Novak Consulting Group Bringing solutions into focus

Oneonta, New York

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City Manager – Oneonta, New York

The Position

Oneonta’s next City Manager has an opportunity to work with a dedicated governing body, a talented management team, and an engaged citizenry.

The City of Oneonta was formed in 1908 with a Mayor-Council form of government. In 2010, given the changing needs of the City, a Charter Review Commission determined that the best structure of government was a City Manager-Mayor/Council form of government. The new charter was brought to a public vote in November of 2011, was approved by the voters, and became effective January 1, 2012.

The City Manager is the Chief Administrative Officer, is hired by the Mayor and Common Council members, and is responsible for the overall day-to-day operations.

The Organization

Legislative power of the City of Oneonta is vested in the Common Council. The Mayor, who is elected to a four-year term, presides over the Council. The eight councilmembers, who serve four-year terms, represent the ward in which they reside.

Standing committees and task forces provide research into areas covered by the Council. Each committee provides the full Council with a report at the regular Council meeting. These are the committees: Community Development Committee; Finance/Human Resources Committee; Legislative Committee; and Operations, Planning, and Evaluation Committee.

Oneonta’s total FY2016 budget is $21,517,480, with a general fund budget of $15,421,050. The total budget is illustrated in the following table.

FY 2016 Budget
Transit $1,804,385
Public Safety and Health $7,580,130
Streets and Transportation $1,605,717
Recreation and Community Services $995,010
Water $1,568,175
Sewer $1,501,892
General Government Support $2,865,825
Non-Active Employee Benefits $1,410,000
Debt Service $1,314,000
Inter-fund Transfers $872,346
Total $21,517,480

The City of Oneonta also has a rolling five-year capital plan. In 2016, about $1.3 million was budgeted for infrastructure improvements. In addition to local funds, in recent years the City has captured CDBG Public Facilities funding to ensure a safe, reliable water supply, including development of a second well water source and relining of the primary water main to the treatment plant. Municipal leadership is also in the process of seeking additional funding to improve the dams to the City reservoirs.


The City Manager shall be qualified by possessing a master’s degree in public administration and at least three years’ successful experience in a responsible executive position in government administration, or any equivalent training or combination of experience and training in municipal government. Preferred qualifications include an ICMA-CM, experience in a council-manager government, strong financial management, and a track record of success with grants, intergovernmental relations, economic revitalization, and business and civic engagement. Experience in a college town is preferred but not required.

Residency is required by the charter for all officers, including the City Manager. The charter also allows the Council to waive this, if desired.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for Oneonta’s next City Manager will be an effective communicator, who is comfortable not only interacting with a variety of audiences but also listening to all community stakeholders. The candidate will be approachable and a visible presence, not only in the community but also in the organization. He or she will engender trust, lead by example, and work alongside staff to accomplish goals. The ideal candidate will be flexible, diplomatic, skilled in developing teams and partnerships, and have a collaborative approach to identifying innovative solutions. The candidate will have a proven ability to work with a strong governing body to implement strategic initiatives, have financial management acumen, and experience in attracting quality development opportunities. The next City Manager will be effective in guiding elected officials, staff, and the community in reviewing its operations for streamlining, effectiveness, and in best practices in council-manager government.

The Community

Nestled in the foothills of the northern Catskill Mountains along the banks of the Susquehanna River, Oneonta is centrally located between the urban areas of Binghamton and Albany, with easy access to Interstate 88. The City of Oneonta was recently awarded $10,000,000 by Governor Cuomo in recognition of its Downtown Revitalization Initiative to become a unique, pedestrian friendly destination as an Innovation Center for locally produced foods and beverages. As a result, the City of Oneonta is presently in the design process of an exciting reclamation and revitalization of part of its downtown to become a regional hub for local foods, craft beers, and the arts. Nicknamed the City of the Hills, Oneonta is surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the northern Catskill Mountains which provides access to outdoor recreation including hiking, skiing, hunting, fishing, and boating. It is 30 minutes from Cooperstown, New York, which offers the Baseball Hall of Fame, art and history museums, galleries, and Otsego Lake. There are plans to create a site for technology/light manufacturing quality jobs at the site of the Oneonta rail yards with significant support from all levels of government.

Oneonta is considered by many as the Southern Gateway to the Mohawk Valley Region. In addition to the 14,000 residents who call the City of Oneonta home, within a 30-mile drive in any direction are nearly 150,000 people who regularly visit Oneonta as their primary urban downtown.

The community offers something for everyone, with plentiful green spaces, trails and parks, a red-brick downtown area full of historic buildings, a variety of restaurants and eclectic country stores, and multiple entertainment venues.

The Downtown provides big city amenities with a small-town feel. It is compact, walkable, and filled with many historic mixed-use buildings that are home to shops, restaurants, and apartments. These uses include restaurants, bookstores, banks, clothing stores, a jewelry store, a theater, a performing arts center, convenience stores, a healthy grocery, the public library, the YMCA, and medical, professional, and governmental offices. Ample parking is available including a multi-level parking structure. The narrow, tree-lined Main Street provides a unique sense of place that is “Authentically Oneonta.” Immediately adjacent to and within walking distance of Oneonta’s downtown core are the higher education institutions of SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College.

Oneonta enjoys a vibrant employer base including A.O. Fox Hospital, Hartwick College, SUNY Oneonta, the Oneonta Job Corps Center, NYSEG, Verizon, Corning Corporation, Community Bank, the Arc, NBT Bank, Astrocom Electronics, F.N. Burt Company, Custom Electronics, Ioxus, Medical Coaches, The Daily Star, Key Bank, and the Mold-A-Matic Corporation. In addition, the retail and service sectors provide job opportunities to a large number of people.

The City is served by the Oneonta City School District with a high school, a middle school, and three elementary schools.


The expected hiring range is $105,000 – $115,000 depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at and will be kept confidential. Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide one document (Word or PDF) that has a cover letter, resume with salary history, and a list of 3-5 professional references. Open until filled with first review of applications February 24, 2017.


Questions should be directed to or 513-221-0500.

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