Huber Heights mayor, NAACP president argue over hiring claims

Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore and Dayton NAACP President Derrick Foward held dueling press conferences Wednesday, arguing over the city’s ongoing, pained city manager hiring process.

After Monday’s city council meeting, where Gore delayed a vote on hiring candidate Richard Dzik, Foward claimed Gore had “promised” a vote would take place that day.

“It was very disingenuous on the part of (Mayor Gore), who actually sent me an email saying there was going to be an up-or-down vote, and that if it wasn’t an up-or-down vote, then they would go to the next steps, (which) are to restart the process,” Foward said Monday, referring to a June 25 email from Gore to Foward.

Gore said Tuesday, and again during Wednesday’s press conference at Huber Heights city hall, that he did not guarantee a vote would take place Monday, but that he’d stated a resolution to appoint Dzik would appear on the agenda.

“Nowhere in that email did I promise a vote. I believe my email contradicts the accusations made by Dr. Foward,” Gore said Wednesday. “So, let me be clear: I did not promise Dr. Foward a vote, I did not lie to Dr. Foward, and therefore I did not fail Dr. Foward in any way.”

ExploreHuber Heights mayor, council, NAACP fight over key hire

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Gore’s email in question, obtained by Dayton Daily News via a public records request, says, “In regard to the city manager search, there was a recommendation and a second by council to place Mr. Richard Dzik on the agenda at Monday’s meeting to be hired as the next city manager of Huber Heights. It is my belief that the recommendation deserves a fair up or down vote by all members of council and that is my hope. If that doesn’t happen, there has been a recommendation to start the search process all over. We will see together how this process comes to a close in the coming week(s).”

Foward held his own press conference at noon Wednesday at the Dayton NAACP headquarters, during which he addressed the part of Gore’s email which said the vote to appoint Dzik deserves a vote by all members of the council.

“One council member was not there (at Monday’s meeting), but you handled the business of Huber Heights throughout the whole meeting,” Foward said. “You conducted all other business, voted up or down on all other business, without the presence of the (missing) council member ... so, that should not stop you from having an up or down vote for Mr. Richard Dzik.”

Gore said Wednesday he believes all members should be present for a vote to appoint a city manager, because it’s such an important decision.

He said until all council members show up to cast their votes, he will continue to move the agenda item of appointment to a later date.

“If there’s not a majority objection on council to moving this item to another reading, that’s exactly what we’ll do,” he said.

Gore has accused council members Richard Shaw, Glenn Otto and Ed Lyons of obstructing the hiring process, a claim all three denied.

Foward, along with members of the city’s Culture and Diversity Citizen Action Commission, have publicly expressed the belief that racial bias is playing a role in council’s decision not to choose candidate Gerald Smith, who is Black. Foward sent a letter to the city June 6 saying of the candidates, “Smith rises to the top,” adding, “I am requesting that you thoroughly and equitably reconsider the hiring of Mr. Gerald C. Smith.”

Gore said Wednesday that several council members had “concerns” about the city of Creedmoor N.C. buying out Smith’s contract last month.

“The reason cited ... was that he was crisscrossing the country, looking for another job, while still on the city’s payroll,” Gore said. “I believe that information reinforced the idea that Mr. Smith was not our candidate ... I want to assure everyone that the color of Mr. Smith’s skin had no part in the decision of council not to move forward, and had everything to do with his employment history and the payout he received to leave his current employer.”

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