Hilliard has five applicants to interview for the city’s first city manager, according to resumes ThisWeek obtained Sept. 12 after submitting a public-records request for the names and documents Sept. 5.
Two have backgrounds with the neighboring city of Dublin, and two others come from opposite coasts of the United States.
The five resumes ThisWeek obtained are for:
• Jon M. Amundson, assistant city manager for Richland, Washington
• Michelle Crandall, assistant city manager for Dublin
• Timothy C. Hansley, county administrator for Union County and a former Dublin city manager from 1987 to 2001
• Eric P. Norenberg, city manager for Milford, Delaware
• Thomas E. Vanderhorst, executive director of external services for Hamilton in southwest Ohio
After the city announced a Tuesday, Sept. 24, public forum featuring city-manager finalists, ThisWeek at 1:40 p.m. Sept. 5 sent a public-records request to David Ball, the city’s director of communications, regarding the names and resumes of city-manager applicants being considered and/or contacted by the Novak Consulting Group – the firm contracted by the city of Hilliard to assist with a search for candidates – to attend the forum.
ThisWeek requested the records be made available by 2 p.m. Sept. 6 via electronic communication or in person, as described in Section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code: “(B)(1) Upon request and subject to division (B)(8) of this section, all public records responsive to the request shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours. Subject to division (B)(8) of this section, upon request by any person, a public office or person responsible for public records shall make copies of the requested public record available to the requester at cost and within a reasonable period of time.”
ThisWeek’s request specified that the city is responsible for obtaining the records from Novak per the Ohio Public Records Act, Chapter One: Public Records Defined, Section A(3).
Ball said only Novak had a list of candidates and referred inquires to Philip Hartmann, an attorney with Frost Brown Todd, the firm that serves as the city’s legal counsel after former law director Tracy Bradford resigned effective Feb. 1. The city hired Frost Brown Todd for a flat fee of $12,500 per month, or $125,000 for the 10-month term of the contract, from March 1 to Dec. 31.
Ball previously said the city wanted to announce the candidates the week of Sept. 16.
ThisWeek received the five resumes from Hartmann at 5:42 p.m. Sept. 12, almost a week after they were requested.
Shortly afterward, at 6:04 p.m., the city emailed a press release announcing the five candidates to be interviewed.
When asked the morning of Sept. 13 for the names of everyone who had applied to be considered for the city-manager job, Hartmann replied that there “are no documents other than those previously provided.”
Hilliard, through Novak Consulting Group, began accepting applications for the position of city manager May 22.
Novak was hired in March to facilitate a city-manager search on a contract not to exceed $24,500, plus expenses, according to Ball.
Anna Subler, communications administrator for Hilliard, said in May that city leaders would begin a review of applications July 8.
Last November, voters approved a city-charter amendment that changed Hilliard’s form of government from that of a strong mayor to a city manager, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Mayor Don Schonhardt’s fourth term ends Dec. 31.
In a city-manager form of government, a council-appointed city manager who serves at the pleasure of council but typically under contract oversees the day-to-day administrative functions of the city and the city’s department directors.
Hilliard City Council is seeking “a skilled local government professional who is a strong and proactive leader, an excellent communicator and committed to exceptional customer service and sound financial management,” according to Ball.
The salary range is $155,000 to $195,000, according to hilliardohio.gov.
The Sept. 24 public forum for the applicants will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Joint Safety Services Building, 5171 Northwest Parkway, and it will be part of a multiday interview process, Ball said.
Council plans to interview the five finalists starting Monday, Sept. 23.
The interview process will last three days, Subler said.
No official date is set for the announcement of the preferred candidate, council President Kelly McGivern said.
“It is important for us to take whatever time is needed to make the best choice possible,” McGivern said.