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Cleveland Heights Council Selects Firm for City Manager Search

Cleveland Heights City Council is expected to make the agreement with Cincinnati-based Novak Consulting Group official at Wednesday's meeting.

Cleveland Heights City Council has selected a firm to conduct its search for a new city manager, and is expected to make that decision official at Wednesday's regular meeting.

Council selected Cincinnati-based Novak Consulting Group out of a total of seven applicants and three finalists, said Mayor Ed Kelley.

The contract will likely be finalized Wednesday, but Kelley expects the search to cost a total of about $30,000. Julia Novak, president of Novak, and Catherine Tuck Parrish, associate, will lead the search.

They will coordinate the typical tasks in a search — including setting a salary range, conducting background checks, finding candidates, posting advertisements for the position and more — and they will also organize a retreat for the city staff and the new city manager after his or her first 60 days in office and conduct an evaluation after the first year.

The company's experience is listed on the request for qualifications document included with this article in the PDF section (the first page is blank, scroll down.) Parrish conducted the city manager search for the City of Sandusky and the assistant city manager search for the City of Novi, MI. Novak led the search for the new city manager in Dublin, OH.

Kelley said he anticipated it would take the firm three to five months to find the right candidate, especially because the holidays are coming up.

"There's no reason to rush this process," he said.

He said that people have already inquired about the position, and he will refer applicants to Novak.

"Not a week goes by when somebody doesn’t tell me that they’d like to be the city manager," Kelley said.

Acting city manager Susanna Niermann O'Neil, who took over for former city manager Bob Downey when he abruptly resigned in April, plans to apply for the position.

Kelley said O'Neil, who has been community services director since 1989 and served as vice city manager, has not been involved in the process because she is applying for the role.

Novak will likely select eight to 10 candidates for council to review and select three to five finalists from.

Cleveland Heights Patch asked Kelley what is he looking for in a candidate. City manager experience? A longtime Cleveland Heights resident?

"What I really want to find in a candidate is someone that understands, that appreciates and can work with our diversity in our city. But I also want someone who has a vision for the future as far as finances, as far as development, as far as youth issues, senior issues. I want the whole package," he said. "And somebody who the staff feels comfortable working for."

Garry Kanter October 01, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Your description of the city's neighborhoods is not conistant with my experiences in CH, as a current resident.
Michelle Simakis October 01, 2012 at 08:34 PM
A comment has been deleted for violating our terms of use: www.clevelandheights.patch.com/terms.
Alex Alan October 01, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I see you deleted my comment but didn't delete the person who is using someone elses name erroneously on your site! The use of Mr. Giampoalos name without his permission is cause for a lawsuit.
Nathaniel Brooks October 02, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Let me get this straight. The city is going to hire a consulting firm to find a city manager at the cost of $30,000. That's a waste of money. Are all of our city officials inept? Do they not have the fortitude to interview and hire a city manger without help form an outside source? I just don't see how this consulting firm from Cincinnati has any business choosing the city manager in Cleveland Heights. It's a conflict of interest. Have anyone here been to Cincinnati? It's on the border of Kentucky, that should be all I need to say. It appears to me that a family member of someone who works on city council works for this firm in Cincinnati and thus that is why they are getting this contract. They just wastefully spend because at the end of the day it's not their money and they don't care.
Nathaniel Brooks October 02, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Pay attention people, nepotism at its best. I have an idea, hire someone qualified who possesses an advanced degree in finance, or civil engineering and spend that $30,000 on fixing Taylor Rd. This road is God awful from Fairmount to Silsby. The only reason I can think of why they haven't repaired it thus far is because they want you to destroy your car. Perhaps they want to detour people from using that road. I wonder why? Maybe that section of Rd. Belongs to University Heights. In that case Mayor Infield is a charlatan and should be removed. In response to the comment left by Mike, you are truly a dunce. If you are making an attempt to compare East Cleveland to Cleveland Heights you are comparing apples and oranges. This leads me to believe that you have visited neither of these places. Perhaps you live out in Gmills but I doubt that you don't sound that refined lol. Although some of the comments you made about section eight and government officials only being concerned with lining their pockets are true; you haven't seen run down houses until you have driven through East Cleveland. On that note don't let people from section 8 destroy our city. If you see someone messing up critically, don't be afraid to stand up for what is right. "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself" Ignorance is not bliss, it is decadence, remember that.

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