Councilman 'baffled' at delay in posting job opening

Cary Ashby • May 5, 2019 at 10:00 PM

Norwalk Councilman Matt Doughty passionately shared his concern about the lack of progress in finding a replacement for public works director Josh Snyder.

“This is construction season; this is hugely important,” Doughty said during the work session Tuesday.

The lack of progress is especially bothersome, he said, because Snyder gave Norwalk a month’s notice that he was resigning. Doughty also said Snyder provided three to four names of candidates who could serve as the public works director on an interim basis until the city hires someone for the full-time position.

Snyder will begin work May 16 as the Sandusky assistant city engineer. His last day in Norwalk will be May 15.

Norwalk Law Director Stuart O’Hara said he has been requested to write a memorandum of understanding with someone who will serve as the interim public works director. While not mentioning that person, O’Hara said the candidate could return to his “old job” once a full-time public works director is hired.

The city posted the position Tuesday.

Doughty said he was “baffled” why it took two weeks to advertise the job opening.

“We’ve got to stay on top of this top of thing,” added Doughty, a Democrat who was appointed to council last summer to represent the Fourth Ward, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Chris Castle.

Mayor Rob Duncan, a Republican, did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, so he could not address Doughty’s concerns at that time.

Duncan discussed the matter with the Reflector on Friday.

“First of all, he (Doughty) is not part of the administration; he’s on council. He never asked me a question. If he has a problem, he can come talk to me.”

Duncan said he posted the job opening last week with a state organization of engineers.

“I actually have made quite a few contacts around the state,” Duncan said.

Finding a good replacement for Snyder might pose a problem, the mayor said.

“We have to take a good look at Josh’s position,” Duncan said. “He’s really doing the job of two people and the salary isn’t sufficient. We have to look and see what we want to do with his job.”

In Sandusky, Snyder will serve under public works director Aaron Klein, who was hired in June 2013. Snyder was the traffic engineer for 10 years previously.

A Norwalk city leadership team member since 2008, Snyder was the first public works director in the Maple City. He was hired during Sue Lesch’s administration.

“I have had the pleasure of working with some of the finest contractors, consultants, employees and staff here in Norwalk amongst the three cities I have ever worked. I was able to add breadth and depth to my fields of knowledge here during my time at Norwalk,” he said.

“It is with the greatest respect and appreciation I owe to the residents, mayors and council members for having me serve 11 years in the capacity of public works director. Know that I took every project and problem earnestly and gave my best effort and advice based on life experiences and sound engineering principles.”

The public works director is a full-time, unclassified, exempt position that serves at the pleasure of the mayor, according to city hall records.

Duncan, in a prepared statement about Snyder’s resignation, said he “will strive to find … a person to add to our team that will build on Josh’s success and continue to strengthen and enhance our wonderful community.”

Duncan is being challenged by Republican Councilman Dave Wallace in Tuesday’s mayoral primary. The winner will face retired police chief Dave Light, a Democrat, in the November general election.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Managing Editor Joe Centers contributed to this story.

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