Committee begins search for city manager

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Frank Lewis


PDT Staff Writer


Only one member of Portsmouth City Council attended the inaugural meeting of the Portsmouth City Manager Search Committee, on Nov. 5.


Portsmouth returns to the Council/City Manager form of government in 2014, and at the urging of First Ward Councilman Kevin Johnson, formed a committee to aid Council in the search for the person to fill that position. The process began when Johnson announced to City Council he already had four people ready to serve on the committee. Those four were John Carey, Jerry Schneider, Vicki Noel and Laura Walker. City Council decided they would round out the committee by making each of the remaining five members of Council (excluding Johnson), and City Clerk Tamara Nathan to the committee.


At the first meeting, Second Ward Councilman, Rich Saddler was the only member of Portsmouth City Council in attendance, and at that meeting, interim position holders were decided on. Carey would be interim chairman; Schneider interim vice chairman; Noel, interim secretary; and Walker, interim assistant secretary. The decision was made to have those positions voted on at the next meeting, Dec. 3, 2012, at 6 p.m. in Council chambers.


“I think the meeting went fine,” Carey said. “One of the things we accomplished was that we were able to define exactly what it was that we were doing. Basically we’re trying to get the tools ready and working on the job description, so Council will be able to get good qualified candidates to apply.”


Carey said he does not believe time is an issue in the search.


“There was some discussion that we were starting too early,” Carey said. “I think we have plenty of time.”


Carey said the committee is charged with putting the materials together and sending them out to the candidates.


“We contacted several communities, including Ashland and Gallipolis and Greenfield, and we gathered information from them,” Carey said. “And I have talked with the Ohio Municipal League, and they’re going to send me some information. So I really don’t think that we have to reinvent the wheel, just look at those communities and what they are doing, and present that to the Council and ask what else we should put into it.”


Carey nipped conspiracy theories in the bud with another thing that came out of the meeting.


“One thing that we did discuss, so that maybe we can dispel some rumors, all of the citizens on the committee want to make it clear that we are not applying for the position,” Carey said. “We thought that, since we’re on the committee we should not be eligible to apply, and we are not planning to.”


Saddler said the committee discussed a multitude of topics, but he said most of it was spent trying to give the committee a better understanding of how the city government is set up and some idea of what is expected of them.


“Most of this was done by reviewing previous emails sent out by Mr. Johnson and other various city officials that have willingly sent us examples of how their cities are made up,” Saddler said in an email. “Also a lot of informal discussions about our objective ensued.”


Nathan said the public is invited to the next meeting, Dec. 3, 2012, at 6 p.m. in Council chambers.


Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com.

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