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Willie Norfleet

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MUSA Council
MUSA Council

Joined: May 16 2008
Location: Middletown, Ohi
Status: Offline
Points: 4187
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    Posted: May 17 2014 at 8:49am

Posted: 5:00 a.m. Saturday, May 17, 2014

City manager candidate not afraid of challenges

By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer

    MIDDLETOWN Willie Norfleet Jr. isn’t afraid to move from job to job, city to city.

Since 1979, Norfleet Jr., one of the five finalists for the city manager’s job in Middletown, has held five jobs in four states.

    “Those who don’t want challenges stay put,” he said Friday afternoon after driving into Middletown from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. “I like to get out there and test my skills.”

    Norfleet Jr. and the other candidates — Doug Adkins, director of community revitalization, Middletown; Cathy Davison, former city manager, Steubenville, Ohio; Les Landen, Middletown law director; and Jane Howington, city manager, Newport, R.I. — will participate in a public forum from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the City Council chambers in the lower level of the City Building.

    There will be a facilitator who will ask questions given to him by the audience. Then the audience will have an opportunity to provide written feedback on the candidates, and those comments will be given to city council who will select current city manager Judy Gilleland’s replacement. Gilleland is set to retire June 6. She makes $127,654 a year.

For the last two years, Norfleet Jr. has served as city manager in Socorro, Texas, a city with 32,000 residents, or 16,000 fewer than Middletown. He was hired as the city’s first permanent city manager since 2008 and he’s paid $135,000 a year.

    Before that, he was fired as city manager in Compton, Calif., after the city racked up a $25 million deficit and officials were critical of his handling of budget cuts and sweeping layoffs meant to balance the budget, according to newspaper reports.
I would strongly suggest you research Compton before you pass judgement on this action.

Norfleet said he thought he was unfairly targeted for having elected officials make hard financial decisions, but he added he could have better warned the council of the deficit, according to reports.

    Ironically, when asked one of his career highlights, he mentioned balancing the budget in Compton and getting the city on the “right” financial track.

    While driving to the City Building on Friday afternoon, Norfleet Jr. said he noticed Middletown needed businesses to fill some of its empty retail spaces.

    Still, he said, the Middletown job was “very attractive” despite its “challenges.”


All this week the Journal-News profiled the five candidates for the city manager position. All of the profiles appear online at www.Journal-News.com:

TUESDAY: Cathy Davison

WEDNESDAY: Doug Adkins

THURSDAY: Jane Howington

FRIDAY: Les Landen

TODAY: Willie Norfleet


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