July 31, 2014

Medina
Mostly clear
66°F

Brunswick losing city manager

BRUNSWICK — City Manager Bob Zienkowski plans to resign, effective May 7, and take up a new job as township manager in Radnor Township, Pa.

He presented a letter Monday night to City Council formally announcing his departure.

“It’s probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my career,” Zienkowski, who also serves as safety director, said Tuesday. “Since day one, myself and my family were made to think that (Brunswick) is our home.”

a1mg_clr3col-zienkowski-bobBrunswick City Manager Bob Zienkowsk is leaving in May for a job in Pennsylvania. (Gazette file photo)

Police Chief Carl DeForest will serve as acting city manager and safety director, effective May 8. Council already has started the search for Zienkowski’s replacement, who they hope can start working July 1.

Replacement

At-large Councilman Pat McNamara said the 49-year-old Zienkowski told Council about his decision in a closed-door session last week, so members had a timeline for finding Zienkowski’s replacement ready for Monday’s meeting.

“I want to give an idea to the public that Council knows what they’re going to do next,” McNamara said.

The city began advertising the position on its Web site Tuesday. Council will accept applications for the job through
5 p.m. March 31.

“Obviously, the main challenge is finding somebody who’s better than Bob — if that person exists,” McNamara said.

Council set up a screening committee for the job search at Monday’s Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. It will consist of
McNamara, Ward 3 Councilman Joe Delsanter, At-large Councilwoman Pat Hanek, DeForest, Administrative Services Coordinator Julie Murawski, Finance Director Bill White and Cable Coordinator Jeff Neidert. The group met Tuesday and created a list of 14 questions to ask each of the candidates.

Council will meet in a closed-door session April 1 to narrow applicants down to eight and interview them on April 10. At the end of April, the final four candidates will meet with department heads, community leaders and Council members, then attend a community “meet-and-greet.”

The timeline predicts Council will make a formal offer to a candidate by May 3.

“They’ve got quite a good city to work with, whoever comes on board,” said Delsanter, adding much of it can be attributed to Zienkowski.

Zienkowski said he will be available as “a resource to (Council) and the next city manager for however long is necessary.”

History

In early 2003, Zienkowski replaced City Manager Robert Trimble, who retired in 2002. Zienkowski previously was director of administrative services and chief administrative officer to the mayor in Maple Heights.

Once appointed as city manager, he moved to Brunswick with his wife, Susan, and daughters, Jessica and Erica.

Zienkowski, whose 2010 salary would be almost $101,000, said he’s accomplished a lot in his seven years with the city. He said in that time there’s been about $250 million in new development in the city, with more in the works. He noted the city also addressed many of its stormwater management problems that had caused flooding throughout the city.

“It’s a good time now” to move on, Zienkowski said. “We’ve got good leadership here on Council, the mayor, the administration here to really keep moving the city forward.”

Zienkowski said the position in Radnor was “one of those opportunities that just happened to come about. I wrestled with it for months,” he said. He said Radnor is a suburb outside Philadelphia about the same size as Brunswick.

“They’ve had challenges like every community in the U.S,” he said.

He will replace Radnor’s former city manager, who was fired.

“We’re sorry you’re losing (Zienkowski), but we’re delighted to have him,” said Donald Curley, one Radnor’s seven township commissioners.

He said the board chose Zienkowski mainly because of his integrity.

Radnor Commissioner John C. Nagle said Zienkowski interviewed with the board a couple of times and met a township citizens’ group.

“Bob was incredibly forthcoming. We needed someone like him and there he was,” Nagle said.

Zienkowski will make $182,000 a year in Radnor.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.