Acting City Manager Withdraws Application for Permanent Spot
Susanna Niermann O'Neil pulled her name out of the running for the top Cleveland Heights city position because of delinquent real estate taxes and to allow the city to bring a new face to the position.
Acting Cleveland Heights City Manager Susanna Niermann O'Neil has taken her name out of the candidate pool for the city's permanent city manager spot.
In a letter addressed to Council and the mayor Friday, Niermann O'Neil wrote that the application process made her aware that she owed delinquent taxes on her home in 2007. She noted that those taxes have been paid off now for some time.
"Although we have subsequently been current on our taxes, this past history is embarrassing to me and therefore not acceptable to me to continue as an applicant," she wrote.
"I am also very aware that all things evolve and it is time for City Council to bring in a new person as City Manager," she added.
Niermann O’Neil has served as interim city manager since Bob Downey's abrupt resignation in April.
Before that, she was vice city manager and community services director for the city, and expects to resume that role once a new city manager is hired.
Novak Counsulting Group was contracted late last year to search for a new city manager and was expected to give council a list of five or so candidates to review and interview.
As mandated by city charter, Cleveland Heights City Council is in charge of selecting and hiring the City Manager. Mayor Ed Kelley said that a decision could be made as early as April.
The city is looking for someone who can handle finances, economic development and safety, Kelley said. And there's one other important requirement — they need to live here.
"They need to eat, live and sleep Cleveland Heights. They need to go to church or temple in Cleveland Heights. They need to be in our restaurants. I don’t want somebody living out in Burton and we have a flash mob and it takes them a half hour to get here to serve as the safety director of our police force."