Karen S. Conard HeadshotKaren Conard was appointed City Manager of Portsmouth in January 2020, with more than thirty years of experience in the public sector. Read Her Full Biography.

City Manager Functions

Portsmouth has functioned as a City Council/City Manager form of government since 1947.

The City Manager carries out policy decisions of the City Council, and oversees all property, real and personal, owned by the City. The Manager keeps the Council informed of the City’s needs and ongoing conditions, and make reports as may be required by law, or requested by the Council, or judged necessary by the Manager.

As Chief Executive for the City, the City Manager is the responsible supervisor for all department heads, and acts to appoint, suspend, remove, or discipline all municipal employees in the administrative service of the City; that is, all but those employees supervised by Fire, Police, or School board or commission.

On an annual basis, the City Manager provides to the City Council an Operating Budget, a Budget Statement, and a long-range Capital Plan. These documents outline the immediate and longer range financial and project plans for the City.

Vision, Mission, & Values


A person walking in front of a building

Description automatically generatedVision

The City of Portsmouth strives towards innovative, reflective leadership, to preserve its historical authenticity while embracing its sense of community.


To preserve and enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Portsmouth by providing the highest quality services with a focus on safety, sustainability, preservation, culture, wellness, and diversity. 


Integrity and Honesty

Our actions are guided by a commitment to ethical conduct and transparency. We believe in upholding the highest standards of integrity, ensuring that every decision and interaction reflects our dedication to truthfulness and trustworthiness.


Our community is why we exist; the City staff is here to serve the citizens of Portsmouth. We embrace the richness of diversity and foster an inclusive environment where every voice is heard and valued. Through collaboration and mutual support, we cultivate a resilient community that stands strong in the face of challenges and celebrates collective achievements.


Sustainability and resilience are essential to our vitality. We envision a community that honors the past, thrives in the present and will do so for generations to come. When we embrace sustainable practices and innovative solutions, we ensure our community remains vibrant and resilient.


We believe in leading by example. We foster a culture of mentorship and collaboration with our team and the community that we serve. We strive to be leaders in our respective fields and trusted resources for our colleagues in the region, the state, and nationwide.

Historic Preservation and History

Historic preservation is not merely about preserving buildings and artifacts, it includes the stories and legacies that shape our identity. History lights our path toward the future.

Read our diversity, equity, and inclusion statement.

About the Department


CM Team pictureDeputy City Manager/Regulatory Counsel
Suzanne Woodland: 603-610-7240         

Director of Communications & Community Engagement
Monte Bohanan: 603-970-1475

Assistant to the City Manager
Jessica Griffin: 603-610-7202

Administrative Assistant
Joanna Diemer: 603-610-7211

For a short video introduction and overview of the Department, please click here.

Please contact Jessica Griffin for LGBTQIA+ related concerns as the City Manager's office serves as an accessible and friendly ear to the City's LGBTQIA+ community, and elevates related concerns to City Management and City Officials.