City receives 68 applications for city manager position
Mayor Ed Kelley reported that Novak Consulting Group, the search firm hired by city council to conduct the search for a new city manager, received 68 applications for the position. “Novak has reviewed their credentials and has selected 15 to examine further,” said Kelley. “Susanna [Niermann O’Neil] is one of the 15.”
Cleveland Heights City Council appointed Niermann O’Neil acting city manager in April 2012, when Bob Downey resigned as city manager after learning his contract would not be renewed. At the time of her appointment, Mayor Kelley stated that a national search would be conducted for a permanent city manager.
“Novak will present five finalists for council to interview sometime in March,” said Kelley. The hiring of a new city manager could still be a few months off, especially if the person selected has to relocate. “Candidates do not have to live in Cleveland Heights to apply, but we would want them to relocate here,” he said. “We want the city manager in our town and available to residents.”
The city manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city and serves as the public safety director. The position description advertised by Novak Consulting states that candidates must have five years of senior-level management experience in local government and hold a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, candidates would also have a master’s degree in public administration.
Novak lists several characteristics that the ideal candidate would possess, including being able to work with diverse groups and being someone who would view differences of opinion as a community strength. The description states, “The next city manager will see Cleveland Heights with fresh eyes and ears and consider the city with an open mind.”
When asked if CH Council planned to seek residents' input on the city manager candidates, Kelley responded, "City council has discussed that issue and has decided not to involve residents in the process."
Salary for the position would be between $130,000 and $150,000, depending on the candidate’s qualifications.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.