Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Lebanon lists job candidates

18 people apply to be city manager

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Eighteen people — including a former Fairfield city manager, an ex-Anderson Township administrator and a communications specialist with Clermont County's Union Township — have applied for the Lebanon city manager job.

        Most of the applicants hail from out of town — seven work in Ohio. Other candidates come from eight other states, as far away as Texas.

        A handful also are from or worked in the Dayton area. The list has one woman and 17 men.

        Lebanon city officials reluctantly released the names and resumes Monday after The Cincinnati Enquirer filed a written request for the docu ments under Ohio's Open Records Law.

        City officials were slow to release the names, saying some applicants might lose their jobs with current employers. Officials also said releasing the information would damage Lebanon's search for candidates.

        However, in a hearing before Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neil B. Bronson on Friday, Lebanon agreed to release the materials Monday.

        “We all support the need for open exercise of our government business and the public's right to know how their taxes are being used,” C. Ed Patterson, Lebanon's acting city manager, read from a statement Monday during a meeting with reporters. “But sometimes, good laws are dis torted.

        “Neither those applicants nor we would have imagined these applications would be published,” he added.

        In late December, council approved a contract for $17,750 with Organizational Resources, a Worthington, Ohio-based consulting firm, to solicit applications for the city manager position.

        The city had to turn over the material because of a 1996 Ohio Supreme Court ruling in a case involving the Enquirer and Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey. The court ruled that work produced by a private company hired by a government to do a public function — such as leading a search for a city employee — is public record.

        The city manager's job is the highest-paid administrative post in Lebanon city government and the most important. The person, who reports to city council, has authority over all aspects of government — from economic development to public safety.

        Lebanon officials hope to have a replacement for City Manager Richard Hayward by May 1. He has been on sick leave since January and is expected to return this week.

        Mr. Hayward announced his resignation in November effective May 31.

        Mr. Patterson would not comment on the quality or quantity of the applications. Mr. Patterson, who started as deputy city manager in December, has served as acting city manager in Mr. Hayward's absence.

        The window for applicants to submit their resumes closes Wednesday. After that, Organizational Resources will narrow the list to about four or five recommendations to council.

        Mr. Patterson said the city intends to have an all-day inter view with those candidates, open to the media and the public, by about April 15.

        One of the candidates is Patti Bates, a communications specialist with Clermont County's Union Township Police Department. She earned a master's degree in public administration from Northern Kentucky University.

        If chosen, she promised to “bring a fresh and new approach to the city.”

        Robert C. Eberhart, who was Fairfield's city manager from November 1989 to September 1990, said he has experience in planning and community development. He also has solid team management skills, he said.

        “I know it's not always one person getting things done,” he said. “I think a group of people can work together toward a common goal.”

List of applicants

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