Oregon received 51 applications for the position of administrator by the Dec. 15 deadline, most of which came from outside the area.
Mayor Mike Seferian said at a Dec. 21 council meeting that he is currently considering a couple of candidates for the post.
“I’ve been in touch with a couple of people very interested in the job,” Seferian said at the meeting. “If one of them confirm, we could come to some sort of agreement. I may know as soon as Dec. 28. I would be looking forward to letting council become aware of that. If that works out, we might be able to appoint someone early January.”
Seferian told The Press on Dec. 29 that he is now focusing on one individual who stands out from the rest, though he wouldn’t disclose his identity.
The candidate, he said, has extensive experience in government in northwest Ohio and is currently mulling over several job offers from other employers.
“He’s a very talented guy, very nice and sincere. He has a lot of traits I am looking for. He has a lot on the ball,” said Seferian. “He would work well for us.”
Seferian added that he is awaiting word from the individual on whether he will accept the position.
The job became available after former Administrator Ken Filipiak, who had worked for the city for 10 years, announced his resignation soon after Seferian defeated Mayor Marge Brown last November. Filipiak left to take a job as city manager of Mentor, Ohio.
Public Service Director Paul Roman has been acting administrator since Nov. 25, Filipiak’s last day on the job.
New fire chief
Seferian also said he hopes to fill the position of fire chief by February. Fire Chief Bill Wilkins submitted his resignation, effective next June, soon after Seferian won the mayor’s race. Seferian said he expects Wilkins to help with the transition of the new chief before he steps down.
Seferian said he will hire a new chief from the local rank and file.
“I’m going to hire someone from within the department. I’ll go through all the stations and try to get the person who is the most qualified and respected,” he said.
The fire department felt betrayed by Brown and Filipiak after they named Wilkins, who was from Defiance, the new fire chief in 2006. Oregon firefighters believed the administration had failed to live up to their promise to give them the chance to apply for the assistant fire chief and fire chief positions. The positions were supposed to be posted months in advance for department members to bid on. Seferian said that won’t happen this time.
“I’m going to try and pick the person out of the department we have. Of course, the more senior people will have serious consideration. I’m zeroing in on that right now,” said Seferian.
The new chief, he said, will preside over a volunteer fire department that will not transition into a full-time department anytime soon.
Seferian added that he does not expect to continue Brown’s goal of getting a full-time fire department in the city.
“The fire department, working together, can best advise how we can improve the alignment we already have, and get over some of the problems in day time calls. A lot of people work first shift and there were some shortcomings there,” said Seferian. “Instead of tearing the present system down, let’s see if we can fix what we got and make it better. Then if that doesn’t seem to be the answer, we can always look toward instituting some full-time fire people. But I’m really trying to stay away from that for two reasons: One, because of the cost factor. And two, when you start having full-time people, you eliminate some of the other positions. I think the pluses we have with improvements in the current setup is better than big changes. That will be something, first and foremost, we’ll be addressing as our new fire chief is announced.”