Upper Arlington city officials are in negotiations to hire Columbus’ development director as city manager.

Council voted unanimously Aug. 26 to enter into contract negotiations with Steven Schoeny.

Both Schoeny and council President Kip Greenhill said they hoped a contract would be in place for council to approve by Tuesday, Sept. 3.

“Being an Upper Arlington resident, this was something, obviously, I was interested in taking a look at,” Schoeny said. “It’s one of the best communities in central Ohio, and it’s the community in which I’ve resided the last 13 years.”

Schoeny has been Columbus’ development director since 2013. The department is responsible for the city’s housing, code enforcement, economic development, land redevelopment and planning.

According to his bio with the city of Columbus, he leads 190 employees and a department with an operating budget of $32.8 million. He also oversees $44.6 million in capital budget funds, the site states.

Schoeny formerly was a principal with the development consulting firm, Ice Miller Whiteboard. He also was a former director of the Strategic Business Investment Division for the Ohio Department of Development from 2006-10.

“I feel outstanding about this selection, and I just hope we can kind of get the contract negotiations moving and get this across the finish line,” Councilman Jim Lynch said. 

Schoeny was not among the list of 31 candidates the city provided Aug. 9 to ThisWeek Upper Arlington News.

The search has been assisted by Ralph Anderson & Associates.

On Aug. 9, the company’s chief executive officer, Heather Renschler, said the pool of candidates could grow and the selection of a new city manager was expected to take six weeks.

Ted Staton retired as city manager, effective Jan. 31. Assistant City Manager Dan Ralley has been serving in an interim role since Feb. 1. Ralley, the assistant city manager since July 2014, was among the applicants.

Staton had been city manager since July 2011. He went on medical leave last October and died Feb. 12 after a bout with esophageal cancer.

At the time of his retirement, Staton received an annual salary of $206,589.63.

Greenhill called Schoeny a “visionary” who currently is leading major redevelopment projects, including the construction of a new stadium for the Columbus Crew and the redevelopment of the North Market in the Short North.

Although the city’s search was nationwide, Greenhill said he thinks Schoeny’s economic development expertise, his knowledge of central Ohio and Upper Arlington and his ability to engage in community outreach put him ahead of the field.

“The community engagement in a very meaning meaningful and important way, that’s important to this council,” Greenhill said. “That’s in our DNA.”

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