Sunday, August 12, 2001

No. 2 man could get top job in Lebanon

Council members consider removing city manager

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A city employee of just three months will likely be thrust into City Manager James Patrick's seat if Mr. Patrick is removed — temporarily or permanently — in the coming weeks.

        City Council will vote on legislation Tuesday to fire Mr. Patrick and make Service Director George “Pat” Clements the acting city manager. The effort, which so far has firm support from only two of seven Council members, was prompted by Mr. Patrick's recent indictment on four felony charges.

        Mr. Clements doesn't welcome the prospect of being in the spotlight.

        “I pride myself on being a quiet professional, working behind the scenes, playing a supporting role,” he said.

        Mr. Patrick hired Mr. Clements in May for the new No. 2 job of service director. The idea was to take some of the load off of Mr. Patrick.

        The service director supervises the electric, telecommunications, engineering, and water and sewer departments. He is acting city manager when Mr. Patrick is out of town.

        “He's certainly a great additive of the formula of running the place,” Councilman Mark Flick said.

        “We have (the personnel) to keep things running at this point,” Mr. Flick said.

        Projects Mr. Clements has taken a leadership role on include the search for new water sources and negotiations for new phone service.

        Councilwoman Amy Brewer, who sponsored the legislation to fire Mr. Patrick and temporarily elevate Mr. Clements, said city employees “really like him, think he does an excellent job.”

        Lebanon is his first civil job, having retired as a lieutenant colonel this spring after 21 years in the Army.

        Mr. Clements' areas of expertise were the infantry and budgets, and he earned a master's in public administration from Central Michigan University in 1999.

        Mr. Clements said he wasaware of Lebanon's “dynamic” political climate when he agreed to work here.

        Still, he readily admits what he doesn't know: “I wasn't brought in to be an expert in utilities, and I'm not. My job is to move information around.”

        “... Am I always comfortable with the process? No,” he said. “It's an aggressive process.”


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