Clear Up Issues In Steubenville

At last count, 34 people had applied for the job of Steubenville city manager. The winning candidate will have his or her hands full coping with challenges facing the community. Hopefully, some time will be left over to capitalize on opportunities – and there are some.

But as matters stand, those seeking the position may have a tough time in the interview process. In such situations, it helps to know what municipal officials expect of a city manager. There may be some question about that.

During a meeting Tuesday, City Council members agreed to gather again Monday night to discuss the search for a city manager. Councilman David Lalich said the meeting, which will be closed to the public, will be “to get some clarification on issues. We differ on a few things and need to discuss those issues.”

Some differences of opinion are to be expected among members of any public board such as a city council. That is healthy and good for their constituents. If anything, a council or board always in full agreement should be viewed suspiciously.

But in Steubenville, the previous city manager’s departure raised questions about basic disagreements concerning policy.

After former City Manager Cathy Davison resigned in mid-May, she said that, “After months of trying to move the city forward, it has become apparent that City Council and I do not have the same vision for the city of Steubenville.”

Exactly how Davison and other city officials differed has not been revealed. Clearly, however, more than a few instances of second-guessing about day-to-day operations was involved.

Council members and Mayor Domenick Mucci, who is serving as acting city manager, are right to be attempting to find common ground on which discussions with potential replacements for Davison can be held. If there are serious, basic questions of governance involved, the public should be given an idea of what they are.

Plans are to have a new city manager in place by Sept. 14. That person needs to know in advance precisely what will be expected by council members. Failure to make that clear – and with at least some uniformity among council members – would be a disservice to the new manager and to the people of Steubenville.