Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:44PM - 315 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

First Ward Portsmouth City Councilman Kevin Johnson has sent members of Portsmouth City Council a list of recommended guidelines for selecting a city manager, as well as a list of people willing to serve on the selection committee.

In last year’s general election, voters chose to change the city’s form of government from the strong mayor form to the council/city manager form, and Johnson says he believes it is time to begin the process of searching for someone to fill that job.

The effective ordinance approved by the voters of the City of Portsmouth states, in part: “The Council shall appoint a City Manager who shall be the chief executive and administrative officer of the City. The Manager shall be chosen by the Council on the basis of his/her executive and administrative qualifications and need not, when appointed, be a resident of the City or the State.”

Johnson said the city manager is not bound by the same laws that govern elected officials as it pertains to residency requirements in the city of Portsmouth. He said state law does not allow the city to require employees to live within the city.

In his correspondence with other members of City Council, Johnson recommended a committee appointed by Council comprised of nine people; four of whom he said should have human relations, interviewing, government and vetting background. Johnson recommended four people who have said they will accept the charge. They include John Carey, former state senator, now Assistant to the President for Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives at Shawnee State University; Vicki Noel, Vice President of Human Relations and Organizational Development at Southern Ohio Medical Center; Jerry Schneider, Public Affairs/Senior Manager and Fluor-B&W Portsmouth LLC, and Laura Walker, former Internal Revenue Service agent, former Co-President of Habitat for Humanity and treasurer for the Martin Luther King Scholarship Committee.

“The other five individuals shall be appointed, with approval of Council, by Councilmen (Nick) Basham, (John) Haas, (James) Kalb, (Rich) Saddler and (Steve) Sturgill. Critical also to the success of this process shall be the participation of the City Solicitor and a representative from the Office of the Mayor for Human Relations/Personnel and City Personnel Policies and Procedures,” Johnson said in his correspondence.

In his e-mail, Johnson further states - “This City Manager Committee will be responsible for recommending to Council for its approval a step by step plan developed by the committee and based upon (though not necessarily following in its entirety) the Recruitment Guidelines for Selecting a Local Government Administrator as provided by the International County/City Manager Association.”

Johnson further defined the job of the committee as, but is not limited to:

  • defining “executive and administrative qualifications” to include minimum educational background, administrative, executive, financial and planning expertise, previous experience etc.
  • establishing a concise and understandable job description
  • ascertaining a competitive salary and benefits package taking in mind the City’s financial situation and utilizing the resources of the ICMA and its Ohio chapter, or an outside vendor, for pay/benefit data
  • developing a plan for advertising the position with assistance from the ICMA and its Ohio chapter utilizing the hybrid method of recruitment from outside parties
  • developing a standardized submission of resumes for potential nominees
  • developing a methodology (assessment form) for a sub- committee’ use in evaluating resumes and selecting a pre-determined number of candidates to interview
  • establishing the method by which responses shall be compared, pared and ranked (e.g., formulate interview questions, score sheet and review process which may be a ‘behavioral’ interview asking candidates to respond to certain city management job-related situations via written or interview response), and, amongst other specifics
  • determining a budget for interviewing finalists as well as the involvement of Council in such interviews.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com.

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