‘Don’t leave us’: Oberlin council to offer Talarico a contract

By Evan Goodenow - egoodenow@civitasmedia.com




Sal Talarico was passed over for Oberlin’s city manager job, but council members want him to stay on as finance director.

They agreed Monday to try to sign Talarico to a contract this week.

After Rob Hillard was chosen as city manager Oct. 27, Talarico sought the Brunswick city manager job and was one of three finalists. Brunswick on Friday named Carl DeForest, their police chief and interim city manager as city manager.

City manager is the only Oberlin municipal job that comes with a contract. The finance director position is covered by an ordinance. The change would be vote of confidence in Talarico who said after the meeting that he was pleased by the move. “As long as I have the support of council, I don’t expect to be looking elsewhere,” he said.

Talarico served as finance director and interim city manager from January until Monday when Hillard started. The double duty saved taxpayers at least $82,000.

Council members said they were grateful for the extra work for which Talarico, who earns $97,000 annually, was paid an additional $36,000. He replaced Eric Norenberg who took the city manager job in Milford, Del., in December of last year.

Talarico had the support of four of the seven council members in August — not quite the five-vote super-majority needed for appointment. Council then re-opened the job search.

He was hired as finance director in 2000 and council members said they don’t want to lose the institutional memory he has. They also want him to help guide Hillard, who was city manager in Allegan, Mich., from 2005 until July.

While Talarico didn’t get the Brunswick job, councilwoman Sharon Soucy said after the meeting that council is aware that he could apply elsewhere. “If Sal wasn’t pleased with the situation, we might lose him to somebody else,” she said.

If Talarico were to leave soon, the timing would be bad for Oberlin. The city would be looking for a new finance director and Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System electric director — Steve Dupee quit that job last month and began as Wellington village manager this week — while Hillard gets up to speed.

Council president Ron Rimbert said after the meeting that he will negotiate with Talarico and the contract offer will probably include a raise. Council would then vote on the contract in a special meeting, possibly this week.

Rimbert said it’s important that Talarico have the security a contract provides.

“When you have a council where every two years there’s an election, there’s an issue of stability,” Rimbert said. “Mr. Talarico has been an exceptional employee for 16 years. Our finances are in great shape and we’d like to reward him. And we’d also like to stay ahead of someone taking him away from us.”

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



By Evan Goodenow