Monday, June 03, 2002

Hamilton has new manager

In quick decision, council hires Samoviski

By Jennifer Edwards and Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — In an abrupt move, City Council on Friday hired Mike Samoviski as city manager.

        Mr. Samoviski, former executive director of the Butler County Traffic Improvement District, will replace Steve Sorrell, whose retirement was announced a week ago and took effect Friday.

        Council members voted 5-2 to make the hire. Mayor Don Ryan and Councilwoman Kathy Becker voted no. They said they expected a more thorough search to be conducted.

        “Council had given the impression we were going to begin a search,” Mr. Ryan said Sunday. “I am as surprised as you.”

        Council had announced the meeting Friday to name a temporary replacement for Mr. Sorrell. At that session, members reversed a recently passed resolution that restricted how long the assistant city manager could run Hamilton (seven days) to allow that official to run the city during the search. But then Mr. Noonan made the sudden motion to hire Mr. Samoviski, who retired as Hamilton public words director in January 2001, and then became executive director of TID.

        Council's quick decision to hire him stunned and pleased Mr. Samoviski.

        “I was somewhat overwhelmed by the quickness of it and flattered that so many menbers of city council felt I had the qualifications they were looking for,” he said. “It's quite an honor.”

        He said a couple of council members asked him in the middle of last week whether he would be interested in the job. He told them Thursday he was interested.

        Mr. Samoviski, 58, has lived in Hamilton for 28 years and worked for the city for 27 years.

        Councilman Ed Shelton said several people, including most council members, had asked Mr. Samoviski to take the job or were supportive of him replacing Mr. Sorrell, so the search would have been a waste of money.

        “With our budget the way it is, I don't think we ought to be spending $40,000 or $45,000 for a national search when Hamilton, Ohio, is a breeding ground for great city managers,” Mr. Shelton said. “We wanted to search inside, mostly because we have had experiences with outside city managers before and none of them have ever worked out very well.

        “Mike Samoviski is one of the finest people I have ever known and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position,” he continued. “Being the TID director, he brings with him a very friendly atmosphere of all the local governments. That is what we need to make our economic development go. ”

        Mr. Samoviski will start his new job July 1.

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