Search for new city manager nearing end

Joshua Hudson

The search for a new city manager for the city of Kent will be narrowed down to the final eight to 10 applicants tomorrow, Councilman Wayne Wilson said at the city council meeting last night.

In September, former City Manger Lew Steinbrecher announced his resignation. Steinbrecher left Kent to become the city administrator of Moline, Ill. William Lillich has served as interim city manager since October.

Wilson said the council will then begin looking over the final applicants at the beginning of next week. The council members will then narrow the field to the final three applicants Feb. 23 when they have a phone interview with Tom Daugherty. Daugherty is a member of the Mercer Group, the firm hired by the council to help during the search process.

The final three applicants will be brought to Kent for interviews and a public meeting.

But, Wilson said, the candidates will not be known by name but by letters.

“I think it will be easier for us to remember candidate A, B or C instead of a name,” he said. “It would be hard for us to remember the people if we knew them by name. I think this will make it easier on us. We will know their names once we get to the final three.”

Councilwoman Carrie Gavriloff wasn’t clear on why it would take so long to cut the field down to three.

“If we are getting the packets in such a hurry, why are we waiting so long to conduct the extensive interviews,” she asked.

Wilson said the reason for the delay is mainly because of time and money. He said he didn’t want Daugherty to have to sit and wait for a phone call while the city was paying him. The other reason is it gives the council more time to look over the applicants.

The council also heard from the Portage County Tobacco Task Force about restricting smoking in bars in Kent.

Aaron Bohannon, coordinator and grants administrator of the Portage County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, said restricting smoking is something that a majority of Portage County people want to happen. He cited a poll conducted by the Portage County Health Department that stated 73 percent of Portage County residents feel that a smoking ban is somewhat important, while 37 percent thought it was extremely important.

“Employees exposed to second-hand smoke triple their chances of developing lung cancer,” he said. “Second-hand (smoke) also affects over 70 percent of all Portage County residents. A smoke-free environment in bars makes good heath sense and good dollars and cents.”

Contact public affairs reporter Joshua Hudson at [email protected].