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Police chief to serve as interim city manager
The city of Pickerington has chosen an interim city manager to temporarily fill the position after former City Manager Tim Hansley was fired a week ago.
In a special meeting on Oct. 28, City Attorney Phil Hartmann urged the council to approve Police Chief Michael Taylor to begin immediately as interim city manager.
“Time is of the essence to get this taken care of,” Hartmann said.
More than a week had passed since Pickerington City Council fired Hansley.
Without a city manager, unsigned invoices have accumulated along with other unfinished work, Hartmann said.
The council voted 6-1 to approve Taylor as interim city manager by emergency.
Councilman Ketih Smith cast the dissenting vote.
“This is a self-inflicted emergency,” Smith said. “I still do not know why we don’t have a city manager.”
The council fired Hansley during an executive session Oct. 20.
Smith voted against the motion, as did Cristie Hammond and Jeff Fix.
Mayor Mitch O’Brien voted to fire Hansley as did, Michael Sabatino, Tricia Sanders, Brian Sauer and Brian Wisniewski.
Smith said the decision to fire Hansley took place in a “backroom late at night."
“I participated in this discussion, but I’m still at a loss to explain any specific reason why we are in this position,” Smith said.
Wisniewski said that regardless how the situation arose, the council needed to approve the chief.
“The business of the city needs to move forward,” Wisniewski said.
Hansley prevented the city from moving forward, Wisniewski said.
With three council members vying for re-election (Fix, Hammond, and Sabatino) and Wisniewski running for Violet Township Trustee, firing Hansley “smacks of politics,” Smith said.
In newspaper interviews, Sabatino refused to answer why he chose to fire Hansley except to say that Hansley and council had “philosophical differences.”
Smith said that during that executive session “those words were not mentioned.”
Smith asked for a clear reason why anyone voted to fire Hansley.
“It all comes down to accountability,” Sanders said. “The staff needs to be accountable.”
Sanders said that Hansley needed to hold staff members accountable if they failed to fulfill their duties.
“In my personal opinion, I didn’t see it happening,” Sanders said.
On Oct. 27, Pickerington began to advertise for a full-time city manager, Personnel Director Linda Fersch said.
In the meantime, Taylor said he is ready for the dual responsibility and is willing to do “whatever it takes to move the city forward.”
Taylor said that he covered the position multiple times in the past when previous city managers took vacations.
The police department will adapt well to sharing its chief, Taylor said.
“We’ve gotten very good at improvising, adapting and overcoming,” Taylor said.
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