Saturday, January 12, 2002

Profiles of top candidates for city manager

        Robert Bobb has been the city manager of Oakland, Calif. since 1997.

        One Bay Area newspaper dubbed him “The Enforcer.” With Jerry Brown as the visionary mayor, Mr. Bobb is the detail-oriented guy who closes the deal and keeps City Hall in check.

        Over the last 27 years, he has also been the city manager of Santa Ana, Calif., Kalamazoo, Mich., and Richmond, Va. — giving him the longest tenure of any African-American city manager.

        Mr. Bobb describes himself as a “champion of civil rights.” He also has a reputation as being tough on crime. (Figures he would be. On his first day in Oakland, thieves broke into his car — in front of City Hall.)

        There's some question whether Mr. Bobb would want the Cincinnati job, however. Some who know him say he's developed a remarkable chemistry with Oakland's mayor — the former governor of California — and wouldn't likely leave. He's also under contract until November 2002.

        Valerie Lemmie, 49, has been the city manager of Dayton, Ohio, since 1996. Before that, she held a number of government jobs in the Washington, D.C., area, and was an adjunct professor at Howard University.

        Her resume was so impressive that Birmingham, England — the largest municipal government in the United Kingdom, with 50,000 city employees — offered her the equivalent of $231,000 to become its chief executive this month.

        Indeed, Birmingham officials announced that she had accepted the job. However, talks broke down days later.

        Tim Riordan, 55, is the city's finance director and has been interim city manager since Mr. Shirey left Dec. 1.

        Mr. Riordan spent most of his career in Dayton, where he ran the city's finances, ran the airport and even ran the city as interim city manager for 10 months in 1994.

        He has said emphatically that he's not interested in the city manager's job permanently, but that hasn't stopped Mr. Luken from courting him.

        “He is very much on my mind,” Mr. Luken said. “He hasn't wasted any time as interim city manager, which just shows you that his attitude is, "Let's get it done.'”


City manager list down to three
- Profiles of top candidates for city manager
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