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Fairfield’s new assistant city manager ‘excited’ to work for the city

Fairfield’s new assistant city manager will begin a new job in a new city with a new baby boy when he starts in September.

Daniel Wendt, 33, of Norwalk, Ohio, was picked out of 124 people seeking the job. He was one of a handful of candidates who were interviewed by City Manager Mark Wendling.

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Wendt says he’s “excited” to help move the city forward and contribute to the quality of life that benefits the residents, visitors and businesses of the city.

“I’m very excited about the city of Fairfield, and it has an excellent reputation,” he said of why he wanted the job. “It’s great that the city of Fairfield has a staff full of public services.”

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Wendt, who served three years in the U.S. Peace Corps, is currently the safety/service director for the city of Norwalk, which has about 17,000 residents and is the county seat of Huron County in northern Ohio between Toledo and Cleveland. He supervises department managers within the city and oversees a $23 million budget.

Wendt, who grew up in Monroeville near Norwalk, earned a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in behavioral science and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in public administration.

Wendling made the offer to Wendt on July 5, and he will begin his new job on Sept. 4, earning $110,000 annually. He’s starting two months after he accepted the job offer because he and his wife, Laura, are expecting the birth of their first child, a boy, in early August.

“It’s a very exciting time,” Wendt said.

Filling the assistant city manager position is “very important” as there are several projects on hold that fall under the position’s responsibility, according to Wendling.

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“We’re still kind of in the middle of negotiations with a re-opener clause with three of our (five) unions,” Wendling said.

This falls into Wendt’s skill set as he worked in human resources, labor relations, collective bargaining and civil service processes for the city of Norwalk.

Another project for Wendt is improving the city’s workforce diversity, Wendling said.

“(The project it) just really looking at the diversity of our workforce and trying to develop a workforce that is more reflective of the population of the community,” Wendling said.

City Council was informed last night in executive session that Wendling had offered the job to Wendt, and Mayor Steve Miller said he trusts the city manager’s judgment.

“If this falls in line with everyone else that he’s hired, he’ll make an excellent assistant city manager,” he said. “Mark had nothing but praise for this gentleman, and all of us are looking forward to working with him.

This is Wendling’s fifth department manager hire since becoming city manager in 2015, and he’s expected to make his sixth department manager hire later this month for a new parks director.

Wendling hired former assistant city manager Greg Preece — who left to work for Oakland, Calif. — Public Utilities Director Adam Sackenheim, Development Director Greg Kathman and Police Chief Steve Maynard. Kathman and Maynard were internal hires.

“All of them are outstanding, exceptional people,” Miller said of Wendling’s hires. “He’s very good at hiring people, and he’s a good judge of people. (City Council)wants the best and Mark is trying to uphold the tradition and making the organization as good as it can be.”

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