Monday, May 14, 2001

Deerfield hones list of leaders

Fourteen interviewed for administrator's job

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TWP. — Trustees are interviewing candidates this week to replace longtime administrator Hazel Dotson, who plans to retire this year.

        Township officials say the candidates - including three interviewed Friday - have strong credentials, with backgrounds in public administration and law enforcement, military and economic development.

        “When you narrow 192 people down to 14, chances are the people you're interviewing are going to be pretty good,” Trustees President Larry Backus said.

        The administrator is the chief operating officer of the township, overseeing all administrative functions, the road crew and the cemetery staff, and acts as a liaison between the township staff and the trustees. The position pays $60,000 to $70,000 a year.

        “The administrator of a township is a very unusual position in a township like ours because of the growth and the size of the township,” he said. Deerfield, with 23,000 residents, is among the fastest growing communities in Ohio. “It's not the same as a city manager, but it's not too much different.

        “We're looking for people who have both the educational and administrative skill level to be a very strong people person, a good administrator and very detailed-oriented,” Mr. Backus said.

        Township executive administrator Dan Theno and zoning and planning director Tim Hershner are the only two township employees who have applied for the position.

        Mr. Hershner said he applied after township employees and residents asked him to do so. Plus, he said, he planned to move his career in that direction, “but not this soon.” Mr. Theno is a former city mayor and state legislator in Wisconsin.

        Though most of the candidates are from Greater Cincinnati, some are from as far away as Florida and Illinois. Of the 14 candidates who have or will be interviewed, two are women and three are township residents.

        Mr. Backus said the trustees' goal is to wrap up the interviews by month's end, and hire someone in June. Mrs. Dotson has worked for the township for 17 years — about half as its top administrator. Though she hasn't set a date to step down, she plans to remain with the township in an undetermined capacity.


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