MILL CREEK — The Mill Creek City Council has zeroed in on a candidate to run City Hall, which endured a messy break up with its top administrator last year.
Michael Ciaravino worked as city manager of Newburgh, New York, before stepping down at the end of 2018.
“I think there are some good candidates — lots of good candidates and lots of good choices, so it wasn’t an easy decision for any of us to figure out who our favorite was,” Councilman Mike Todd said at this week’s meeting. “… I think it will come down to who is the best fit for the city and who can get up and going quickly and help us back on a forward, positive trajectory for the city.”
Todd’s colleagues said they had a clear choice: Ciaravino. They voted unanimously to have city attorney Scott Missall negotiate an employment agreement. A vote on the contract is expected at the council’s meeting Tuesday evening.
Ciaravino would take over for Bob Stowe, who has been working since June as interim city manager. A consultant, Stowe was brought in to run daily operations in Mill Creek during internal investigations of former city manager Rebecca Polizzotto. The city and Polizzotto parted ways in October after complaints over her treatment of staff and her questionable spending on city credit cards.
The City Council later hired an executive head-hunting firm out of California to find a permanent replacement. Advertisements listed a yearly salary of $160,000 to $195,000. The city received the names of recommended candidates in March.
Four finalists interviewed with the council later that month. Other contenders included past or current city managers from Aspen, Colorado; Lincoln Park, Michigan; and Kaysville, Utah.
Ciaravino worked as city manager of Newburgh from 2014 to 2018. The city lies along the Hudson River, about 60 miles north of New York City, and has a population of about 30,000. That’s a little larger than Mill Creek, where just over 20,000 people live.
Late last year, an editorial in the local Times Herald-Record cheered Ciaravino’s work in Newburgh and said he was leaving on his own terms, unlike some of his predecessors in that city.
Before arriving in New York, Ciaravino had worked in Maple Heights, Ohio, near Cleveland. He has a law degree from Case Western Reserve University and has practiced local-government law, according to a Mill Creek news release.
The City Council also extended Stowe’s contract as interim city manager through April 24, to provide time for the handoff.