Should the Village of Mariemont have a Village Administrator?
At the present time, Mariemont has two employees that are called ‘administrators’ but act mainly in a clerical role of answering questions with a job description of “assisting residents with questions or concerns regarding such items as road repairs, drainage problems, trash collection, recyclables, weather-related issues and zoning issues, and serving as an information source for numerous other parties such as real estate agents checking on zoning matters or contractors.”
In adjoining communities, Village Administrators take a much more active role in community affairs and services. For instance, in Fairfax the Village Administrator’s job description is defined as follows:
- Oversees the Maintenance and Recreation Departments.
- Works directly with existing and potential businesses in the Village on economic development issues. Business retention and expansion is the main focus of the Village Administrator’s office.
- Acts as the liaison for the Hamilton County Department of Economic Development’s “Enterprise Zone” program for commercial and industrial businesses.
- Acts as the Street Commissioner for the Village – all street and sidewalk opening permits must be obtained from the Administrator. The Administrator oversees all road repair work and improvements handled by the maintenance department, or projects that are bid out to a contractor and works directly with the Village Engineer on plan specification and design.
- Administers employee benefits program including: medical, dental and disability plans.
- Manages all Workers’ Compensation claims/accounts.
- Researches and applies for various County, State and Federal grant opportunities for Village capital improvements, infrastructure, and recreational items.
- Acts as Purchasing Agent for the Village.
I was unable to find any Village, City, or Township in Hamilton County that does not have a City Manager or Chief Administrator. The only person that Mariemont has to deal with the aforementioned functions is the Mayor, and to some extent the council.
In most municipalities, the elected Mayor presides at ceremonial and council functions, puts together the budget and directly oversees the police and fire departments. The administrator reports to the Mayor and village councils or board of trustees.
Mariemont is an incorporated municipality with about 1,450 households and an annual budget of roughly 3.4 million dollars. As a sizeable entity, it is difficult to imagine that both the burden of administrative and governance functions can be adequately managed by just one person, or a mayor.
Many of us would encourage the Village Council and Mayor to consider hiring a full-time Village Administrator with experience and skills that could smooth out the processes of Village administration. This would free up time for the Council and Mayor to consider longer term strategic initiatives to enhance Mariemont’s exceptionalism with the goal of becoming the best suburb in the Cincinnati area. Many of the recommendations in the Mariemont Preservation Foundation Vision 2021 are truly worth considering as a strategic template for the future.