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Search for new village manager begins

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At Village Council’s Jan. 21 meeting, Council member Brian Housh presented recommendations for the process and timeline for the upcoming Village manager search. Housh and Gerry Simms have been working together on the project, but Simms was absent due to illness.

The topic was discussion only, with no decisions made. At its last meeting, Council approved hiring Cecil Osborn of Management Partners to facilitate the search.

On Jan. 21 Housh announced the villagers who comprise the Citizen-Council Village Manager Hiring Committee, which will assist with reviewing the manager position profile, interviewing and vetting candidates, and planning a public forum. The committee members are Sue Abendroth, Megan Bachman, Christine Monroe-Beard, Corey Johnson, Kate Hamilton, Beth Holyoke, Ryan Peirson and Bettina Solas Stolsenberg.

According to the recommended timeline, the final Village manager position profile will be reviewed at Council’s next meeting, on Feb. 3. The profile, which will be used to advertise for the position, will be in Council’s Feb. 3 packet so that citizens may review it as well, Housh said. After the meeting, the job notice will be posted and the Village will accept applicants until March 4.

Osborn will rank the candidates and present a candidate ranking report to the citizen committee on March 12, after which eight to 10 “high-potential candidates” will be presented to Council at its March 17 meeting. Osborn will conduct the first round of interviews of the high potential candidates by the end of that month, according to the timeline.

On April 1 and 2, the committee and Osborn will conduct the second round of interviews of the top four or five candidates, and a short list of three candidates will be presented for final interviews with Council, with Osborn’s assistance. According to the timeline, the finalists would be presented to the public on April 21, 26 and 27 at a variety of formal and informal events. A decision on the new manager will be made on May 5, and the manager will begin her/his new job in June, according to the timeline.

Council President Karen Wintrow expressed concern that Council wouldn’t be involved in the process until near the end, and also questioned whether citizens on the committee could participate in executive sessions regarding potential candidates.

In other Council business:

• While Council’s agenda included reviewing a report on the cost of refurbishing the Village water plant, the review was postponed until Council’s Feb. 3 meeting. According to Interim Manager Kent Bristol, the report, which had been expected months earlier, arrived at the last minute and he needed more time to review it. Bristol also said he hoped to involve water plant superintendent Joe Bates in the discussion.

• Council approved a resoluton that authorizes Bristol to solicit bids for the management of the Gaunt Park pool next summer.

For the first time last summer, the Village contracted out pool management, to the firm Dayton Pool Management, and the arrangement worked well, according to Village streets and parks head Jason Hamby.

“Jeff and his staff did a wonderful job,” Hamby said, regarding Jeff Bloom of the Dayton business.

However, cost remains an issue, according to Bristol. While the Village had hoped that contracting out pool management would save money, the opposite happened, and the Village lost $53,101 on the pool in 2013, compared to a loss of $41,463 in 2012 and $22,431 in 2011. While Bristol said that municipalities rarely break even on pool costs, he was concerned about the increase, which may have been partly due to cool summer weather.

“Our goal is to break even,” Bristol said.

• While Council members reviewed 2014 budget figures for the Village enterprise funds as scheduled, they were concerned about discrepencies between the numbers presented by the Village’s new finance director, Melissa Vanzant, and the figures they had seen during budget discussions last year. Vanzant was absent due to a family health emergency, and Council members requested that she provide more information on the source of the figures before moving ahead.

• Council’s next meeting is Monday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.

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