By Frank Lewis

August 30, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Portsmouth City Council President Steve Sturgill says the city has narrowed down its list of candidates for city manager to three people.

“We have selected our three finalists - Derek Allen, of Delta, Ohio. He’s a village administrator there. Patti Bates who is a village administrator in Williamsburg, Ohio and Steve Golnar, who is a former city manager of Rawlins, Wyoming. He has an extensive background, city manager all over the west. He’s actually from Pennsylvania,” Sturgill said. “So the process is now beginning to kick into gear during the week of Sept. 9-11.”

Portsmouth is in the process of attempting to climb out of a deficit budget and Fiscal Watch status. According to his resume, Derek Keith Allen - “Turned around a financially struggling community during a strong national recession; reduced audit citations; eliminated Ohio Environmental Protection Agency violations at the Water Treatment plant and the Wastewater Treatment plant; retired four loans and performed infrastructure repairs without issuing further long term debt.”

With the city in the process of redefining several procedures, attempting to gain more grants for community development, and enforcing the city’s codes, Patti J. Bates says, as village administrator of Williamsburg, Ohio, she - “secured more than $4.5 million in funding in four years for various infrastructure improvement projects in line with the capital improvements budget and Council direction, and oversaw those projects through completion. Bates said she enforced all village ordinances, including zoning; worked with the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals to update the Zoning Code, and completed a revision of the Village Personnel Policy and precedured Manual.”

One of the big issues before City Council is the cost of the city’s health care package, and according to Steven Bennett Golnar, while city manager in Rawlins, Wyoming - “Health insurance costs were addressed in the longer term in coordination with an employee committee resulting in increased deductibles, co-pays and adopting a measurable willness program which allowed us to keep employee insurance contributions stable.”

“All three have confirmed they will be in our community on Monday afternoon for tours,” Sturgill said. “We will introduce them at the Council meeting on (Sept.) 9. They will have interviews Tuesday the (Sept.) 10th and Wednesday the 11th, and we will have an opportunity for the community to speak with and meet and greet the folks on Monday evening. And we will set something up for the city staff to meet the candidates on Tuesday morning prior to the interviews.”

In November of 2011, Portsmouth voters decided to change the city’s form of government from the strong mayor form to the council/manager form of government, with that change set to occur on Jan. 1, 2014. The city formed a search committee, hired a consulting firm, received 59 applications, and now have narrowed down their choices to the three finalists.

“It has been an exhaustive process,” Sturgill said. “City Council has put a lot of hard work into it, and we’re looking forward to bringing the candidates in and getting this city manager thing finalized and to continue to try to push the city forward.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.