Council agrees Ciaravino was the obvious choice for City Manager
Last updated 4/15/2020 at 8:57pm
Members of the Mill Creek City Council were so impressed with the long-term commitment Michael G. Ciaravino made to the city they were united in the decision to offer an employment agreement to the lawyer and former mayor to serve as the next city manager.
The council voted unanimously to have City Attorney Scott Missall negotiate with the former mayor and chief executive for the Ohio city of Maple Heights to take over the permanent role of city manager.
“The research Michael did into our city and his visions for the future really stood out,” said Councilmember Stephanie Vignal. “We had a very tough decision because we had four very strong candidates. “
Vignal said Ciarvino will be able to provide the level of service the citizens of Mill Creek expect and deserve.
“Michael’s desire to come to Mill Creek and become involved with the community really stood out.”
Councilmember Vince Cavaleri agreed, and not because he and Ciaravino are both natives of New York.
“He was my No. 1 guy after our interviews because of his people skills and his sincere desire to move his family across the country to live in Mill Creek,” Cavaleri said after Tuesday’s meeting. “He was not my first choice after reviewing resumes, but he wowed me with his passion and decisiveness when we met face-to-face.”
The permanent position of city manger has been vacant since the council voted to terminate the employment contract with Rebecca Polizzotto over multiple charges of misconduct more than six months ago.
Former City Manager Bob Stowe returned to City Hall as the city’s administrator on an interim part-time basis in August. Stowe has agreed to remain in his role until April 24 to help the transition to a new administrator.
If negotiations with Ciaravino go as easily as expected, the council could approve the employment contract at its next meeting Tuesday, April 9. Ciaravino hopes to begin his tenure with Mill Creek as early as Wednesday, April 24.
Cavaleri, who works full-time as a Snohomish County deputy, said he was especially impressed with how his first choice helped minimize gun violence in a city that had been known as the murder capital of New York.
“He wants to be here. And quickly, which was also a plus in his favor,” said Cavaleri. “He is not a diamond in the rough. His people skills are polished.”
Councilmember John Steckler said feedback from the community and city staff helped to narrow the field of finalists to two.
“Michael has a very impressive record of success. His results are impressive,” Steckler said. “He is a get-the-job-done kind of guy who can work well on a local basis and step up to the state level to get things done if necessary.”
Steckler went on to say he was impressed with the transparency Ciaravino has shown throughout his career. Like the other candidates, he was willing to move his family to take on this challenge.
“That says a lot about our city that we had so many really qualified individuals who wanted to come to Mill Creek,” said Steckler. “I hope he takes our offer and is with the city a very long time to lead us through some of the challenges we have ahead as a city.”
Ciaravino served as city manager for the New York suburb of Newburgh for four years prior to leaving Ohio in 2007. He practiced law for 16 years after receiving his degree from Case Western Reserve School of Law in Ohio.
In a statement to the Times-Herald-Record in Middletown, New York, Ciaravino said he was stepping down from his position as city manager in September 2018 “to seek other career opportunities.”
“I have had the great honor and pleasure of working with a first-rate team,” he wrote. “Together we overcame many obstacles and accomplished many goals with respect to clean water, dilapidated infrastructure, stabilization of the police department and improved safety within our community. Our efforts brought new life and revitalization to our community.”
He remained with the city through the year-end budget process.
At an open house for the four finalists for the city manager position last month, Ciaravino explained that Mill Creek mirrors many of the challenges he faced in New York with an upscale demographic not far from a major metropolitan city.
“The energy is infectious and the potential here is unbelievable,” he told the standing-room-only crowd at The Forum in Town Center on Friday, March 22. All four finalists had flown out for interviews with the council over the weekend of March 23-24.