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Columbiana finance director will sub as city manager

December 10, 2012
Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA - The city's finance director has been chosen to fill the city manager position on an interim basis until a new manager is found.

City Council last week approved Mike Harold for the temporary position and he will step into the role after City Manager Keith Chamberlin leaves at the end of the month.

Chamberlin is retiring after two decades as manager and his last day is Dec. 31. Service Director Jay Groner would normally serve as interim manager, but he is also retiring on Dec. 31 after 18 years. He was appointed by Chamberlin in 1994.

Harold was also appointed by Chamberlin for the non-union finance director position and replaced Kevin Smith, who resigned at the end of 2011 after accepting a position with Mill Creek Park in Mahoning County.

Until coming to Columbiana Harold worked as full-time fiscal officer in New Waterford for eight years. His salary was set the same as Smith, which was $61,000 a year.

Mayor David Spatholt said the city is considering giving Harold a stipend for the interim work since he will continue his regular full-time duties as finance director, but that decision will ultimately be made by council.

The money will be available for a stipend since the city will no longer be paying Chamberlin his regular salary of $86,000 a year, he added.

Chamberlin will receive retirement benefits he has earned through the Ohio Public Employment Retirement System.

Spatholt also said after the meeting that putting Harold in the interim position with the anticipation that a new manager will not be hired by Jan. 1 is not a result of any delay in the selection process, but because officials want to take time to make sure they select the right person.

Chamberlin made the announcement on Nov. 6 he would be retiring at the end of the year. Council members are discussing the open position in executive sessions held during regular meetings.

In other business, council approved:

- A request from Brenda Foor for the Columbiana Crestview ADAPT (Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Team) to hold a Family Fun Fest day in Firestone Park on July 20, 2013. The event has been held in the city the last two years.

- Repealing an October ordinance in which the city would contract with KME Fire Apparatus for the purchase of a ladder truck for the volunteer fire department. Fire Chief Rick Garrity explained the ordinance was repealed as a result of a change in financing, although there was no change in the cost of the new truck, which will be made available to the department by KME next year. The department will use fire levy funding to pay for the $585,432 truck, with financing through Community Leasing Partners. A $305,432 down payment and $59,103.79 payments semi annually through 2015 will have the truck paid off before the end of the fire levy.

- An ordinance to make temporary appropriations or current expenses and other expenditures for the first three months of 2013.

- Setting the dates of regularly scheduled council meetings and meetings of board and commissions. The meetings will remain on the normal schedule, with council meetings on the first and third Tuesday of every month.

- Amending an existing ordinance establishing the wage schedule for certain full and part-time employees, and amending an ordinance establishing pay rates for part-time employees at Firestone Pool.

Chamberlin said the changes are to reflect the increase in minimum wage rates.

Another matter briefly discussed by council was what to do with a new application for a liquor permit for Dollar General located on state Route 14. Chamberlin said the property was previously annexed into the city from Beaver Township and is currently a dry (alcohol-free) area, meaning it likely wouldn't be granted a permit unless that status was changed.

Council then approved a motion to table the matter.



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