Fairfield pauses city manager search after more than 8 months

Fairfield plans to use a recently completed market study on the northern Ohio 4 corridor (Nilles Road to the city limits) to improve its marketability in both the residential and business sectors. Pictured is the corridor just south of the city limits with Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Caption
Fairfield plans to use a recently completed market study on the northern Ohio 4 corridor (Nilles Road to the city limits) to improve its marketability in both the residential and business sectors. Pictured is the corridor just south of the city limits with Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Idea is for unopposed council candidates to have input.

Fairfield will continue without a permanent new city manager in the coming months.

City council announced this week that it would stop its search after applicants were discussed in an executive session meeting Wednesday.

“At this time, council has determined that the best interests of the city will be served by pausing our search to allow the unopposed candidates for city council to have input into the decision-making process,” according to a statement from Councilman Dale Paullus, who has been leading the search process.

“Council thanks each of the candidates who expressed an interest in the city manager leadership role.”

The search has been ongoing since December and has included a multi-month “pause” and a debate on whether to hire a search firm before interviewing an internal candidate who has since left the city.

Fairfield received nearly 30 applications over a five-week period. The executive search firm Management Partners, Inc., of Cincinnati, recommended 11 of the candidates.

Fairfield has been without a full-time city manager since Mark Wendling’s unexpected resignation. Fairfield Fire Chief Don Bennett has been acting city manager since mid-December, as well as maintaining his fire chief responsibilities.

“We have the utmost confidence in Acting City Manager Don Bennett and senior staff of the city and thank them for the fine work they are performing on behalf of the city,” Paullus said in a statement.

Council hired Management Partners Inc. in May to conduct a regional search at a cost of more than $24,500.

Since Wendling left, the city also lost two assistant city managers. Dan Wendt left in January to be Vandalia’s city manager. Scott Timmer replaced Wendt and left last month by Butler County to be the assistant county administrator. Some council members wanted to interview Timmer this past spring for the city manager job.

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