Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Norwood's safety chief starts work

Director comes from Navy job

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — Mark R. Pottebaum, the city's new safety director, spent his first day on the job Monday shaking hands and greeting people. “I can't wait to get started,” he said.

        The 24-year-old Deer Park native now oversees the police, fire and building departments in this city of about 23,000.

        Mr. Pottebaum has been a manager with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Alexandria, Va., as a civilian employee. The Navy veteran had a top security clearance from the Department of Defense.

        NCIS is the Navy's investigative and counterintelligence agency. Mr. Pottebaum was administrator of the computer investigative arm of the agency, which deals with everything from “hackers getting into the system to international issues related to naval security.” The job involved daily administration, not investigations, he said.

        Mr. Pottebaum said he thinks his youth is raising eyebrows in the safety departments, where some veterans are twice his age or older — though age was not discussed by the ranking officers in the fire and police departments interviewed Monday.

        In his past job, Mr. Pottebaum said: “I supervised people from 18 to twice my age. ...

        “I think I have the necessary supervisory experience and I want to learn,” he said.

        Service Director Gary Hub bard discovered Mr. Pottebaum, who applied for a supervisor's job in the Norwood Public Works Department that was advertised on the Internet. Mr Pottebaum was looking to return to the Cincinnati area to be closer to his family. His mother and stepfather, JoAnn and Dan Mills, live here, as does his grandmother, Janet Hornsby.

        “When I got his resume, I went to the mayor and said, "I think this guy may be who we need for safety director,'” Mr. Hubbard said. “I see his youth, coupled with his experience with the Navy as an asset, not a detriment,” Mr. Hubbard said.

        Mayor Joe Hochbein selected Mr. Pottebaum from 125 applicants to fill the $51,000-a-year post.

        “We did extensive background checks,” the mayor said. “What struck me is his incredible professionalism and maturity. ... I see this appointment as an investment in Norwood's future. He will be a leader in Norwood's next generation.”

        Mr. Pottebaum succeeds Paul Bazzano, who resigned March 1 to accept a higher-paying job in a specialized computer-software business in Chicago. He had been safety director since January 1998.

        “This city is turning around,” said Fire Lt. Bob Schleibaum. “Its image is changing and there is new growth here. I see his challenge as being able to deal with this new development and changing image of Norwood and helping our departments be prepared for those changes. Things are happening here very fast.”


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