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Public can meet city-manager candidates at upcoming forum

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Meet the Candidates

Carol Houck and Tarron Richardson.

A public forum on Wednesday will allow locals to get to know the two candidates for Newark’s City Manager position a little better.

During the forum, set for 7 p.m. Sept. 19, each candidate will speak for 10 minutes about his or her background before audience members will be allowed to ask the candidates questions of their own.

The two candidates for the position left vacant in February, when Kyle Sonnenberg retired, are Carol Houck, Newark’s assistant city manager for 14 years and interim city manager since February; and Dr. Tarron Richardson, a Wilmington native currently serving as city manager of DeSoto, Texas.

A third finalist, David Baird, former city manager of Milford, Del., withdrew himself from the applicant pool last week in an e-mail addressed to the city’s mayor and council members, saying he had accepted another position.

On Thursday, following the public meeting, Newark City Council members will reconvene in executive session at 5 p.m. to discuss the candidates and then conduct another interview with each candidate before making a final decision about who will be Newark’s next city manager.

MEET THE CANDIDATES:

Carol Houck

Age: 49

Current Position: Newark’s interim city manager

Education: Graduate of Roxborough High School in Philadelphia Pa.; Penn State and Temple University. Pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Delaware.

Work Experience: Interim city manager, City of Newark, February 2012 to present; assistant city manager, City of Newark, 1997 to February 2012. Department of Parks and Recreation supervisor, City of Newark, 1990 to June 1997.

How Will You Serve Newark Well As Its City Manager? It is my sincere hope that I will be granted the privilege to continue to serve the citizens and Mayor and Council of Newark as their city manager, and to be provided the opportunity to advance necessary initiatives and improve employee commitment while maintaining and improving the efficiencies of our services.

I am a skilled team leader that is proficient in bringing the right people together to address needs and produce results by taking action and accepting responsibility.

In the last six months, as Newark's interim city manager, my ability to increase our engagement with outside organizations, to lead change, and raise expectations has reenergized my commitment to Newark's success.

I have 22 years of truly local experience and organization/community observation and involvement that has already translated into a rapid and necessary grasp of this organization's direction.

My hands-on and progressive leadership is currently needed by Newark to ensure that we take advantage of opportunities, improve our financial stability, ensure successful department-level transitions over the next five years, and that we do not shy away from making important decisions. I have a vested interest in Newark's success and a proven track record that is guaranteed to come with my appointment unlike any other candidate for this important position.

Tarron Richardson

Age: 35

Current Position: City manager of DeSoto, Texas, a municipality with a population of nearly 50,000 residents.

Education: Graduate of Glasgow High School; B.S., Lincoln University; M.Ed., Temple University; Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University.

How Will You Serve Newark Well As Its City Manager? I feel that my current role as city manager, as well as my previous employment experience in the public sector, has provided me with opportunities to manage multi-million-dollar budgets and professionals from various industries.

Prior to assuming this role as city manager, I served in the capacities of assistant city manager (DeSoto, Texas), deputy director of public utilities (Richmond, Va.), assistant/acting city manager (Coatesville, Pa.), assistant to the chief administrative officer for legislation (Richmond, Va.), and project manager for council relations (Richmond, Va.).

During my collective service with the aforementioned entities, I held responsibility for the management of the departments of Code Enforcement, Community Development, Economic Development, Finance, Public Works, Public Utilities, Planning, Facilities Management, Call Center, Fleet Management, Environmental Services, Parks and Recreation, Human Resources, Information Technology, Fire and Emergency Services, Public Safety, Emergency Communications and Library Services.

As a result of my professional work experience and educational credentials, I am confident that I will bring an innovative and creative perspective to the City of Newark’s existing operating model. Specifically, in the areas of financial administration, community and economic development, community and government relations, organizational management, information technology, strategic and succession planning, customer service initiatives, utility operations and public service delivery. Further, my career has enabled me the opportunity to work in communities with institutions of higher learning and their administration to develop strategic plans for the future.

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