When Virginia Barney leaves her position as Upper Arlington city manager in October after 11 years, the post will be taken by Ted Staton, currently city manager of East Lansing, Mich., and formerly a longtime Ohioan.

When Virginia Barney leaves her position as Upper Arlington city manager in October after 11 years, the post will be taken by Ted Staton, currently city manager of East Lansing, Mich., and formerly a longtime Ohioan.

Upper Arlington ThisWeek interviewed Staton by phone July 25 to hear his observations on the city and his expectations of his new job.

ThisWeek: How are your preparations for moving your family to Upper Arlington going?

Staton: It's been a little challenging figuring out the logistics of our move, getting the kids enrolled in school and finding a place to live while still fulfilling my obligations (in East Lansing).

But my plan is to begin here on Oct. 10, and we've found a house here that will nicely meet our needs, and we're hoping we can formalize that arrangement.

TW: Several local officials cited the similarities between Upper Arlington and East Lansing when discussing your credentials. Do you see the two cities as being comparable?

Staton: The proximity to a large, Big Ten university is one similarity, and another is the fact that both communities lay in the shadow of the state capital. With that, you get the impact of state government felt more prominently in your community, and I also think officials of jurisdictions near the statehouse end up being called on to testify in issues of municipal interest.

I did a good bit of that in Michigan, and would be willing to play that role here as well.

TW: You're coming to the city at a time when changes are occurring at Kingsdale and on Lane Avenue.

Staton: I want to be sure to acknowledge that I'm still studying the details, but what I see on Lane and Kingsdale is an impressive repositioning of those areas for future use. I read with great interest some of the stories on the traffic calming plans for (the Lane Avenue neighborhoods), and that work is similar to what we've done in East Lansing to make streets safer for pedestrians. That's an issue (in East Lansing) as well.

I think any time you have a mature community, the redevelopment of older commercial properties becomes a sensitive issue to the neighbors that surround the property, and we have to address that.

TW: How would you describe your leadership style?

Staton: I think there are two words that come to mind. One would be collaboration, whether it's between management and labor, whether it's city hall and the neighborhoods, or elected and appointed officials. I strive to make sure the elected officials know and appreciate the value of the work that our public servants do.

I think the second would be a premium on communication. The moniker in real estate is "location, location, location;" in local government, it's "communication, communication, communication." I strive very hard so that the organization in which I work understands the direction of the local officials and our community.

TW: You had a chance to introduce yourself to the community at last week's Summer Celebration. What are some of your interests when you're not at the office?

Staton: Well, I've spent a fair amount of time coaching youth sports, basketball and baseball, mostly for my kids' teams. They're at a point now where they need coaching at a little higher skill level, so I've turned that over. I like to cook, play a little golf, and bicycle.

Our boys, they're entering eighth and sixth grade soon, so there's a little apprehension for them about making new friends in a new place, but they're excited to see more of their cousins. Even though we've been in Michigan, they have a fair amount of scarlet and gray in their closets, so maybe they can wear more of that here without catching as much grief.

TW: What will the time between now and Oct. 10 include for you?

Staton: There's still some informal meetings I'd like to have with community members, and as we get closer to the transition date, I'll file an outline of my plans for the city council and listen carefully to what they would like to see accomplished in my first three to six months.