Tuesday, July 10, 2001

2 officials fired in Norwood


'New team' needed at top, mayor says

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — Mayor Joe Hochbein said Monday he is replacing the top two administrators in the city, a move he decribed as “cleaning house.”

        Safety Director Cliff Miller was fired Monday morning and service director Gary Hubbard will not return after an administrative leave, the mayor said.

        Mr. Hochbein would not give specific rea sons for the firings.

        “It is time for a new management team and I want to start at the top,” he said. “We need a new team to implement some things the city needs.”

        He said he expects to name permanent replacements by the end of this month.

        Jack Cameron, city project coordinator, is the acting safety
and service director.

        Mr. Miller, 43, said he thinks his relationship with the mayor had become strained.

        “I think a lot has to do with management style,” Mr. Miller said. “And I also believe the problems he was having with Hubbard figure into my firing. He knows Hubbard and I are good friends. I guess he figured he needed to get rid of both of us.”
       

"A pile of manure'
               Mr. Hubbard, who is on administrative leave without pay, could not be reached. He had been with the city five years as service director and is a former city councilman.

        Former law director Robert Kelly said the current Norwood administration is “a pile of manure and Joe (Hochbein) sits on top of it.”

        Mr. Kelly represented Norwood's former public service director, Roger Perkins, in an age discrimination lawsuit against the city. That case was tried in U.S. District Court and resulted in a settlement of $432,000. The city's insurance carrier, the Ohio Municipal League, would cover only $350,000; the city had to pay $82,000.
       

Political pals?
               Mr. Hubbard testified at the trial, and “I don't doubt that his involvement in the trial had something to do with his suspension,” Mr. Miller said.

        Vicki Garry, Norwood law director, described Mr. Miller and Mr. Hubbard as political cronies.

        “I actually thought Miller was doing a good job,” she said. “I hope the city will get a trained professional now to be the safety director. The safety director and service director should be one position.”

       



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