NELSONVILLE — A special meeting called for Monday, June 15 for Nelsonville's City Council resulted in a failed vote for Scott Frank to be reappointed into the permanent City Manager position, spurring a plan to protest at the next city council committee meeting.
No vote was held for the other final candidate, Robert Schaumleffel.
The 3-4 vote followed a motion to appoint Frank to the position by Council Member Dan Sherman. Sherman, Council President Anthony Dunfee, and Member Cory Taylor voted for Frank; Members Greg Smith, Wanda Johnson, Carla Grant and Linda Watkins voted against his appointment.
Some confusion surrounded the news — due to restrictions on public meetings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was closed to the public but livestreamed on Facebook with options for citizens to issue comments or speak before council. Technical difficulties caused issues with the sound on the livestream, and the official city Facebook account initially posted the incorrect result.
Shortly thereafter, the post was deleted and corrections were posted.
"We apologize for the earlier posting of incorrect information," the page stated. "We had a hard time hearing City Council, just as everyone else did. City Council returned from executive session at 10:18 p.m. and a motion was made to hire Scott Frank as the permanent City Manager. Council by a 3-4 vote decided not to hire Scott Frank and then City Council adjourned."
Citizen's responses ranged from surprised to outraged, with many expressing their satisfaction with Frank's performance as the interim city manager since his appointment in February.
Soon an event was planned, hosted on Facebook by the Nelsonville Crackheads page (which is currently engaged in a lawsuit with the city council clerk), to protest this decision on Tuesday, June 16 at 7 p.m. at City Hall, which is the time and place of a Street Committee meeting. The Nelsonville Street Committee members are Smith, Watkins and Grant.
"All three of these individuals voted no to hiring Scott Frank as the permanent City Manager," the event description stated. "They should have to answer Nelsonville residents for what they are doing to try to ruin this city even more."
Tuesday morning, the Street Committee meeting was canceled due to technical difficulties with the live-streaming equipment, a city release declared.
"The meeting will be rescheduled as soon as possible," the city's release stated.
Frank, a Nelsonville native, and Schaumleffel, of Westerville, Ohio, were the last two standing from a field of six candidates.
Frank has noted 20 years of experience with management analytics and process improvement within the U.S. Air Force.
“I’ve been managing people and supervising people since I was 20 years old, so I’ve a lot of experience working with others,” Frank told The Messenger in February.
Frank filled the interim position following long-time City Manager Chuck Barga, who retired on Jan. 31 after three years in the position.
The other finalist, Shaumleffel, wrote in his cover letter that he saw the position advertised by the Ohio Municipal League’s publication. Shaumleffel has worked as municipal administration for several years, with experience ranging from being an administrative assistant for the Muskingum County Commissioners to City Manager of Conneaut, Ohio, which has a population of about 13,000, and also was assistant city manager and city manager for Bullhead City, Arizona (population of about 35,000).
“As you will see from the attached resume, I have been an achievement-oriented manager with over 30 years of experience in both medium and small municipal governments,” Schaumleffel wrote. “My strongest areas of experience are in finance, long range planning and development and human resources. I stepped away from the profession several years ago in order to provide care and support for my 96-year-old elderly mother. Now that her situation is stable, I would like to continue my career.”
Schaumleffel grew up in Zanesville, according to his application, and currently lives in Delaware County.
Online, residents of Nelsonville expressed concerns about Schaumleffel, including on the infamous Nelsonville Crackheads page. However, other media reports show that previous city's have also had concerns with the candidate.
In 2010, the Star Beacon in Ashtabula, Ohio, noted Ward 1 Councilman Dave Campbell calling Schaumleffel's conduct "a form of insubordination." Schaumleffel was fired from the position before the end of the same year, receiving a $33,000 severance package according to the Star Beacon. It was the second attempt from Council to fire him as manager.
As previously reported by The Messenger, Nelsonville Council received three other applications for the position.
Harry Staven, of Richland, Washington, submitted his application based on experience he gained working as city manager/treasurer in Gold Hill, Oregon, city administrator for two other cities (Auburn, Michigan and Hoonah, Alaska) and was finance director for an additional three cities (Bandon, Oregon; Clinton, North Carolina; and Galena, Alaska). However, his cover letter noted that his most recent position in Gold Hill offered a salary of $76,000.
Luke McKenzie, of Keyser, West Virginia, also applied. His application noted that he has several certifications, including as an Emergency Medical Technician, and as a West Virginia Emergency Manager Level II.
His resume noted that he currently works as director of the Mineral County Emergency Services department for about four years, as well as an EMT for Bruceton Community Ambulance Service.
George Hayfield also applied for the position, but a copy of his application was unable to be obtained at the time of writing.