October 23, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
45°F

Brunswick struggles to find new city manager

For the last two years in January, former Brunswick City Manager Jim Lukas hosted an update on the affairs of the city with the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce.

Lukas resigned in August and interim City Manager and Police

Chief Carl DeForest doesn’t have such an address p l a n n e d . Brunswick Vice Mayor Vince Carl said that’s because it’s not up to the interim manager to handle long-term planning.

“The interim city manager doesn’t make long-term decisions,” Carl said. “The direction of our city will be determined by who we hire.”

The city manager position has been vacant since Lukas resigned at the end of July to move to southwest Ohio to be closer to family. Now, it looks as though it may be spring before a replacement is appointed.

In December, an attempt to hire a new manager failed by a vote of 4-3. While the majority of City Council members supported the hiring of former Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison, Council rules require a super-majority of five members in agreement.

“Last time we had a really good candidate, we just couldn’t get five Council members to agree on it,” said Carl, who serves the city’s 2nd Ward on Council. Council hired Management Solutions for $18,900 in August to begin a search for candidates. In early November, the search firm narrowed the field to five individuals. Council interviewed the five candidates and chose two finalists — Davison and former Dayton Fire Chief Larry Collins.

After a series of closed-door sessions in November and December to discuss the candidates, Mayor Ron Falconi, who was an at-large Council member at the time, put forth a resolution to appoint Davison as city manager. Councilman Brian Ousley, at large, Dave Coleman, 3rdWard, and Mike Abella, 1st Ward, all voted against the measure, arguing they wanted more time and that she wasn’t their top choice.

Carl said the city manager search will start over from scratch. Today, Management Partners will begin advertising again for the position. The city will bear the cost of the advertising, but Carl said the firm won’t get any more money because the $18,900 it agreed to in August covers a second search.

“We’ve been without a city manager for too long,” Carl said. “We want to hire someone who has the opportunity to make long-term decisions. We want to hire a city manager who’s going to be here awhile.”

This isn’t the first time the city has struggled to fill the city manager position. It took the city 10 months to hire Lukas, who was appointed in January 2011. In the interim, DeForest again served as city manager.

According to Carl, the city may go another 10 months before a candidate is chosen. He said it could take up to three months to complete the second round of candidate selections and interviews.

“We have to advertise for the position for at least 30 days,” Carl said. “Then they’ll narrow it down to 12, interview those candidates and give us their final five.”

Carl said the five finalists from the first round of interviews will not be reapplying.

“None of them said they would reapply,” he said. “We’re starting from scratch.”

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.