In a meeting earlier this month, Councilman Ed Lyons moved to amend the meeting’s agenda to add a resolution approving candidate Gerald Smith for the city manager position, a motion which was rejected 4-3. Smith has been endorsed by the Dayton chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), according to a June 6 letter to the city from NAACP President Derrick Foward.
Smith had most recently served as city manager for Creedmoor, N.C., since March 2021. However, documents from that city show the Creedmoor Board of Commissioners voted in an emergency meeting on May 27 to accept a buyout of Smith’s remaining contract in the amount of $95,412.33. The agreement cites “an unanticipated family issue.”
For the other candidate, Sims, Gore said he felt confident council members could come to a consensus for his appointment to the role. Sims was approached last week with an offer, which was contingent upon council passing a subsequent resolution to appoint him. However, Sims declined the offer “to pursue another opportunity,” according to documents obtained from Baker Tilly dated June 17.
During a city work session on Tuesday, council discussed the ongoing search process, with some members expressing an urgency to fill the role.
“For us to go (over) 12 months without a city manager is just ridiculous because all it takes is for us up here ... to do our job,” said Councilwoman Nancy Byrge. “We’ve got four candidates and we need to find a way to select one of them and get it done.”
Amid disagreements between council members on who is best fit for the position, Mayor Jeff Gore called on council members to find a middle ground by appointing Dzik.
“There’s no big secret that we do have a divided council on lots of different issues,” Gore said, later noting that he believes Dzik “checks all of the boxes” in terms of qualifications for the job.
“I think he’d be a good hire for the city (and) would eliminate the need to start this process over and go another five or six months without a city manager,” he said.
Dzik holds a bachelor degree in psychology and English from Kenyon College in 2004 and a master’s degree in public policy and management from Ohio State University in 2013.
Monday’s scheduled vote comes more than a year after City Manager Rob Schommer, who served in the position for over seven years, resigned amid controversy in March 2021. Bryan Chodkowski has filled in as interim city manager pending appointment of a new candidate.