Former Cedar Point GM named interim city manager

CORRECTION: Interim Sandusky City Manager Don Miears lives in Huron. S
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010


CORRECTION: Interim Sandusky City Manager Don Miears lives in Huron.



Don Miears is officially the city's new interim manager.

All it took was a 4-3 vote by commissioners and a salary of $1.

Miears said his freedom is worth much more, but he wants to take on the task the commissioners have asked of him and he won't work for more than a dollar.

"This community has been very good to me and my family and I have no problem giving back," he said.

Miears, 71, has lived in Sandusky for 36 years and retired from Cedar Fair as its Executive Vice President and General Manager of Cedar Point in 2000.

He won't waste any time learning the ropes. He said Monday evening he planned to be in the city manager's office with Mike Will this morning.

Some commissioners wanted to appoint an interim city manager as soon as possible given the number of outstanding development projects Will has in the works.

Those commissioners just barely got their way Monday night.

Will suggested the city commission ask his replacement to start the week of Memorial Day. He would have then briefed Miears on current issues, taken vacation the first week of June and ended his employment with the city on June 8.

Will, 35, has worked for the city for five years, serving as city manager since June 2004. He is leaving the city for a job with Invacare, an Elyria home health care product manufacturer and distributor.

"I'm trying not to waste money or time, that's the only point I'm trying to get across," Will said, explaining his proposal.

But commissioners Dave Waddington, Craig Stahl, Dennis Murray Jr., and Ex-officio Mayor Dan Kaman felt the time was now to get Miears up to speed on projects like the Marina District, the Keller Building and the Paper District.

"If you were just a regular city manager, I wouldn't feel we need an interim tonight, but all that you have done makes a difference. We need someone to come in and learn from you," Kaman said.

Commissioners Dannie Edmon, Brett Fuqua and Brian Crandall didn't see as much of a need to make an immediate decision.

All seven commissioners wanted to make it clear to Will that naming an interim wasn't to slight him, but to ensure all of the progress and work Will has produced continues along smoothly.

"It's been a privilege as well as a pleasure to work with you," Murray said to Will. "You brought a world of vision to the city... we really needed that. It's important that we have a clear line of authority over the course of the next month. I think it's important to take some steps to line up who that will be."

Edmon said he voted no because he felt Assistant City Manager Gary Packan should fill the role.

Packan told commissioners he was willing to help the city in any capacity the commission requested of him.

Fuqua said he felt voting Monday was rushing into a decision.

Crandall voted against naming Miears interim city manager, but said after the vote it wasn't about Miears, it was all about timing.

"Even though we all vote for certain reasons, I'm working with you," Crandall said. "Even though the vote was 4-3, we're 7-0 now starting tomorrow."

For Miears, the key word in his appointment is interim -- he will not be applying for the city manager post on a full-time basis.

"Absolutely not," he said. "I made that clear at the very beginning."

Sandusky has many challenges, Miears said, but also many opportunities.

"I love to see it go and grow," he said.