Robinson picked for city administrator post
WORTHINGTON -- The wait is now over. On Saturday afternoon, following two days of interviews, the Worthington City Council chose Worthington resident Steve Robinson to lead the city as its next city administrator. Robinson is currently the direct...
WORTHINGTON - The wait is now over.
On Saturday afternoon, following two days of interviews, the Worthington City Council chose Worthington resident Steve Robinson to lead the city as its next city administrator. Robinson is currently the director of public works.
Council members met with representatives from the community group and the city’s department heads, who also met with each candidate, when the last interview was finished Saturday. The two focus groups were asked to note the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as three adjectives to describe the person.
Robinson’s “can do” attitude was noted as a major strength, along with his enthusiasm and precision. Councilman Rod Sankey said Robinson has a “big sense of ownership” when taking on a task. It was also acknowledged that Robinson doesn’t seek the spotlight, but would also not fold under the pressure of it.
“I think he’s going to take a lot of pride in the position,” Sankey said.
“He’s going to bring all sides to the table on an issue,” Mayor Mike Kuhle added.
The council’s choice was not an easy one, as all five candidates made a good impression on the group. The council narrowed down the choices to three: Robinson, Greg Boe and Daniel Ortiz.
Once the field was narrowed, the council began ranking the candidates in the areas of core city function, management, face of community in terms of leadership, and diversity and development.
As grades were handed out, it became evident Boe was third in line for the position.
Ortiz, originally the third choice, proved to be a strong contender for the job. Ortiz’s background in diverse communities was a feather in his cap. Several council members noted that Worthington’s diverse community is not reflected in its government.
However, in spite of his ability to relate to the Hispanic segment of the population, his lack of experience proved to be his downfall. One concern rose due to the city he currently works for being significantly smaller than Worthington. It was also pointed out that while he previously had worked in Casa Grande, Ariz., it was in more of a supporting role than a leader.
Kuhle remarked that if Ortiz was a bit more “seasoned,” he could have taken the job.
On the other hand, Robinson has no previous city administration experience. Robinson’s managerial and leadership experience comes from the private sector.
This was viewed as both a positive and negative for Robinson. While he lacked public sector experience, he did have a different perspective to offer being more ingrained in the private sector. It was also noted that in Robinson’s previous employment with SEH, he worked with several governmental entities and was familiar with their workings as a result.
After further discussion, Diane Graber called for the vote on Robinson. The council voted unanimously to offer him the position. Following the vote, the council began discussing Robinson’s employment agreement.
Before the employment offer is finalized, Robinson will have to submit to a more extensive background check than the one obtained for his current employment. He will also maintain his current pension and insurance plans offered through the city, as well as paid time off and holidays.
In terms of salary, Robinson’s salary will increase to $90,200 from his current salary of $82,000. His salary will be reconsidered following a six-month review. He will also receive a car allowance and be offered training opportunities for city administrators.