Warren Price named new Dayton city manager

If Warren Price was so informed through interviews, undoubtedly, he read some of Esrati.com

It’s probably impossible to read all of it at this point- 2,323 Posts, 20,354 Comments. It’s been informing Dayton since 2005, which makes this the granddaddy of all Dayton political blogs and alternative news sources. I look at this as your site- even though it has my name on it- since you’ve written 10 times the number of posts that I have.

If you are searching for information on why Dayton- the city and the region is the way it is- or how it got that way, there is no other accessible, searchable source that covers so much. UrbanOhio.com has some forums that are pretty interesting- but, it’s statewide with a focus toward Cleveland. Trying to find anything via the Dayton Daily News search tools is a lesson in frustration- and if you are looking for conversation via comments, you can forget it (apparently right now their commenting system is busted- not removed permanently).

Here’s the “relevant” info on Price from today’s DDn story- it’s pretty apparent they haven’t had time to do any real digging on him or get an extended interview:

Dayton City Commission selected Warren Price as the next city manager, making him the first person since 1996 to be hired for the top job without having previously worked for the city.

Price, 42, serves as the general counsel to the Stark County Sheriff, as well as the human resources director for a staff of 220 full-time public safety employees….

City leaders said Price has considerable and relevant experience in public service and has demonstrated that he strongly shares their top priorities, including improving customer service at all levels of government.

They said Price has an impressive knowledge of the city and region, and it is clear he knows how to supervise employees and collaborate with multiple stakeholders….

Price is the first hire for the position with no prior experience working for the city since Valerie Lemme 18 years ago. Lemme at the time was the city manager in Petersburg, Va….

Price beat two internal candidates for the job, including Dayton Assistant City Manager Shelley Dickstein and Aviation Director Terrence Slaybaugh. He was one of six people who were interviewed in person by city commissioners…

He said growing the city will be his focus, which is possible through providing exemplary services and keeping the community safe, clean and well maintained….

Price has 12 years of local government management experience.

He worked for the city of Canton from 2009 to 2013. Before that, Price was the legal counsel for Springfield Twp. in Summit County, which has about 15,000 residents. For three years in the mid-2000s, he served on the Alliance City Council.

He also worked for two law firms and was a zoning administrator in Lake Twp. and a zoning inspector and code enforcement official in Alliance. He served in the U.S. Navy and graduated from the University of Akron School of Law.

Price will be paid $160,000 annually, and he will receive standard executive benefits, such as paid holidays, annual leave, health insurance and dental insurance. He expects to start on Jan. 12….

via Dayton names new city manager | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

The first indication of what kind of City Manager we’ll have will be where he chooses to live. Former City Manager Riordan skirted this issue by renting an apartment during his tenure. Of course, the fact that we passed him over in the past and he moved to Cincy following Valerie Lemmie is all water under the bridge at this point from our financial savior. Of course, I’m thinking he’ll end up in South Park- since he has kids who will probably attend Holy Angels and CJ. I can think of a few houses that are for sale right now that would be good choices and one that’s not on the market.

If you do a quick search on Warren Price, you’ll surely stumble on the Stark County Political Report– a blog that’s somewhat similar to esrati.com. A quick read of it says we’re in all new territory when it comes to Price as City Manager- which is awesome, until he actually tries to be a city manager and runs into Her Highness’ power trip.

Price isn’t afraid of speaking in public- even to a blogger. He’s a bit of a showman- drinking nasty looking brown tap water on camera (and joking that the sample came out of the toilet) to prove it may look bad- but is safe to drink (hopefully, he’ll never have to do that here).

From what I see, Price, a lawyer and a Navy veteran, seems to be cut from a totally different fabric than anyone we’ve had around since Bill Estabrook or Rick Helwig (Estabrook was fired within a year, because he did shake things up in City Hall and was viewed as then Mayor Mike Turner’s boy).

He has also run for office– which is something that we’ve never had in the modern era- a politically out City Manager. With the possibility of Turner’s seat being open in two years, could we see Whaley vs her new hire? That thought is mind-boggling, and probably not something she thought of when bringing a guy who actually can talk on camera to town. He was introduced to local politics in high school working as a radio reporter, his views on politics are almost comical- especially coming to Dayton: “Politics are an unfortunate means to an end in most cases.”

I’m not seeing him on Social Media- he has a namesake who is a game designer at UbiSoft who drowns out cursory searches- but all indications show he isn’t afraid of engaging social media, which may actually allow for me to do a first- an open interview with someone in appointed office who is willing to go on the record as having talked directly with me (you should be laughing now, if not rolling on the floor). The only one in the past, was former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell, although there are many who have no problems talking to me.

The big question is who will he be allowed to push out and what kind of talent will he hire? In the past, City Managers have pretty much been limited in their ability to fire anyone- hence Shelly Dickstein and Stan Early still perennial runners up. And there is the question of if Terry Slaybaugh will stick around, now that he’s been passed over. His loss to the airport would be big.

If you are wondering how Price managed his way past Whaley’s power monger filter- it’s probably that while in the Navy he studied full time at UD’s sister school- Chaminade University in Honolulu. We know that the Marianist roots run deep in her blood.

Looking over everything that I found, I see this as a radical step in the right direction for Dayton. Unlike Lemmie, Price looks to be a much more affable guy- something desperately needed after the dour/sour Riordan who was white-knuckling his way through the financial minefield caused by years of failed leadership. With an outsider, he’s free to blame all the previous woes on past parties and start with a new approach to our primary problem- which was at the end of the DDn article and right on the money:

“Like customers, if (residents) are not happy and not satisfied with the product the city puts out, they’ll leave, and I don’t want them to leave, I want them to stay here,” he said.

Warren Price, I’m looking forward to helping you. You’ve got your work cut out.

 

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