The city of Ann Arbor has announced the names of three finalists for its city administrator job: Harry Black, Ellie Oppenheim and Steve Powers. Of the three, only Powers has a current position in Michigan.
Next week on Tuesday, July 12, a public reception for residents to meet the candidates will be hosted in the lobby of the new municipal center at 301 E. Huron from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The reception will feature five-minute presentations from each candidate, as well as time for informal conversations with candidates.
The following day, July 13, candidates will be interviewed in public view in city council chambers from 8 a.m. to noon.
According to a press release from the city of Ann Arbor, Harry Black currently serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Global Commerce Solutions (GCS) Inc., a D.C.-based government services firm that provides program and project management support services to the public sector. From 2005-2008 he worked as the deputy chief administrative officer/chief financial officer for the city of Richmond, Virginia. He was vice president and program manager for McKissack & McKissack in Washington, D.C. from 2000 to 2005, and prior to that served in several roles with the District of Columbia government of Washington D.C. Black has served as an adjunct assistant professor at the Long Island University (Brooklyn campus) Graduate School of Business/Public Administration. Last year he was appointed to the Virginia State University Board of Visitors.
The press release also indicates that Ellie Oppenheim most recently held the position as president and chief executive officer of the RenoSparks Convention and Visitors Authority (2006 to 2011). In that capacity, she was responsible for leading the regional destination marketing organization promoting tourism and convention business for Reno, Sparks and Incline Village/North Lake Tahoe. Before that Oppenheim worked for the City of San Diego, California (2002 to 2006) in various roles to include the deputy city chief operating officer and deputy city manager, and as the director of the parks and recreation department. Oppenheim has also worked for Stanford University, Calif. and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Steve Powers brings experience as county administrator of Marquette County, Mich. – a position he’s held since 1996, according to the press release. His other management experience has also been at the county level, including various jobs in the governments of Martin County, Minn., Jackson County, Ore., and Johnson County, Kansas. His professional and community roles, Powers serves as a corporate member with the International City/County Management Association; Marquette County Ambassador; and as an executive board member for the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Powers has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in public administration and political science from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.
The three finalists were winnowed down from a pool of roughly 8-10 by the city council’s search committee, which met starting mid-afternoon on July 5 to do that work. Members of the search committee are: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) and mayor John Hieftje. The pool from which the search committee selected was identified by the city’s consultant, Affion Public, in concert with the city’s human resources department.
The city’s chief financial officer Tom Crawford was appointed interim city administrator at the city council’s April 19, 2011 meeting, effective April 28. Previous city administrator Roger Fraser announced his resignation at a Feb. 28 city council working session. Fraser took a job with the state of Michigan as a deputy treasurer.