The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

April 21, 2011

Conneaut to start new manager search

CONNEAUT — Finance Director John Williams learned this week that he won’t be surrendering his second job anytime soon.

Williams has been Conneaut’s acting city manager for the past four months, and decisions made this week mean he’ll be doing double duty for the foreseeable future. On Monday, City Council President Thomas Udell announced council has disqualified the top three candidates for the city manager job and will start its search anew.

Williams said Wednesday he is not growing impatient and will serve as acting manager as long as necessary.

“I’m willing to do the job until we find a permanent city manager,” he said.

Earlier this year, council agreed to boost Williams’ compensation to manager levels while he filled the position.

Council is seeking a replacement for Robert Schaumleffel Jr., who resigned at the end of the year. Three finalists for the job were disqualified this week when members determined none met the educational requirements for the job as spelled out in the city charter.

One of the trio, Terry Moisio Jr., a lieutenant with the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department, issued a statement thanking council members for their time and praised their sincerity and the professional way they conducted his interview. He also agreed with council’s efforts to find a local resident to serve as manager.

“When you have roots in the community — live, shop, pay taxes and send your children to the local schools — you have a stake in the community that no college degree or experience can surpass,” he wrote in the statement.

Moisio also mentioned his qualifications for the manager’s job and took aim at forces he felt may have intruded on the search process.

“During this process, two city residents questioned my credentials, as well as (those of) other candidates for the position, which is their right. However, I feel there may have been underlying motives other than what may have been stated in local publications,” he wrote. “Moreover, from that point on, the process deteriorated. Controversy and conjecture began concerning the process and candidates for the position, which in my opinion, was unnecessary and affected the credibility of those involved.”

“I want to set the record straight that (council) — along with direction and advice of the city law director — informed me that the current degree I possess is not equivalent to what is required by the city charter and that my experience, credentials and training as a public administrator were not in question,” he wrote.

The other finalists, William Kennedy of Conneaut, and Lee Bodnar of Painesville Township, could not be reached for comments.

Council will re-examine the resumes of applicants previously rejected and will schedule a new round of interviews, Udell has said.

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