Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Hamilton council to discuss city manager's future

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — After learning that City Manager Steve Sorrell is again a finalist for an out-of-state job, Councilman Richard Holzberger is calling for a special executive session to discuss Mr. Sorrell's future.

        “I feel we have to stop the globe-trotting. It's not good for the community to wonder if he's going to stay or not,” Mr. Holzberger said Tuesday, after the city of Rock Hill, S.C., listed Mr. Sorrell among four finalists for a post there. “I think he's been good for the city, overall.”

        Mr. Sorrell, 52, has been city manager in Hamilton, with 61,000 residents the Tristate's second-largest city behind Cincinnati, since April 1999. He had been assistant city manager for seven years before that.

        He declined to comment Tuesday except to say, “Council was informed that I was seeking other employment.”

        Councilman Ed Shelton said, “I know some of the people may be a little angry about it,” but said he couldn't blame Mr. Sorrell for following through with job interviews he had previously set.

        Still, like Mr. Holzberger, Mr. Shelton said he's eager to find out Mr. Sorrell's intentions. “If he has definitely decided he would like to leave us, then we would like him to tell us that,” Mr. Shelton said.

        Mr. Shelton said Mr. Sorrell becomes eligible to collect a pension in April, after 30 years of service to the city — and some might perceive that as “double-dipping.” He thinks that's a factor in Mr. Sorrell's job search.

        The matter is to be discussed in a closed session prior to today's council meeting.

        In late November, Mr. Sorrell learned that he had lost his bid to become city manager in St. Pete Beach, Fla., a city of about 10,000 people near St. Petersburg.

        Rock Hill has a population of about 50,000.

        Cathy Bell, mayor's assistant in Rock Hill, said the city manager's post has been vacant there since April.

        City Council, she said, is still interviewing the four finalists.

        A decision is expected within several weeks.


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