Wobser named city manager

Get Sunday's Register for one-on-one interview with Eric Wobser ... which Wobsers?
Andy Ouriel
May 13, 2014
Eric Wobser is coming back home. Sandusky city commissioners voted 7-0 Monday night to hire the Ohio City Inc. executive director as the new city manager.

Wobser could start as soon as next month. The hiring announcement came after commissioners interviewed all five finalists during a five-hour private session Monday afternoon. Each candidate interviewed for about an hour in City Hall.

“I believe in myself, and I believe in this city,” Wobser said. “This city has an amazing collection of assets: the historicarchitecture, the lake, how walkable it is, the (proximity) to metropolitan areas, the schools”

Commissioners selected Wobser, a 1997 Edison High School graduate who grew up in Sandusky and Perkins Township, based on his extensive and impressive resume.

Who is Eric Wobser?
•RESIDES IN: Cleveland
•CURRENT JOB: Ohio City Inc. executive director since 2009. He oversees a nonprofit agency improving the city’s economic development and neighborhood revitalization efforts.
•EDUCATION: bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio University (2002); juris doctor from University of Michigan Law School (2005). 
•EXPERIENCE: AmeriCorps member in Cleveland (2001 to 2002); University of Michigan office of the general counsel law clerk (2003 to 2004); special projects manager for mayor of Cleveland (2006 to 2009).

Since 2009, Wobser spearheaded Ohio City Inc., a nonprofit organization overseeing community and economic development along with neighborhood revitalization in Ohio City, just outside Cleveland.

In this role for Ohio City, Wobser:

•Leveraged about $200 million in public and private investment over a four-year period.

•Attracted more than 70 local businesses to the area.

•Reduced the commercial vacancy rate from more than 30 percent in 2010 to less than 5 percent in 2013.

•Maintained historic neighborhood housing stock through single-family rehabilitation, foreclosure prevention and community outreach.

Leaning on his track record, Wobser made logical pitches to commissioners about how he could achieve similar successes for Sandusky.

“Eric demonstrated an incredible amount of energy and knowledge of how cities work, and in particular, how to lead a city with similar demographics to our city,” Sandusky ex officio mayor Dennis Murray Jr. said. “He is a great communicator, and he has an ability of bringing people together to explain a vision. All seven (commissioners) are going to get behind him, and what you saw (Monday) was a unanimous decision that Eric is the right person to lead this effort”

Murray said the three priorities for Wobser revolve around creating more revenue opportunities in a cash-strapped budget, mapping out realistic long-term economic development ideas and improving area neighborhoods — all tasks Wobser has accomplished.

“The biggest challenge in Sandusky is changing perception,” Wobser said. “Its getting people to believe in the city and it’s potential. This city is important not only to people living in Sandusky but to the entire region. Sandusky is so special because it’s a national tourist destination. Very few cities have beautiful architecture, powerful cultural institutions and all the other assets around here”

Among the finalists who did not land the job: Sandusky chief planner Rebecca Corrigan. In a previous Register story, Corrigan said she’d remain chief planner if she didn’t secure the city manager’s spot.

An opening for the position occurred after city commissioners voted to fire Nicole Ard in early March for failing to perform her job duties. Commissioners hired Ard in fall 2011 with the approval from a consulting firm paid more than $20,000 in city funds.

Ard was paid about $129,000 a year.

Commissioners opted against using a firm and decided to perform this search process themselves.

It’s not known how much Wobser could receive, since commissioners plan to create an incentive-laden contract, in which he could obtain more money based on accomplishing certain tasks.

Comments

Good 2 B Me

That was FAST!

Factitious

Looks like City Commissions is getting things done.

According to 2010 and 2011 990 filings, Ohio City Inc. paid Wobser $82,000 and $87,500, respectively.

Sandusky will have a capable team.

From the Grave

One thing that we DO have here in Sandusky is a lot of public access to the waterfront. Let's not lose that in the process of trying to make this a "happening" place.

The Bizness

Awesome, congrats and welcome back. Ohio City is a happening place and I hope he brings that energy here.

mrk

Smart great hard working guy. Sandusky is very lucky to get someone like this.

DGMutley

Congratulations Eric Wobser! It looks like we are going to have a winning team in Sandusky! Best of Luck!

Comrade Boose

Eric congrats! Stop in and check us out at www.facebook.com/RebuildSandusky

lifetimeresident

Congrates. Who's taking the bets for this one. 3-1 he quits after the first year. 5-2 he gets fired. 7-1 Ms. Ard has a lawsuit and gets her job back. 20-1 Julie post on this. Sorry that is now 25-1.

Nor'easter

Eric, congratulations. Now for the tough part. We need desperately to Separate Storm and Sanitary Sewers. (Under federal EPA mandated court order with fines unpaid) Replace ancient water lines that are failing all over the city. Rebuild and repave nearly every street in the city and repair and repave Shoreline Park and Jackson St Pier. Fund repairs by admissions tax of 8% to repay the citizens for their investment in Cedar Point corridor at the cost of 50 years of deferred city maintenance. Remove the 300 plus dead trees that belong to the city and endanger residents and their property. Change the city income tax to stop exempting the foreign workers and Bike week vendors that come take the money and run. When this is accomplished you will have a vibrant city again. GOOD LUCK and MUCH SUCCESS!! Welcome Home!

God Of Thunder

LOL on the JulieR remark... I'm in because that's a given.. Somehow this has something to do with the crooked lawyers and judges...

But seriously, they got this done, that fast, under their own power. Without hiring some firm and paying them 20-50 grand??? Congratulations commissioners. Hopefully he will live up to expectations. Good luck Eric. You will definitely need it and I wish you the best.

JohnDorian12

LOL!!!! ^^^^^^^

DEATHnTAXES

Pre arranged prior to Ard firing.

Julie R.

I tuned in to the Sandusky commissioners meeting last night but not for very long. The only part I saw was when Andy asked about the seating arrangements of the commissioners and I thought that was hilarious!

JohnDorian12

And Erie county prosecutors are corrupt and Nicole Ard was railroaded by a crooked system set up to hold Jukie R down....conspiracy, conspiracy, conspiracy!!!!!

Steve P

Like

Julie R.

Your Erie County prosecutors ARE corrupt. No conspiracy there. Should have seen how fast they all went running to hide when I found out what they allowed their Huron attorney/judge friends & that snake Lorain County attorney to do to my elderly mother's property.

fedup

Sorry, Mrs. Ard was a reallly nice person but she just flat out wasn't getting the job done. I this guy can do half of what they think he can. I don't understand why we have to pay a city manager anyway. Go back to a mayor. At least this guy is a Sandusky native and hopefully is truely concerned about making it better.

Darkhorse

Very young and inexperienced, an attorney turned city manager. Comes from a town of 9,000 people compared to our 25,000. We will see how long this one lasts. Out of all the applications and we can't get a career minded city manager, instead. we get an attorney. Disappointed in the applicants. They really didn't look that great.

Factitious

Sandusky will have a capable team and there is good reason for optimism.

If you're looking forward to the smug "I told you so" satisfaction of Sandusky's failure, I hope you're allowing for the possibility of disappointment.

Licorice Schtick

You don't look that great yourself.

bmgasser

A fraction of the population yes, but 10 times the economic activity. From a CSU urban affairs student, Mr. Wobser is not just an attorney. He's both very knowledgable and passionate about how cities work. He knows what he's doing, the people of Sandusky should be ecstatic!

Babo

Mr. Wobser may be an attorney but with his credentials (grad of a top tier law school and experience at one of the largest firms in the world) he could have made three times what he was paid at Ohio City Inc. Thus, economic revitalization is clearly a passion for him.

His legal knowledge alone will save the city a bundle. He is far more skilled than Icsman who should retire now before Mr. Wobser starts reviewing matters.

From the Grave

Let's party, Eric! More bars, more tattoo shops, and let's get some casinos!!! Sandusky needs to be "happening"!

The Bizness

Have you been to Ohio City lately? It is a vibrant community with much more than just restaurants.

From the Grave

Like what? I hear it's "happening" and "more than just restaurants." But I'd like some examples.

From the Grave

BTW, saying that it has 9000 resident is misleading given it's proximity to Cleveland.

bmgasser

Proximity to Cleveland? It is Cleveland...

From the Grave

no sh it

bmgasser

Examples: microbreweries, glass bubble project, joy machines bike shop, book stores, boutiques, Brite winter music festival, Ohio City farm, art galleries, etc.

Steve P

Seems like this was lined upped in advance, his success will depend on having the Register on speed dial.

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