City manager vacancy saved Oberlin about $82K

By Evan Goodenow -



Being finance director and interim city manager meant a lot of extra work for Sal Talarico. Pulling double duty has also saved Oberlin taxpayers about $82,000.

The number is based on the roughly $129,000 annual salary and benefits of former city manager Eric Norenberg, who departed last December. It also factors in the extra $36,000 Talarico will be paid through the end of this month for taking on city manager responsibilities.

The savings will go into the city’s general fund and be part of the projected annual surplus, Talarico said Friday.

Talarico said city council members could vote as early as their Nov. 21 meeting on a city manager contract for Rob Hillard.

Hillard served as city manager from 2005 through July in in Allegan, Mich. He was offered a contract Oct. 27 by Oberlin’s council to fill the city’s top executive role. A start date for Hillard hasn’t been determined, assuming he agrees to contract terms.

Talarico, finance director since 2000, has done both jobs since January. City manager work included attending municipal meetings and public functions as well as daily correspondence and meetings with residents who stopped by city hall. Talarico said a lot of work had to be done after business hours because of public interaction.

The two biggest issues the office faced this year, said Talarico, were a dispute with Oberlin College over parking, which nearly delayed the May opening of the Hotel at Oberlin; and whether to rebate or reinvest about $2.2 million in profits from sales of pollution offsets, known as Renewable Energy Credits.

Finance work included reviewing city department budgets as part of developing Oberlin’s annual budget. Talarico said he expects to remain busy in the next couple of months bringing Hillard up to speed.

“I enjoy public service (but) dealing with the volume of work is the challenging part,” he said. “There just so much to do.”

Talarico credited Oberlin’s department heads and other city employees for their help. “There were a lot of other folks who rose to the challenge and did what we had to do to keep things moving,” he said.

Talarico had sought to become full-time city manager but was passed over in a long and sometimes contentious job search. However, councilwoman Sharon Soucy said council is grateful to Talarico — who received a standard three percent annual raise from council for his work as finance director — for doing both jobs.

“It was an awesome service to the community,” she said. “Not many people would be willing to step into that role and put in the hours he put in.”

Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.


By Evan Goodenow