Sal Talarico to serve as Oberlin’s interim city manager during long search for candidates

By Valerie Urbanik -

Sal Talarico

Sal Talarico

Sal Talarico was selected Monday as Oberlin’s interim city manager.

In an emergency vote, council unanimously chose the 15-year veteran finance director to take the reins from departing manager Eric Norenberg.

Talarico is expected to start serving in January after Norenberg leaves office to start a new manager position in Milford, Del.

Talarico will hold the top managerial position until a new leader is hired by Oberlin council members. At the same time, he will continue to serve as the city’s finance director.

Council voted to pay Talarico $1,120 on a bi-weekly basis as compensation for taking the position.

“I appreciate your confidence,” Talarico told council members after the vote.

He wishes Norenberg well and said it’s been a privilege to work with him over the past eight years.

Council president Scott Broadwell said Talarico was the best internal candidate by overwhelming consensus. “He’s the best person for the job with the experience he has,” he said. “It was an easy decision.”

Council members did not want to hire someone from outside the city because they wanted someone who knew the ins and outs of the city, he said.

The main areas Talarico will oversee in the first half of 2016 will be the renewal of three property tax levies on the March ballot, fighting Spectra Energy’s proposed pipeline, the recruitment of a new city manager, a council retreat, and the next phase of the Oberlin Underground Railroad Center.

Talarico said usually the search for a new manager takes four to six months.

Councilman Ronnie Rimbert has been a part of hiring all four of council’s current appointees — Belinda Anderson, Jon Clark, Norenberg, and Talarico.

He said council will have to first find a company it is comfortable with to conduct the recruitment process.

The search will span the entire nation. Rimbert said each council member will receive copies of candidate applications that meets the city’s criteria.

When Norenberg was hired in 2007 he was among 45 other applicants. Rimbert hopes this time to receive between 40 and 60 applications.

Council will narrow the search to five candidates and then residents will be invited to participate in the interview process. “It’s about them more than anything,” Rimbert said of inviting public input.

Applicants will then be narrowed down to the final three and interviewed again.

“We like to have a consensus this is the right person for the job,” said Rimbert. “It’s not an easy process.”

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.

Sal Talarico Talarico

By Valerie Urbanik