Village Council narrows choice to three manager finalists
- Published: May 15, 2014
At their May 5 meeting, Village Council members announced the three finalists for the position of Village manager. The finalists are Patti Bates of Milford, Ohio; David Elmer of Cincinnati; and Robert Kellogg of Palm City, Fla.
The three finalists were chosen from five candidates who visited Yellow Springs last weekend for interviews with Village Council and members of the citizen committee that is helping with the search. Council members and the citizen committee were unanimous in choosing the finalists, according to Council President Karen Wintrow at Monday’s meeting.
“There was strong agreement on all three candidates,” Wintrow said.
The finalists will return to Yellow Springs for a public forum, among other activities, on Thursday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan Center gym. Villagers are encouraged to submit questions for the forum in one of the three boxes placed downtown, at Tom’s Market, the Senior Center and the Yellow Springs library. The forum will feature each candidate individually responding to selected questions, followed by an informal public reception, during which villagers may ask further questions. Those who attend the forum will be encouraged to provide written comments on the candidates.
In an interview Monday evening, Bates, who is currently the Village administrator of Williamsburg, Ohio, said she’s interested in the manager position because, “I’m looking for a new challenge.”
She currently oversees the day-to-day operations of Williamsburg, which is slightly smaller than Yellow Springs and provides its residents fewer services. Being manager in Yellow Springs, which unlike Williamsburg has its own electricity utility, would offer opportunities for growth and learning, she said. Before taking the administrator job in Williamsburg in 2006, Bates worked as director of administration at the Kenton County Detention Center in Covington, Ky. She has a masters in public administration from Northern Kentucky University and a bachelors in forestry recreation from the University of Wisconsin.
Bates said she knows of Yellow Springs mainly from her brother, who hikes in John Bryan State Park, although she visited recently with her husband. While already aware of the presence of Antioch College and the town’s reputation as an arts community, she was surprised by the number of specialty shops.
“You have everything there,” she said.
Yellow Springs would be a good fit for her because it’s a small and friendly community, Bates said.
“I’m a country girl. I like to be able to walk down the street and acknowledge people by name,” she said.
Bates believes her 25 years experience in public service, along with a low-key style of management, would be assets to Yellow Springs.
“I’m fairly easy going and like to work with people to build consensus,” she said. “I think my skill as a facilitator would be helpful to the community.”
The administrator for Pierce Township for eight years until early 2014, David Elmer is currently on a six-month contract as a consultant to the current administrator, he said in an interview on Tuesday. He left the administrator job after a change in leadership of the Pierce Township trustees, but the parting was amicable, he said. He has a masters in public administration from Northern Kentucky University and a bachelors in political science from University of Dayton.
The village of Yellow Springs is a big reason that he’s attracted to the job, Elmer said. “It’s more than just the job itself, it’s the community as a whole,” he said.
Originally from the Dayton area, Elmer, who is married with two young children, said he and his family have frequently visited the village to walk in the Glen or go to Young’s Dairy.
“I’d love to settle into a place like this, that appreciates the arts, culture and diversity,” he said.
As Pierce Township administrator, Elmer supervised five department heads and oversaw daily operations of the township, which is home to 13,000 residents and has a $16 million budget. And from 2003 to 2005, he was village administrator of Moscow, Ohio, a smaller community with a budget of $1.5 million.
Elmer believes he would bring to Yellow Springs a collaborative style of management.
“I see my management style as one of a facilitator of options for carrying out the goals of Council,” he said. “My experience as administrator has been doing exactly that.” Robert Kellogg served as Town manager of Sewall’s Point, Fla., a coastal community of about 2,000 residents, from 2006 to 2013, and before that was City manager in Rittman, Ohio, a community of 6,500 residents. At that job, he oversaw a budget of about $7.2 million and had 41 full-time employees. Before those jobs, he worked as a development specialist at the Ohio Department of Development in Columbus. He has a bachelors in political science from Kent State University.
Before coming to Yellow Springs last weekend, Kellogg was last in the village in the 1970s, and he was impressed with the town’s current downtown vitality.
“I was very impressed with how alive the downtown was,” he said, stating that he sees the village as a “good fit” for him and his wife, who are the parents of three grown children.
“We’re small town folks. We like to get to know people on a personal level,” he said, stating that if chosen as Village manager, he would make it a point to be visible in the community.
Kellogg believes that his facilitative management style is the strength he brings to the job.
“I think the key to my success is my collaborative style in working with elected officials and citizens,” he said, adding that he also would bring his experience in upgrading a water plant, which he oversaw while in Rittman. And he would bring stability, he said.
“I don’t see this job as a stepping stone. You can see from my résumé that I stay in places,” he said.
Other items from the May 5 Council agenda will be covered in next week’s paper.