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10 in running for top Kent post

By Diane SmithRecord-Courier staff writer Published: August 12, 1997 12:00 AM

Thomas Dority of the Mercer Group, the firm hired to find the next city manager of Kent, submitted a "candidate evaluation matrix," summarizing the qualifications of the top 10 candidates, to council Monday. The name, gender and specific location where the candidate works have not been disclosed.

Dority said 90 people applied for the position. Although there were more than 10 qualified candidates, Dority said the candidates listed present the best balance of selection criteria outlined by council.

Council had asked for candidates with experience as a city manager who are skilled at economic development, preferably from a university town.

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By Aug. 18, council members are to indicate their best three candidates, and a background and police investigation will be conducted between Aug. 18 and Aug. 26. On Aug. 28. council members are to receive their final report and interview books.

On Aug. 29 and 30, an interview and public reception is scheduled. A job offer could then be made the first week of September, Dority said.

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The list includes six city managers, two assistant city managers, an acting city manager, a deputy county manager and a vice president of university.

Dority said most of the candidates from the Midwest are from Ohio. Michigan residents are considered part of the North Central region. Several other candidates who don't work in Ohio now have ties to the area. Familiarity with the area was considered a plus when determining the top 10 candidates, Dority said.

The candidates include:

An assistant city manager of a major university town of 87,000 residents in the western U. S. The candidate has developed a virtual business incubator, mall business outreach, managed a renovated mill for small business development, and established an enterprise zone, according to the report.

A deputy county manager of an urban county of 535,000 residents in the Southwest. The candidate oversees economic development programs, including business expansion and retention, coordinates county programs with the major state university located there, and has family ties to the Kent area.

A city manager of a city in the north central United States for the past eight years. The city, with a population of 10,000, is home to a state university.

The candidate has experience in capital construction projects, including a golf course, wastewater treatment plant expansion, airport relocation and creating a new business park. The candidate also managed downtown parking. Residents and faculty are involved in review boards and joint town-gown projects.

A city manager of a town in the north central United States. The town, which has a population of 10,000, is home to a private college. Experience includes redeveloping an abandoned industrial site into housing, commercial and riverfront park, and is touted as having positive staff relationships and being open and responsive with the community and council.

A city manager of a town in the north central region with a population of 9,000. The town is home to a private, residential college. The candidate previously worked with the EPA and the state to clean up a brownfield site in downtown, and is a national leader in arranging conversion to municipal electricity. Dority stated the candidate has success in "consensus-building around difficult issues.

A city manager of a town in the midwest with 14,800 residents. The candidate managed the start-up of an economic development program, focusing on retention and expansion of business and served on an economic development board saving or creating 800 jobs. A previous job involved community college relations.

A city manager of a town of 8,300 in the northeast region. The candidate previously worked as city manager of a college town in the midwest. The candidate has experience in revitalizing a 125-year-old downtown and is a graduate of Kent State University with family nearby.

The first city manager of a town with a population of 13.000 in the midwest. The candidate, who has worked in that town for five years, previously was city manager of a town adjacent to two state university. The candidate has experience in coordinating many industrial development projects, creating 600 jobs, was involved in streetscape and downtown facade studies, and coordinated recruitment of a state prison.

An acting city manager of a town with 38,000 residents in the midwest. The candidate also worked previously as city manager of a town with 17,700 residents in the midwest. The candidate, who was appointed acting city manager of the town this month, has experience in a city with a state university helped recruit a manufacturing facility that created 750 jobs, and has worked on downtown recruitment, parking, and stabilizing a historic hotel for renovation.

Vice president of a "corporate university community" in the midwest. Dority said the private university, with a daytime population of 49,000, is a town of its own. The candidate is responsible for university police, transportation, parking and beautification, and previously worked as city manager of a town of 45,000 in the midwest.

The candidate led a public-private partnership for economic development, helping bring in $100 million in new business development recognized in several state and national publication. The candidate coordinated development of a small inn and conference center and worked to land-bank parking for future development.

Dority said the candidate has "very strong experience in city management in Northeast Ohio and in a university setting."

"I think each one would do an excellent job, and I would not have them on the list if I was not confident of that," Dority said. "It's up to city council to get some sense of who is most promising to them."

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