As fire chief, Bennett is paid $94,369 annually. Wendling’s salary when he left was $163,991 a year.
In an interview with the Journal-News in February 2021, Bennett called the acting role “a period of rejuvenation” in his nearly 37 1/2 years with the city as he’s learned new internal workings of the city’s administration.
Not soon after starting the search began, City Council took a multi-month “pause” that ended in April when the majority of the council decided in May to hire an executive search firm. The preferred candidate of many on City Council left this summer for the Butler County assistant administrator position, and as of the end of August, the council will wait until the start of 2022 to resume the city manager search.
FAIRFIELD CITY MANAGER SEARCH TIMELINE
Dec. 11, 2020: Fairfield City Manager Mark Wendling resigns his position. Fairfield Fire Chief Don Bennett named acting city manager while still serving as fire chief.
Jan. 19, 2021: City Council has its first discussion on a national search for the next city manager.
April 26, 2021: City Council end a “pause” in the city manager search.
May 17, 2021: City Council hires Cincinnati-based executive search firm, though some wanted to interview then-assistant city manager Scott Timmer.
July 2021: Top city manager candidate Scott Timmer leaves Fairfield, hired by Butler County to be assistant administrator
Aug. 16, 2021: 26 people apply to be Fairfield’s next city manager and City Council to debate 11 of those candidates.
Aug. 18, 2021: City Council elects to “pause” the city manager search again until the unopposed council candidates are installed and can provide input in the process.