Riverside names fire chief interim city manager

Leaders decide to put permanent search on hold after failed attempts.

City council members appointed Carpenter to the position Thursday, in anticipation of former interim city manager James Percival resigning Friday.

“We have no intentions of reaching out to a third person,” said Deputy Mayor Michael Smith about the search process, which yielded about 30 candidates and several finalists, two of whom turned down the position. “We need to take a break because we need to get our budget started.”

The third person, who will not be contacted at this time, is Jennifer Hutchinson, the finance director and assistant city manager for the city of Marysville.

Two other candidates withdrew. Leslie Kohli, the township administrator and human resource and economic development director for Springfield Twp., Lucas County, told council she was “going in a different direction,” said Mayor Bill Flaute.

He said Alex Mattingly, the chief administrative officer of Elsmere, Ky., also withdrew his name.

Carpenter is the fourth manager of the Dayton suburb this year.

Riverside’s former city manager, Bryan Chodkowski, resigned in January after nine years in the city. The position was briefly filled by Assistant City Manager Emily Christian, who departed recently to become assistant to the city manager in Miamisburg, before Percival, formerly of Xenia, was named interim city manager.

“I believe that the potential in this community is great,” Percival said, thanking council on Thursday. “There are so many positive things that I see coming in the future, it’s just a matter of taking advantage of the opportunities that are going to be presented.”

Carpenter said the position is something that “wasn’t necessarily on the radar” when he arrived in Riverside in 2012.

“But, as I grew more comfortable here in the community, I thought it would be nice one day to assume the role of city manager,” he said.

It is not immediately clear if council intends to eventually select Carpenter as permanent city manager.

“Right now, it’s interim,” Carpenter said. “I’ll work with council, and it will be determined at a later date.”

Flaute said appointing Carpenter as permanent manager is a “possibility.”

Carpenter will remain fire chief during his interim status.

“As interim city manager, I will still have communications with the battalion chiefs and can work with them on long-term projects,” he said.

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