Michelle Crandall won’t have far to go for her new job.

The assistant city manager from neighboring Dublin is the choice for the first city manager in Hilliard, where residents approved the change to that form of government last year.

She was selected from among three finalists because of her experience, leadership skills and strategic vision, according to Hilliard City Council President Kelly McGivern.

“I look forward to beginning my role as Hilliard’s first city manager and working collaboratively with City Council, staff and the community as we create an even brighter future,” said Crandall, who has worked in Dublin since 1992, starting as an intern before becoming a management assistant in the city manager’s office and then assistant city manager.

She said she considered applying for the job as soon as she knew Hilliard was transitioning to a city-manager form of government.

Last November, voters approved a city-charter amendment that changed the form of government from a strong mayor, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Mayor Don Schonhardt’s fourth term ends Dec. 31.

“I hoped Hilliard would the make transition to a city manager (and) am excited to be a part of it,” Crandall said.

Crandall, 51, is a resident of Columbus’ Clintonville neighborhood, but she will move to Hilliard because her three-year contract requires her to do so by the end of 2020, she said.

Hilliard announced Crandall’s selection Sept. 27, and council approved her contract Oct. 1.

“I’m excited about the future of Hilliard,” said council member Les Carrier. “(Crandall) brings so much to the table.”

The other finalists, announced Sept. 23, were 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.

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.

“We were blessed to interview five outstanding candidates, each of whom would have been a great city manager,” McGivern said.

But Crandall “rose to the top of a deep pool of outstanding applicants for the position,” McGivern said.

“(Crandall’s) experience, approach to municipal leadership and strategic vision should be a great fit for our community and this transition as we develop and implement a strategic course for the future,” she said.

Crandall will be sworn in as city manager Jan. 2, 2020, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.

The search for a city manager began earlier this year, but it involved an outside consultant.

Hilliard hired Novak Consulting Group in March for an amount not to exceed $24,500, plus expenses, to lead the search.

The city began accepting applications in May and began reviewing applications in July, according to Anna Subler, communications administrator for Hilliard.

The process culminated in a multiday interview process that included a public meet-and-greet Sept. 24 and Crandall’s selection later in the week.

During the next three months, Crandall is expected to meet periodically with Hilliard City Council and city officials to discuss issues including, but not limited to, the city’s operating budget for 2020, Ball said.

“There will be (compensation) reflected in the contract for (this) but (Crandall) won’t officially be an employee until January,” Ball said.

Crandall’s three-year contract provides an annual salary of $176,000, he said.

The posted salary range for the position on hilliardohio.gov was $155,000 to $195,000.

Crandall’s benefits are equal to about 40% of her salary, approximately the same for all city employees, said David Delande, Hilliard’s finance director. That amount would be $70,400, making her total compensation $246,400 per year.

In Dublin, Crandall’s annual salary is $141,182 and her benefits are worth $34,193, for a total compensation of $175,375, according to Sue Burness, director of communications and public information for Dublin.

Dublin City Manager Dana McDaniel praised Crandall’s work and abilities.

“I think (Crandall) will bring her superb facilitation skills, leadership and understanding of local government to the city of Hilliard during this time of transition,” McDaniel said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Michelle for all the great work she has done for the city of Dublin, how she has prepared herself professionally for such an opportunity and for all the great things she will do for the city of Hilliard.”

As of Sept. 30, no successor for Crandall had been named because Crandall will not begin her full-time role as Hilliard’s city manager until the start of 2020, Burness said.

Dublin also will not act immediately to find a successor, McDaniel said.

“As the city of Dublin does with all position vacancies, we will evaluate the vacancy in light of other organizational needs and determine the future need and focus of the position,” McDaniel said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo

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Michelle Crandall is expected to be named Hilliard’s first city manager.

Crandall, an assistant city manager in neighboring Dublin, was selected Friday, Sept. 27, but Hilliard City Council must officially hire her at a special meeting scheduled at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, according to David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.

Crandall was selected from among three finalists. The others were 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.

The three finalists were announced Sept. 23.

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.

“We were blessed to interview five outstanding candidates, each of whom would have been a great city manager,” said council President Kelly McGivern.

But Crandall “rose to the top of a deep pool of outstanding applicants for the position,” McGivern said.

"(Crandall’s) experience, approach to municipal leadership and strategic vision should be a great fit for our community and this transition as we develop and implement a strategic course for the future,” she said.

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.

Crandall will be sworn in as city manager Jan. 2, 2020, Ball said.

“I look forward to beginning my role as Hilliard’s first city manager and working collaboratively with City Council, staff and the community as we create an even brighter future,” said Crandall, who has worked in Dublin since 1992, starting as an intern before becoming a management assistant in the city manager’s office and then assistant city manager.

The search for the city manager began earlier this year, but it involved an outside consultant.

Hilliard hired Novak Consulting Group in March for an amount not to exceed $24,500, plus expenses, to lead the city-manager search.

The city began accepting applications in May and began reviewing applications in July, according to Anna Subler, communications administrator for Hilliard.

Check ThisWeekNEWS.com/Hilliard for updates to this story.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo