Councilwoman frustrated over lack of hire

To the editor:

I could not agree more with those chastising members of Oberlin’s city council for failing to select a city manager.

Our inability to act was both frustrating and irresponsible.

I accept the resulting criticism, and I am disappointed that my voice and those of the majority were not sufficient to convince at least one of the minority to support acting city manager Sal Talarico. (A “supermajority” of five is necessary to hire a city manager, dictated by Oberlin’s charter.)

If neither of these candidates was qualified to be Oberlin’s city manager, they should not have been invited back as finalists from the original group of 43 applicants. Furthermore, if Mr. Talarico is not good enough to serve as Oberlin’s city manager, how is it that he has been entrusted with the role of interim?

Mr. Talarico has the support of a majority of council. He has strong support throughout the community. He has the highest recommendations from his administrative peers and past and present city council members and presidents. He enjoys the support of department heads. His professionalism and integrity are unquestioned, even by those who failed to accept him as city manager.

We are tasked with a job as council members. That job is to select a city manager who can oversee city services and keep the city safe. We create the vision and policy for the manager to follow. We have failed in our responsibility, and we have rejected an outstanding candidate who has proven that he can serve Oberlin with professionalism, knowledge, and compassion.

I doubt that the “perfect” candidate is out there. In the meantime, division continues, morale tumbles and the city is without leadership.

Sharon Fairchild Soucy

Oberlin City Council Member at Large