Johnstown City Hall

Johnstown's City Hall is shown on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – The search for Johnstown’s next city manager is under way.

City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to advertise the position. A deadline of Dec. 3 was set for applications to be submitted with the goal of having a person hired by January.

Deborah Grass, the city’s coordinator in Pennsylvania’s Act 47 program for distressed municipalities, plans to post the position possibly as early as Thursday. She expects a quick response from candidates.

“If someone is interested, they’re probably going to submit sooner than later,” Grass said.

Johnstown has had nine full-time or acting city managers since 2014.

Previously, full-time managers needed to live in the city, per the Home Rule Charter. But voters recently passed a referendum that allows City Council to waive the requirement if the members so choose.

No guidelines are officially set. Council could keep the residency requirement, set up a radius in which the manager needs to reside or set no boundaries.

“Right now, you don’t have any limitations,” Solicitor Elizabeth Benjamin said.

Council members have claimed the residency requirement was a hindrance in finding and keeping city managers.

“The reason we held off on the search until after the referendum was to be able to make it clear to applicants that right now residency isn’t an issue,” Interim City Manager Daniel Penatzer said.

No mention of residency was expected to be included in the advertisement.

“We fought to have this open-ended,” Mayor Frank Janakovic said. “We don’t want to put limitations in that ad. My opinion is, we want to run an ad that every person out there can apply for. Then it’s up to council to decide those stipulations or requirements.”

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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