Middletown city leader leaving for job in Union Twp.

Council member Tal Moon says: ‘Our loss is Union Twp.’s gain’

Middletown needs to hire another senior-level manager now that its assistant city manager appears headed for a leadership position in Union Twp., the Journal-News learned Monday.

Susan Cohen, who has served as assistant city manager since April 2021, is expected to be approved by the board of trustees to serve as Union Twp. administrator. An emergency resolution is listed on the Union Twp. agenda for tonight’s meeting.

“It is a truly bittersweet moment for the city and me personally, because on the one hand we are losing a really talented professional who gave so much dedication and commitment to the betterment of our community and it will be very difficult to replace Susan’s skill, institutional knowledge, professionalism and dedication,” said City Manager Jim Palenick. “Yet, at the same time it is heartening to see her take that next step in her career that I know will be fulfilling to her personal journey toward self-actualization — something we all strive for.”

If approved, Cohen’s contract will run March 28, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2024. Her annual salary will be $135,000. Cohen replaces Ken Geis, who also did contract work for Fairfield Twp.

She was one of 12 candidates, and Michael Logue, chairman of the board, said if approved, this will be a “great step forward in her career.”

In 2019, soon after Middletown Council voted to invoke the City Charter to terminate the employment of City Manager Doug Adkins, Cohen was tapped as acting city manager.

Council member Tal Moon said Cohen provided “a steady hand” during a transitional period for the city.

“Our loss is Union Twp.’s gain,” Moon said. “She was a great employee and an even better person.”

Vice Mayor Monica Nenni, who said the city strives to retain talented people, said she was “sad to see (Cohen) go, but happy for her.”

After Palenick started as city manager in July 2020 Cohen returned to administrative services director. When she was named assistant city manager her salary jumped to $114,080.

A Cincinnati native, Cohen and her husband reside in West Chester with their rescue dog.

She is a graduate of the Max M. Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University in business administration with a double major in finance and international business and earned her law degree at Case Western Reserve University.

She also has served as an assistant prosecutor, prosecutor, general counsel and administrative services director for the city of Middletown and an assistant prosecutor in Clinton County.

City council member Rodney Muterspaw said he wished Cohen the “best” and he hoped she “thrives” in her new job.

Palenick said the city will “certainly pro-actively” look to fill the position of assistant city manager since it plays “a critical, ongoing role” in the senior-level management of the city.

Union Twp., located in Clermont County, has a population of 46,416 and is the ninth largest township in the state, according to the 2010 census.

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