Marysville News

Transition group seeks other cities' input

Ad hoc transition committee will invite Delaware, Dublin, Piqua, Sidney and Xenia to August roundtables

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The Marysville Ad Hoc Transition Committee is looking outside the city limits for advice on making the switch to a new form of government go a little smoother.

Voters approved a charter amendment in November 2013 that changes the city government structure as of January 2016 from the mayor-director-city council model to that of a council-city manager.

City Council President Nevin Taylor appointed council Vice President J.R. Rausch, members Tracy Richardson and Henk Berbee, Mayor John Gore, Human Resources Director Brian Dostanko and Finance Director Jenny Chavarria to the transition committee.

At its second meeting, held Thursday, June 26, the committee decided to hold roundtable meetings with similar cities to learn how those communities operate under a similar form of government.

"I think it's a good idea just to get what they're doing right, but even more importantly what are some pitfalls they have seen. Sort of a best practices approach," Rausch said.

The committee plans to ask representatives from Delaware and Dublin as well as someone from the Ohio City/County Management Association to one roundtable event, then host another and invite Piqua, Sidney and Xenia.

"Sidney is very similar to us, size-wise, budget-wise -- maybe a little smaller budget-wise -- but number of employees, things of that nature. I think it makes a lot of sense," Rausch said.

"Dublin may be a little different than we are, but they are in close proximity and they got something going on right over there," he said.

Gore pointed to the importance of collaboration with neighboring communities as a good reason to invite Dublin.

"If things continue to progress as they have the last couple of years, we're probably going to partner with them on a lot of things," Gore said.

Dostanko said he would extend invitations to each city.

"By doing the roundtable, the ones that are attending may actually get something out of it, too, so it's not just for our benefit," Rausch said.

He said a less formal setting such as a roundtable may make guests more comfortable to talk in detail about what works and what doesn't in their respective governments.

"Why reinvent the wheel? If somebody's doing something and it's working, that's probably something we want to steal. And if it's not working, then that's probably something we don't want to do," Rausch said.

The roundtables will be scheduled for mid-August.

Also Thursday, Dostanko presented the results of a survey he was asked to compile at the committee's first meeting in May. Members wanted information from other cities' human resources departments about how they handle operational issues.

Questions covered topics such as whether a city council has work sessions and how often, as well as what forms of communication a city council uses to communicate among members. On the latter issue, 100 percent of respondents said they use email and telephone and nearly 74 percent said one-on-one meetings.

Rausch said the survey went to 40 or 50 communities with a council-city manager form of government.

"It was pretty generic. More of a 30,000-foot broader view," he said.

Rausch said it will take time to figure out how the responses can benefit Marysville.

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