City manager finalists talk to commissioners

SANDUSKY And then there were two. Matthew Kline and Sy Murray were interviewed by all seven Sa
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

And then there were two.  Matthew Kline and Sy Murray were interviewed by all seven Sandusky City Commissioners on Thursday for the position of Sandusky City Manager.

Murray was one of the original six candidates chosen for a first-round interview by the city manager search committee. Kline was added to the interview list after several of the initial six withdrew their applications.

Kline said he would like to be Sandusky's next city manager because he would like to be a part of Sandusky's progress and growth.

"I find it to be an exciting challenge," Kline said minutes before his interview.

If he is chosen as the next city manager, Kline said he would work to evaluate the town and its needs as quickly as possible, along with getting to know the commission.

"And then the ideas will start," he said.

"I think this city has so much potential," Murray said before his interview Thursday.

Murray said two things in particular about the city impressed him. The city itself is clean, he said, and the city has seen growth in both property tax and income tax revenue.

Murray, born and raised in Miami, Fla., has been city manager of both San Diego and Cincinnati.

He also was chief administrative officer of Ann Arbor, Mich., from 1973-79. Murray has been director of the Public Management Program and professor for the Levin College of Urban Affairs, both at Cleveland State University, since 1990. He has extensive experience in international consulting, advising foreign governments on municipal operations from Zimbabwe to the Philippines.

Kline, originally from Bolivar, Ohio, has 20 years of political and professional municipal government experience. He has been the management assistant, a council member and zoning board member for the city of Mason since 1999. He has also been director of Public Service/Safety for Dover, Ohio; village administrator of Canal Fulton, Ohio; and mayor of Bolivar, Ohio. He earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Akron.

Murray's first interview with the search committee and other city staff members was a topic of debate at the most recent City Commission meeting.

Commissioner Brian Crandall expressed concern about statements Murray allegedly made on the day of his initial interview.

"He was asked to interview for the position by several Sandusky City Commissioners and agreed to do so. Which is what he told many of the city staff members with whom he met on Tuesday. Sy made it clear to each that the interview program was a formality and that he would be the next Sandusky City Manager. Both Sandusky City Schools Board of Education and Erie County Commissioner representatives stated that they felt that Sy 'could do the job.' However, concern was expressed about Sy's ability to work with the City Commission and his 'drop dead time limit of four years,'" according to interview summaries from Circuit Rider Management Group.

"With all due respect, I would call that confidence rather than arrogance," Commissioner Brett Fuqua said of the statements in Murray's interview summary.

Don Miears has been serving as interim city manager since former city manager Mike Will resigned in May.

Miears and city law director Don Icsman also took part in the interviews Thursday.