Northwood administrator Bob Anderson to retire

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Northwood City Administrator Bob Anderson is retiring. Anderson, 73, has been in the position for 10 years.
        City council voted to hire Anderson in September, 2012. He replaced Dennis Recker, who had resigned.
        Anderson told The Press on Wednesday that approximately 12 people have applied for the position.
        “I’ll step down as soon as we find a replacement. We’re still looking,” he said. “I’m not going to leave the city high and dry.”
        The city is waiting for more people with experience to apply before a decision is made on who to hire, he said.
        “Experience is the biggest thing we’re looking for in a candidate. Also, the ability to work with people, the ability to solve problems without taking things personally, are important to be successful in the job. There are people I disagree with a lot that I get along with. A successful candidate should be able to see both sides of an issue. There’s not just one way to do things. You have a number of bosses you have to deal with: There is the mayor, city council, and the public.”
        The city also prefers that the candidate be from the area.
        “It’s not necessary, but it helps to know the players in the vicinity,” he said. “I spent time as administrator in Springfield Township, the county, and the Ohio area. So I already knew a lot of the players. I know a lot of politicians around here. If I have a question for the Ohio Department of Transportation, I know who to talk to because I know a lot of the staff already. So familiarity makes a huge difference. We have some candidates who are from the area.”
        Some applicants are not as qualified, he said.
        “Some people have applied who don’t have any experience managing any parts of cities. But I’m not disqualifying anyone who has applied so far. We’re not looking so much for education, though that helps. But that’s not the main thing,” he said.
        “We want someone who really stands out. More than what we have right now,” he added.
        The city has advertised for the position in the Ohio Municipal League and elsewhere in the state, as well as in states surrounding Ohio, he said.
        Anderson and the mayor have reviewed the applicants and shared that information with city council. They will continue to sort through them until there is a consensus on the final candidate, he said.
        Anderson oversaw the tearing down of the former Woodville Mall, which he considered one of the the highlights of his career. The mall opened in 1968 and closed in the 2000s after losing most of its stores. The health department shut it down due to unsafe and deteriorated buildings. Anderson had to jump through a lot of hurdles to get the buildings, many of which contained asbestos, torn down and get the site remediated.
        He also presided over plans for The Enclave, a multi-use development that will include housing, commercial office space, restaurants, and a community recreation center located at the footprint of the former mall site.
        “It’s probably been the biggest thing in the last few years,” he said.
        What’s on the horizon for Northwood after Anderson retires?
        The Enclave will still be front and center, he said.
        “Once we get some buildings started for the Enclave, it’s going to attract further development, particularly residential properties shortly. After that, the community center will be built, then the commercial buildings will get developed on Main Street in the Enclave,” he said.
        Anderson said he’ll stick around the Northwood area and offer assistance if needed, after he retires.
        “I’ll be happy to do it.”             


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