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Council, village to interview finalists for manager post

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The search process for a new Village manager is moving along as scheduled, and in the coming weeks, villagers will have a chance to hear from the top three candidates firsthand. Last month Village Council narrowed 42 applications for the position down to three finalists, who are each invited to attend their own public forum on Tuesday, Oct. 7, Monday, Oct. 13, and Monday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bryan Community Center in rooms A and B.

“Observing each candidate relate to community members will be an important part of Council’s decision-making process,” Council President Judith Hempfling said on Tuesday. “The forums will be a two-way street, giving Council and the community an opportunity to learn about the candidates and how each relates to the public, and the candidates gaining a deeper understanding of our community and what is important to it.”

In executive session last month, along with manager search staff consultant Don Vermillion, Interim Village Manager John Weithofer, Clerk of Council Deborah Benning and Village Solicitor John Chambers, Council selected as its top three candidates, Nancy Benroth, Randy Bukas and Mark Cundiff. Cundiff will kick off the process, and will be interviewed on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

1. Nancy Benroth — Benroth has served for 11 years as the assistant village administrator of Bluffton, a town of 3,800 in northwest Ohio. In Bluffton she oversaw projects for the local parks system and served on the steering committee and outreach education team for the Blanchard River Watershed Partnership. Prior to that, Benroth spent eight years as the budgetary and payroll clerk for the village of Ottawa, Ohio. She has a bachelors in public administration from the University of Findlay and an associate degree in applied business.

2. Randy Bukas — Bukas has served for over three years as the village manager of Germantown, Ohio, a village of 5,000. From 1996 to 2005 Bukas worked as the village administrator for Whitehouse, Ohio, and also served for three years prior as the city administrator, clerk and treasurer for the town of Lodi, Wis. He has a masters in public administration from Roosevelt University.

3. Mark Cundiff — Cundiff has worked for seven years as the planning director for Troy, Ohio, a city of 22,000 people. From 1998 to 2001 he was the city manager of Greenville, Ill., population 6,400, where he administered a $7.7 million budget and oversaw 40 full-time employees. From 1994 to 1998 Cundiff was the assistant city manager of Sidney, Ohio, where he also served as the community development director from 1991 to 1994 and the city planner for three years prior to that. He has a masters in applied behavioral science with a concentration in community development and planning from Wright State University and a bachelors in political science with a concentration in public administration.

Each candidate will choose one of the three interview dates, and will be invited on that day to a luncheon with five village representatives (each selected by a Council member), Village manager search staff and Council members. The candidates will then be taken on a tour of the village to visit the police, public works sites, Village offices and points of interest in the area, followed by an informal meal with Council and the search staff. Council will then interview the candidate in executive session with Vermillion and Weithofer. Then from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., the candidates will attend the public forum, at which they will make an opening statement and take questions and comments from villagers. To close the day, Council will meet in executive session to discuss their impressions of the candidate.

Though Council members have not identified a deadline for the selection of a manager, Hempfling and Council member Karen Wintrow both said that Council plans to offer the position very shortly after the last candidate is interviewed. They hope that deciding quickly will reduce the risk of losing any of the candidates to other job offers, they said.

Council members have faith in the search process they are engaged in, and with advice from Vermillion and Weithofer, are united in their decisions so far, according to both Hempfling and Wintrow. The three finalists were chosen for their experience and credentials and the sense of their commitment to the region and knowledge of Ohio law.

The survey that Council used to help establish the characteristics they were looking for in a manager was part of the criteria Council used to narrow the search to these three candidates.

“The survey nailed it — we want someone who’s an administrative professional with experience, if not specifically in municipal management, then pretty darn close,” Wintrow said. “All the candidates we considered had some municipal or governmental management experience.”

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