Huber Heights council votes to pause city manager search process

Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore. AIMEE HANCOCK/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore. AIMEE HANCOCK/STAFF

Huber Heights City Council voted Monday to temporarily pause its search for a new city manager for a period of up to six months.

The recommendation to halt the process was suggested by Councilman Mark Campbell during a July 19 work session. Campbell cited several reasons, including a need for “stability,” and for council to prove it can conduct itself appropriately. This comes after a pained, months-long search process, which has included accusations of obstruction, bias, and political ploys amongst members of council.

ExploreHuber Heights council to pause manager search; interim leader cites several other needs

“We could take advantage of that time if for no other reason than to allow Baker Tilly an opportunity to share with potential candidates six months of recorded council meetings that we can be proud of. I believe we could put our best foot forward,” Campbell said.

According to Clerk of Council Tony Rodgers, the search process could be restarted at any time prior to the six month deadline with a majority vote to do so. Additionally, Rodgers confirmed that the city’s contract with Baker Tilly — the human resources firm recruited in October of last year to lead the candidate search process — would allow for a pause of up to 12 months before restarting the search.

The motion to pause the search passed 7-0, with Councilman Richard Shaw absent Monday.

ExploreHuber Heights council fails to settle city manager dispute

Interim City Manager Bryan Chodkowski said last week he agrees with the suggestion to pause the process, noting there is a shortage of professional managers. He said it’s crucial that “appropriate demeanor, manner, and professionalism be exercised” by members of council during this pause.

Following the resignation of City Manager Rob Schommer in March 2021, the interim manager position was first filled by Scott Falkowski until Chodkowski took over in November. Prior to Schommer’s resignation, Chodkowski and Falkowski served in the city’s two assistant city manager positions. Now, Chodkowski is temporarily filling all three of these roles.

Chodkowski said both he and Falkowski had felt it in the best interest of the city to hold off on implementing any “major changes” to city operations prior to the appointment of a permanent manager, but asserted that his outlook on the matter has changed.

ExploreHuber Heights mayor, council, NAACP fight over key hire

“I kept the vehicle neutral, waiting for the next city manager to arrive,” Chodkowski said. “At the last council business meeting, it was clear to me and my 20-plus years of city management that our organization could wait no more. I made the decision at that point in time to begin leading staff as if I was the manager because we can no longer continue to be in the neutral position.”

Chodkowski has previously stated he does not wish to pursue the position of city manager permanently, citing his residency as the main reason. In accordance with the city’s charter, the city manager must be a resident of Huber Heights.

Along with the city manager position, the city has vacancies at economic development director and planning and community development director. Chodkowski said those positions now need to be filled sooner rather than later.

“We had restructured the organization to a certain degree with the anticipation of a new city manager coming in, and we had left those positions vacant as the permanent city manager should have the opportunity to assemble their team,” he said Wednesday. “We now find ourselves in a place where we cannot extend that courtesy to the incoming manager.”

While the city is in good standing, Chodkowski said, an excess of responsibility has fallen on his shoulders, as well as those of his team. Even so, Chodkowski said it’s worth the wait to get a good candidate for city manager.

“Bringing in someone who’s not qualified or as qualified as they should be only makes it worse for us at the staff level,” he said. “We’re taking the time to ensure (council) can recruit the best qualified candidate.”

About the Author