Northwood City Administrator Dennis Recker unexpectedly stepped down from his position on Monday after just 19 months on the job.
Mayor Mark Stoner confirmed Monday evening that Recker left for good earlier in the day, but had characterized his departure as a retirement rather than a resignation.
Recker, who was elected to Whitehouse Village Council last November, did not give Stoner advanced notice that Monday would be his last day on the job, said Stoner.
Recker, according to anonymous sources, had a falling out with council clerk Lynn Goertz several days ago, resulting in Goertz being put on administrative leave. Goertz, who has been with the city for over 25 years, had a hearing with Stoner on Monday, the same day Recker stepped down, according to Stoner.
Stoner would not discuss when or whether Goertz would be returning to her position, saying he wasn’t going to comment on personnel matters.
“That’s never been my policy,” he said.
Stoner also would not say whether Recker’s departure had anything to do with Goertz being put on administrative leave.
“Dennis has done a real good job for me but he has run into some opposition, too,” said Stoner without elaborating.
Stoner said the city will temporarily fill Recker’s position with an acting administrator while the city searches for a new administrator.
“I will make a recommendation, and council will have to concur,” he said.
“We’re going to advertise in the newspapers right away for an administrator,” he added.
When asked if he prefers a local candidate for the job, Stoner said it was more important to find the most qualified.
“When it comes to this, I’m going to put it out there and see what’s available,” he said.
Recker became administrator in the fall of 2010, replacing long time Administrator Pat Bacon, who retired.
Recker had been the administrator of the Village of Whitehouse, which has a population of 4,300 compared to Northwood’s 5,500, before coming to Northwood.
City Council had unanimously approved Recker, upon Stoner’s recommendation, at a special council meeting on Oct. 7, 2010.
Prior to being Whitehouse administrator, Recker was the safety service director for the city of Delphos, Ohio, which has a population of 7,000.
Recker had beat out three other finalists which were picked among 40 resumes that the city had received for the administrator position in Northwood. The other finalists were Craig Kohring, chief financial officer from MDA Engineering, Inc., Maumee, chairman of the Northwood Planning Commission and an ex-city councilman; Robert Fowler, village administrator of Carrollton, Ohio; and Daniel G. Evers, a township administrator from Mason, Ohio.
Stoner said he will review the resumes the city received in 2010 as part of the administrator search.
Recker’s annual salary when he was hired was $77,288, the same as Bacon’s.