The Trenton city council will have to continue its search for a new city manager after it lost a candidate for the fourth time.
Patrick Ross, the Reading city manager, turned the job down because of a rule in the charter that states the city manager must live in the city. He said he couldn’t be “selfish” where his family was concerned.
Ross told the Journal-News he did not know about the charter rule when he applied. He was willing to relocate for the job but couldn’t give the city a concrete moving date, since he cares for his 97-year-old grandmother who lives with him. He also thought more about relocating his daughter to a new school district.
“I like the city, I like the position and I like the people there… I had a little guilt factor and didn’t feel comfortable enough,” Ross said. “I didn’t want to uproot her for my career. I like it (the new job) for my career professionally, but I felt like I was being selfish.”
The path to replacing John Jones — who left in August to become city manager in Hamilton County’s Springdale — has been unsteady. The council offered the job to Amy Young, Trenton branch manager for the MidPointe Library System, but the day after she accepted she learned her husband was being transferred out of state, according to Trenton Mayor Calvin Woodrey.
The council liked two other candidates — Jennifer Patterson, Monroe’s assistant to the city manager for economic development, and Milford’s City Manager Michael Doss — but they dropped out because they didn’t want to relocate.
Woodrey said the city is re-posting the position — 32 people applied the first time — but they aren’t changing anything about $95,000 job yet. He said it is frustrating the hunt has taken so long and so many people changed their minds.
“I guess we’re at the mercy of those that are submitting resumes,” Woodrey said. “It is frustrating, some of the reasons, like the relocation issue you would have thought they would have discussed that with their families before submitting a resume. But I guess there’s always the factor that they just change their minds.”
Robyn Stewart, president of the Ohio City/County Management Association, said her association hasn’t heard about many last-minute changes in interest going on statewide, but those taking such jobs generally don’t want to take a position and leave within six to 12 months. She said a two-year stint is considered a minimum stay, so people need to be very certain they want the job and all it entails.
“The focus has been more on if you accept the job, and get into the job, you need to stay,” she said. “I know many of our members in the state as well as across the country feel a real duty to make sure that they are fully comfortable that the job is a fit for them before taking the job.”
The job will be posted locally as well as with government associations and resumes will be accepted until Feb. 22.