2023 Administration Annual Report

The administration department comprises the city manager, assistant city manager, human resources manager, and executive assistant/clerk of council. Under the city manager, the administration department provides professional leadership in executing City Council policies and managing the City day to day. The department oversees the coordination and direction of all City services daily, directly supports Montgomery City Council, and serves as a liaison between the City of Montgomery and other organizations.

Diversity and Inclusion Commission

In 2023, City Council approved by Ordinance the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Commission.  The City Council and administration created the Diversity and Inclusion Committee with a vision to:

  • promote positive intercultural relations among Montgomery’s residents, and
  • embed its multi-cultural character into Montgomery’s brand as a welcoming community for all people.

The commission comprises seven appointed commission members, a City Council liaison and staff liaisons.

The Committee had a very productive 2023 with the following accomplishments:

  • Held nine meetings.
  • During the February meeting, Commission Members listened to a presentation about the “Proper Use of Pronouns” by Lucy Del Guadio, Sr. DEI Manager at Essilor Luxottica.
  • During the March meeting, Commission Members listened to a presentation by the Sycamore Junior High International Club and their advisor, Mrs. Mika Wolfford on the DEI activities happening within the Sycamore Community Schools.
  • During the April meeting, Julie Letwich, Executive Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Law Center gave an informative presentation regarding refugees in Greater Cincinnati and the services of the Law Center.
  • During the September meeting, Chris Burns shared a book review of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles, Ph.D.
  • Commission members Juan Molina and Alfonso Cornejo gave a presentation in the ‘Know Your Neighbor’ series on the history of Cinco de Mayo and how it became a celebrated holiday. The presentation also covered Carnival and its history in the Americas. It was held on March 30 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Cincinnati Attorney Scott Knox gave a presentation in the ‘Know Your Neighbor’ series about current governmental issues facing the LGBTQ+ community in Ohio on June 27 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Commission member Juan Molina will give a presentation as part of the ‘Know Your Neighbor’ series about Dia de los Muertos and the true meaning of the Mexican celebration on September 28 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Commission members participated in the Independence Day Parade & Festival with a decorated parade float and a booth at the festival.
  • The Diversity Dinner Party with a Jamaican theme was held on Saturday, August 5 from 6-8:30 p.m. at Swaim Park and over 60 people attended.
  • The Diversity and Inclusion Commission conducted a Menorah Lighting event at City Hall on Monday, December 11 with approximately 50 people in attendance.
  • Each month Commission members mailed handwritten welcome greetings to new residents of Montgomery.

Mental Health Initiative

 In 2022, the City actively launched a mental health initiative after the support of City Council and feedback provided by the community for the need of mental health programming. The focus on mental health was compounded by the pandemic and the City took a proactive step to address the stigma around mental health and mental illness.

In 2023, the City continued bringing programming and resources to the community in the following ways:

  • 8 community presentations focusing on various topics such as: Depression, Anxiety, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Community Policing & Crisis Intervention Training, and Suicide Prevention
  • The first Mental Health Fair hosted by Twin Lakes Retirement Community featuring 6 speakers and 25 vendors
  • 14 City Staff Lunch-N-Learns focusing on mental health/mental illness topics

Brian Riblet, Tracy Henao, and Connie Gaylor presented on the City’s Mental Health Initiative at the International City/County Managers Association conference in Austin, Texas, to encourage other municipalities to share a message of destigmatizing mental health to their own communities and staff.

Among the community presentations was a larger presentation by nationally recognized speaker, Kevin Hines. Mr. Hines is one of a few survivors who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge and survived. He presented a compelling, powerful message on mental health and suicide prevention.

Funding Opportunities

 Staff continually seeks out funding sources from federal, state, and local levels that aid the City in completing its many capital improvement and equipment replacement programs.

Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District awarded the City a $31,776.71 incentive for diverting 1,597.99 tons of recycling from the landfill, achieving a 34.67% diversion rate.

Hamilton County awarded the City a $15,000 through the Hamilton County Mini-Grant for the conversion of an ambulance. The conversion of the ambulance will be a wonderful engagement tool for the City.

The police department was awarded a $3,900 grant from Ohio BWC that funds 75% of the costs of body armor for use by its' police officers.

The Fire Department was awarded a grant for $40,000 from the State of Ohio under the Ohio First Responders Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program.  The money is to be used in creating a few recruitment videos for the police and fire departments.  This program is part of the American Rescue Plan Act better known as ARPA.

The City was awarded $200,000 by Congress from a Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) grant as part of the final Appropriations Bill approved in 2022.  These funds will be used to subsidize a complete overhaul and new camera system throughout our city buildings, on our traffic signals, Montgomery Quarter and other areas throughout the City.

The City was awarded a grant in the amount of $184,730 from the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) to assist with construction of a sidewalk on the east side of Montgomery Road between Schoolhouse Lane and Main Street.

The Hamilton County Commissioner’s awarded the City $500,000 through a Community Revitalization Grant.  These funds will be used for the Stage II work beginning at the Montgomery Quarter Project.

2022-2026 Strategic Plan

City Council and City staff use strategic planning to set long-term goals, which provide purposeful guidance and direction for the activities of the organization.  Over the past 20 years, the City has undertaken strategic planning in five-year increments, and, in 2021, City Council passed Resolution 38, 2021 that would implement the 2022-2026 five-year strategic plan. 2023 continued the work of staff on the following six goals:

Goal A: Facilities and Infrastructure:   Montgomery strives to meet community and staff needs by providing safe, well maintained, attractive and sustainable facilities, while ensuring efficient and dependable infrastructure.

Goal B: Financial Sustainability:  Montgomery fosters fiscal health through long-term planning, heightened efficiency, increased revenue, and cost recovery to sustain a strong financial position.

Goal C: Economic Development:  Montgomery will develop key areas while attracting and retaining businesses that enhance our small-town historic feel to ensure the financial stability of the City.

Goal D: Communication and Community Engagement: Montgomery effectively uses communication and education to inform and engage our diverse community.

Goal E: Programming, Activities, Events and Recreation:  Montgomery provides a wide range of activities and events for a thriving, diverse, multi-generational community.

Goal F:  Staffing and Workforce Development:  Cultivate a “Top Workplace” culture and analyze staffing levels to ensure staffing meets community demands.

Shared Service Opportunities

The City continued to pursue shared service opportunities in the following areas:

  • The City continued to partner with the City of Blue Ash for street maintenance and information sharing on winter weather operations.
  • The public works department continues maintenance of the I-275/Montgomery Road intersection. This effort was accomplished in partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), and Sycamore and Symmes Townships to maintain the I-275 overpass area on Montgomery Road from Weller Road to Vintage Club Boulevard to include street sweeping, cleaning of medians and mowing of identified areas around the overpass.

The City's shared services pursuits demonstrate a commitment to regional leadership and stewardship for all of the taxpayers in the region and the state.

Staff: Local, Regional and National Organizational Leadership Roles

In 2023, the City continued its role in leading in regional, state, and national organizations.  To this end, several City staff members contributed and continue to offer their resources, over and above their primary job responsibilities, to a variety of professional organizations.  The following is only a partial listing of the groups to which City staff contributed:

  • Brian Riblet, city manager, is a Board member of the Cincinnati Area Manager’s Association (CAMA); Ohio City/County Management Association (OCMA); International City/County Management Association (ICMA); Rotary Club of Northeast Cincinnati; and Past President – Public Works Officials of Southwest Ohio (PWOSO);
  • Tracy Henao, assistant city manager, is a member of the Cincinnati Area Manager’s Association (CAMA); the Vice-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Ohio City/County Management Association (OCMA); International City/County Management Association (ICMA); and the American Planning Association.
  • John Crowell, police chief, is the assistant commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team in Hamilton County; Past President of the Hamilton County Association of Chiefs of Police and Chair for the Great Oaks Police Academy Advisory Board; President on the Miami Valley Risk Management Association Executive Board
  • Greg Vonden Benken, Assistant Police Chief, Vice President Hamilton County Police Association Executive Board, FBI National Academy Graduate Session #263, Sycamore Safe Schools Threat Assessment Team Member;
  • Matthew Vanderhorst, community and information services director; member of the National Association of Government Web Professionals and past board member;
  • Paul Wright, fire chief, is a past president of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association, the chairman of the Ohio Fire and Emergency Services Foundation, the State of Ohio representative to the Great Lake’s Division of the International Fire Chiefs’ Association, and serves on the Cincinnati State College Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board, the Hamilton County BioWatch Committee, the chairman of the Marketing Committee of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association, and the Ohio Fire   Chiefs’ Association Legislative Committee;
  • Kevin Chesar, community development director, is a member of the American Planning Association (APA); and International City/County Management Association (ICMA);
  • Melissa Hays, zoning and code compliance officer, is a member of the American Planning Association (APA);
  • Ben Shapiro, assistant fire chief, is the commander for the Hamilton County Fire Investigation Unit, a member of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Arson and Fire Investigators Seminar Committee and a member of Sycamore Safe and Secure Schools;
  • Maura Gray, finance director, is a member of both the national and state of Ohio Government Finance Officers, a member of the Southwest Ohio Municipal Finance Officers and the Greater Cincinnati Government Finance Officers Associations, the Southwest Ohio Tax Administrators Association (SWOTAA), The Ohio Society of CPA’s and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA);
  • Laura Braun, finance specialists, member of the Southwestern Ohio Tax Administrators Association;
  • Connie Gaylor, executive assistant and clerk of council is a member of the Ohio Municipal Clerks Association, a member of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and serves on the Education Committee of the IIMC Foundation.
  • Ja'net Crawford, mayor’s court clerk, is the treasurer of the State of Ohio Mayor’s Court Clerk Association, Education Chair for the Ohio Mayor’s Court Clerk Association Education Committee, member of the Southwest Ohio Mayor’s Court Clerk Association and the Ohio Municipal Court Clerk Association, secretary for the Hamilton County Police Association Charitable Organization;
  • Gary Heitkamp, public works director, holds a Professional Engineering license with the State of Ohio, a Certified Floodplain Manager through the Association of State Floodplain Managers, and a member of the American Public Works Association;
  • Julie Machon, recreation director, is a member of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, the National Recreation and Parks Association and the International Festival and Events Association;
  • Julie Prickett, human resources manager, is a member of the Greater Cincinnati HR Association (Cincy SHRM), Ohio Public Employer Labor Relations Association (OHPELRA), National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NPELRA), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM);
  • Mike Rogers, assistant public works director, is a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture.


The City of Montgomery was recognized for several achievements in 2023.

  • The City was designated a Top Workplace for the fifth consecutive year by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
  • The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awarded the City the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022. This award is a great honor for the City of Montgomery, as it is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. The year 2023 represents the 27th consecutive year the City has received this award.
  • The City received a 1st Place Award from Springbuk National Wellness Institute as a 2023 Healthiest Employer for organizations up to 149 employees.

The year 2023 continued the City’s trend of outstanding value for the community it serves.  The City is positioned to carry forward its tradition of maintaining financial stability, fostering community engagement, and seeking innovation in outstanding customer service delivery - all with an eye on delivering value to its customers who are the citizens, businesses, visitors, and institutions that make up our community.

Close window