LAUREL – With 59 years of experience between them, Robert Mazni, Laurel’s chief law officer and city solicitor, and Kristie Mills, the city’s administrator, have decided to take their next steps in life outside of city government. Mills and Manzi have both decided to retire from Laurel’s staff, according to Laurel City Council Spokeswoman Audrey […]
LAUREL – With 59 years of experience between them, Robert Mazni, Laurel’s chief law officer and city solicitor, and Kristie Mills, the city’s administrator, have decided to take their next steps in life outside of city government.
Mills and Manzi have both decided to retire from Laurel’s staff, according to Laurel City Council Spokeswoman Audrey Barnes. Both will serve their final day on Dec. 31.
Mills worked 45 years at the municipal center in Laurel and has retired once before. Her role as city administrator included responsibilities of directing the city’s government, monitoring the city’s different departments, and submitting Laurel’s annual budget.
“I plan to be a good housewife, a good cook, and just enjoy every day with my husband and my family,” Mills said of her plans after retirement.
Mayor Craig Moe requested Mills come out of her first retirement in 2001 after she worked on his first mayoral election campaign. She is the first woman appointed to the position of city administrator in Laurel, according to Barnes.
“Kristie came out of retirement to serve the citizens of Laurel and to help me as a young, inexperienced mayor,” Moe said. “She was a great management team leader and I just can’t say enough about what that has meant to me.”
Manzi, who has been the solicitor in Laurel for the last 14 years, was appointed by Moe in 2001. Moe said he will remember Manzi’s professionalism, as well as his friendship throughout his tenure.
“I really enjoyed working with Bob,” Moe said. “He always gave us sound legal advice, he kept us out of trouble, and his innovative work on our zoning laws put Laurel on the map.”
Manzi also helped negotiated the city’s first collective bargaining agreement with the Laurel Police Department, Mills said. The process was tough, she said, but he made the experience a pleasant.
“Bob actually made it a pleasant experience, which is his gift,” Mills said. “Taking a bunch of different ideas about something and ultimately coming up with a compromise everyone could live with.”
Manzi previously served for 29 years as Greenbelt’s city attorney. He has practiced law in Prince George’s County for more than 40 years. He will remain “of counsel” with Brennan, McKenna, Manzi & Shay, a local law firm out of Greenbelt.
Mills was previously a clerk stenographer after graduating from Laurel High School. She became former Mayor Robert DiPietro’s assistant in 1978. She held that position for 17 years with four different mayors until she became Mayor Frank Casula’s deputy city administrator. She held that position until 1999, when she first retired.
Mills said she is proud of the way the employees work in Laurel’s city government and how they come together as a unit.
“We do things like Secret Santa. With donations from city employees, this year five kids will have the kind of Christmas their parents want them to have,” Mills said. “When someone is sick, our personnel director can fill requests for leave donations within ten minutes. I am proud to have had a hand in fostering those kinds of relationships.”
Manzi said redoing Laurel’s zone ordinance is his biggest accomplishment as the city’s solicitor. The city’s zoning process is more streamlined, he said, after the work he did with Karl Brindle, the city’s former economic development officer who passed away last year, and Jack Brock, the city’s director of community planning.
“The overlay areas are an idea that Karl and I came up with to give the city more leeway to redevelop its older areas,” Manzi said. “The overlay is responsible for the Towne Centre at Laurel and a number of new developments with the city.”
More than anything else, Mills said, she will miss working with Mayor Moe. His vision has transformed the city of Laurel, she said.
“The city’s come a long way with Mayor Moe,” Mills said. “I am proud I had an opportunity to accomplish so many great things right alongside him.”
Manzi said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and three daughters. He will look to travel a lot and play more golf.
He still expects to be in the city from time to time, he said. He does not want to be “completely retired,” he said. “I’ll help out if needed, that’s if my wife lets me.”
Like Mills, he said he will miss working alongside those he worked closely with nearly every day. That includes Mills herself and Moe.
“Kristie, and the staff I worked with, and the mayor,” Manzi said. “I could not have worked for a better man.”
Moe will nominate a replacement for both positions fairly soon, Barnes said. The selection must be confirmed by the city council. That confirmation will likely happen in December, she said.