A new year meant a new system of government for the city of Hilliard

Michelle Crandall was sworn in as Hilliard’s first-ever city manager. 

   In 2018, Hilliard residents voted to approve Issue 33 which means they agreed to transition the City from a “Mayor-City Council” form of government to a “City Council-City Manager” form of government.

   Councilman Les Carrier helped lead the support of this new government. After working to change zoning policies he saw that Hilliard needed a new system of government.  

    “As I worked with other community leaders in passing Issue 9, it became clear the structure Hilliard had in place as a form of governance was, in fact, an antiquated system, Carrier said. “ I looked to other regional municipalities and saw they had the manager governance model. In fact, in speaking with Council members in Marysville who had just went through the transition from mayoral to manager model, it became crystal clear to me this change needed to happen.” 

   A city manager is a professionally trained municipal administrator who manages the day-to-day operations of a city government. They will help advise city council on matters of legislation, policy and finances. 

   After Issue 33 was passed, the work began to hire Hilliard’s first city manager. Even though Hilliard changed to a city manager form of government, there will still be a “Mayor”. It will be just as a ceremonial title that the city council president will hold. 

   As Ceremonial Mayor, Council President Andy Teater says he will attend important openings and other functions while holding the important role of President. 

    “The ceremonial mayor represents the city at functions like ribbon cuttings and other events. The most important role I have is that as President of [the] Council.  I look forward to working very hard to make sure that all Council members receive all information and that we communicate with each other,” Teater stated. 

   To start the hiring process, the Council worked with Novak Consulting group to search for candidates for the position. 

   On October 1st, 2019 City Council approved the hiring of Michelle Crandall. Before coming to Hilliard, Michelle Crandall had worked for the city of Dublin since 1992. Her most recent position was as Assistant City Manager. She says having the experience in the city of Dublin has helped her get to where she is now. 

   “Dublin had given me so many opportunities to grow and learn to learn and develop my leadership skills and really put me in a  position where I could be a strong viable candidate to be a City Manager,” Crandall stated. “I think Hilliard is a point in their history now where there is going to be some great things coming down the road …. I saw this as an opportunity to be a part of how Hilliard moves forward.”

   Being in her first 3 weeks in the position she has been listening and learning a lot about Hilliard. 

   “It is a lot of listening to people, I want to take in as much information as I can and really learn. I want to understand the culture of the organization,” Crandall said. “ I want to learn and understand for those who are here and have been here for a while. I have started to reach out to key leaders in the community.”

   Moving forward into 2020 she looks to engage the community and ensure communication is strong with the City Council. 

   “Right off the bat, communication with the City Council having that working relationship so we are part of a team, and engagement with the community those who live here and work here. Really involving the community in decision making and input in decision making,” Crandall exclaimed. 

   This new form of government will take a little bit of adjusting. The Director of Communications David Ball says day to day operations won’t change as much but with the new system it will create more synergy. 

   “It hasn’t really changed how we do our job or what we do it has changed to a degree message we have put out. For the most part employees of the city and the residents aren’t going to see a change a difference how a city runs on a day to day basis it changes how we operate on the side of the business side of things it creates more of a collaborative leadership approach,” Ball states.

   Overall, this is the future of Hillard and there are many people excited about what is coming next. If you wish to learn more about the City Manager position and the process visit: https://hilliardohio.gov/city-manager/ 

Photo was taken from Twitter: @HilliardGov

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