Three finalists have been named for Hilliard's first city manager.

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, and Eric P. Norenberg, a city manager for Milford, Delaware, will meet Tuesday morning, Sept. 24, with department directors at the Hilliard City Schools’ central office, 2140 Atlas St. in Columbus.

The three finalists will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. that evening at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way, to meet the public.

“I was incredibly impressed with all five candidates,” said Hilliard City Council member Andy Teater, chairman of council’s city-manager transition committee.

Hilliard had five applicants to interview, according to resumes ThisWeek obtained Sept. 12 after submitting a public-records request for the names and documents Sept. 5.

The other two were Jon M. Amundson, assistant city manager for Richland, Washington, and Thomas E. Vanderhorst, executive director of external services for Hamilton in southwest Ohio.

Teater announced the three finalists after an executive session at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23.

He described all candidates as having “excellent talent.”

“It was a tough decision,” Teater said. “Our finalists bring a vast experience of city management.”

The public meeting Sept. 24 will provide residents a chance to meet the candidates, but no formal question-and-answer session is planned, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.

After the city announced a meeting featuring city-manager finalists, ThisWeek at 1:40 p.m. Sept. 5 sent a public-records request to Ball 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 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.

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.”

Anna Subler, communications administrator for Hilliard, previously said the interview process would last three days.

Hilliard voters last November approved a charter amendment that changed Hilliard’s form of local government from a strong mayor to that of a city manager.

Mayor Don Schonhardt will continue to serve until Dec. 31, the conclusion of his fourth term in office.

The city manager will oversee department directors and the daily operations of the city.

Check for updates to this story.