City Council Appoints Interim City Manager


Courtesy of Sal Talarico

Sal Talarico will serve as the new interim city manager.

Jack Rockwell

As City Manager Eric Norenberg prepares to move to a new job in Milford, Delaware, City Council has decided to promote from within.

City Council met on Nov. 30 to pass an ordinance appointing Sal Talarico, the current director of finance for the city of Oberlin, as the new interim city manager. Talarico will remain finance director while assuming the responsibilities of city manager starting Jan. 1, until the City Council finds a permanent replacement.

The length of Talarico’s term as interim manager will depend on the length of the search process for a new permanent manager, which several Council members estimated could take anywhere from four to seven months. The search will be underway by the time the new City Council begins in January, and it will be conducted on a national level from a pool of city management professionals.

In the meantime, several City Council members agreed that Talarico is the man to step in.

“He’s been with the city for 16 years,” said Kristen Peterson, City Council member. “He’s been recognized by the state several times for outstanding work in terms of all the detail related to financial matters, and he’s well-versed in the law.”

City Council President Scott Broadwell described it as a relatively easy decision.

“There were some other candidates for the job, but when we met in the executive session it became apparent that we thought that he was the person we wanted,” Broadwell said. “He knows the way things work around the community, and his office is run incredibly well.”

For many Council members, Talarico’s prior experience and knowledge regarding Oberlin’s city government were major pluses.

“He’s part of the administrative team, he’s well familiar with the operations of the city and we all know and trust him,” added Bryan Burgess, Council member.

Talarico’s new responsibilities will include managing all city departments and overseeing ongoing projects. Some of these include renewing the property tax code, work related to the College’s Lewis Gateway Center project, disposition of revenue for green energy projects and hiring a new full-time city manager.

Talarico will continue in his post of finance director while serving as manager, but his new responsibilities will take precedence over those in the finance department. His colleagues at the finance office will help him manage the new workload.

While he was not part of the selection process, outgoing City Manager Eric Norenberg expressed belief that Talarico will transition well into the role of interim manager.

“Talarico already participates in my weekly staff meeting, so he’s aware of ongoing projects and issues,” Norenberg said. “He should be brought up to speed pretty easily.”

He added that Talarico has the qualities that he thinks are necessary to perform well in the position.

“I think that being a good listener and a good communicator are important for any city manager,” Norenberg said. “Sal does a great job of being able to picture both parties involved in a complex issue or discussion and making sure that everybody understands both sides of an issue that are being discussed.”

There is no possibility for a direct promotion of Talarico from interim manager and finance director to full-time manager, although as Burgess put it, “He’s welcome to apply just like anyone else.”

“As of now, I really can’t say,” Talarico said in regards to applying for the position full-time. “I only just realized I would become interim manager recently.”