there were changes, and when he left all but one commissioner had changed.

“Ultimately, I work for the board of commissioners, which is one body and entity, not any individual. I’m confident I will serve them well, with or without change,” said Tedder.

Two weeks in, Tedder said he’s been meeting with city staff and department heads, wrapping his head around how the city works, beginning to take note of areas where there could be improvement, and listening to what people’s thoughts and priorities are.

Looking forward, Tedder said he’s looking to increase communication with residents, business owners and visitors; improve permitting processes; instill a customer service excellence culture; diversify revenues; and implement new technologies.

“The way things are working in Rehoboth have been working, but you can always do better,” said Tedder.


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