Liberty Township trustees called a special meeting at 10 a.m. May 17 to name Delaware County EMS Chief Mike Schuiling the new township administrator.
The administrator role had been vacant since the abrupt and immediate resignation of Matt Huffman on April 26.
According to trustees Shyra Eichhorn and Melanie Leneghan, the board interviewed multiple candidates in one round of interviews before Leneghan and Mike Gemperline decided to appoint Schuiling.
Leneghan said Schuiling was “far and away the best candidate” and was “best suited for our goals, moving forward.”
“We are very, very excited to have the opportunity to have him join our team,” she said of Schuiling. “The thought process for me, through the hiring process, was to consider who your team is, what their strengths and weaknesses are and hire accordingly.”
Eichhorn voted against Schuiling’s appointment and disagreed with Leneghan’s assessment, largely because Schuiling does not have experience as an administrator.
“When you have an opportunity to seek a new administrator for one of the largest townships in Ohio that possesses many different departments, you should be hiring an administrator that has experience in that role and experience overseeing all those departments, not just one aspect,” she said. “There were several candidates that did possess the qualifications we were seeking, so I find it unfortunate that we didn’t have a longer process. I don’t think it’s appropriate to be hiring an administrator based on only one round of interviews.”
Eichhorn said she also felt Schuiling’s contract was “not at all fiscally conservative” and “not at all the norm.”
She said Schuiling's salary will be around $95,000.
In addition to the salary figure, Eichhorn said she didn’t understand a clause that gives Schuiling 12 months of severance, and another that lays out annual raises built into the deal.
She also said she wasn’t pleased with the irregular meeting and the way Schuiling was appointed.
Rather than waiting until the May 20 regularly scheduled meeting, Leneghan called a special meeting May 17 and gave residents just 24 hours notice. Eichhorn called it a “complete lack of transparency.”
“Our residents should have the opportunity – for a decision of this magnitude – to come and voice their opinion,” she said.
Leneghan said it made sense to advance the process by three days, largely because the township is currently understaffed.
“Why would I delay a two-weeks notice by three days if I don’t have to?” she said. “When we’re without an administrator, which we’ve never been, it’s not fair to the other employees and it’s not fair to the other applicants to drag it out another three days.”
Eichhorn said May 20 that she thought Schuiling was set to start his new job the next day, May 21.