City manager candidate sees ‘opportunities’ here

“There are so many opportunities there even though the city that has been through some hardships,” said Davison, one of the five candidates for city manager.

When asked about whether the city should concentrate its efforts in the East End, near I-75 and Atrium Medical Center, or downtown, Davison said economic development will occur in the East End “naturally” because of the health care cluster. For downtown to be successful, she said, international companies must be recruited to “repopulate” the empty shops.

Davison said she has the experience and education needed to move the city “forward.”

She also has visited Middletown several times, read the Journal-News and the Internet, and said one of the biggest hurdles for the government is to be more transparent.

The other four finalists are: Doug Adkins, community revitalization director for the city; Les Landen, Middletown law director; Jane Howington, city manager, Newport, R.I.; and Willie Norfleet, city manager, Socorro, Texas.

City manager Judy Gilleland announced her retirement earlier this year and her last day is set for June 6, though she may stay longer to make the transition easier. The city received 29 applicants for the position and the field was narrowed to five, said Noah Powers, the city’s human resource manager. All five candidates will participate in interviews Friday and Saturday with members of the community and City Council.

The public portion of the forum will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the City Council chambers in the basement of the City Building.

Since August 2013, Davison has served as financial director of Urban Ministries Inc. and adjunct faculty at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville.

For more than three years, she served as city manager in Steubenville, with a population of 19,000 and an annual operating budget of $40.8 million. Her other duties included: budget preparation and financial management, public information officer, public and press relations, ballot issue campaign organization and management and labor negotiations.

While in Steubenville, she said, she negotiated union collective bargaining agreements and managed labor relations contracts.

In her current position, she handles the finances for a soup kitchen, homeless shelter and neighborhood development center that serves a population of 60,000.

She owns a bachelor’s degree in political science from Anderson University, master’s degree in organizational leadership from the University of Denver and a master’s in public administration from Norwich University.

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