Administration 2020 Annual Report

The city manager, assistant city manager, and human resources manager comprise the administration department.  Under the city manager, the administration department provides professional leadership in the execution of City Council policies and the day-to-day management of the City.  The department oversees the coordination and direction of all City services daily, provides direct support to Montgomery City Council, and serves as a liaison between the City of Montgomery and other organizations.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee

2020 Diversity and Inclusion Reverse Parade Entry - Photo by Fred Haaser
2020 Diversity and Inclusion Reverse Parade Entry - Photo by Fred Haaser

In 2020, the City of Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee completed its third year.  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 Committee is under the direction of the City Manager in collaboration with City Council, Chip Harrod of Harrod and Associates, and a resident of Montgomery, City staff, and several community members.

The Committee had a very productive 2020 with the following accomplishments:

  • Held 8 meetings.
  • Formed 4 subcommittees which included: Education, Event, Public Awareness and Metrics/Strategic Plan/Surveys and Evaluations.
  • Guest Speaker Pete Metz of the Metro Bus Service presented information about public transportation and the Move Forward Plan to committee members during the February meeting.
  • At the recommendation of the Committee, in March City officials met with the CEOs of the Hispanic, African American, Indian American and Chinese American Chambers of Commerce to explore opportunities for encouraging more minority businesses in Montgomery.
  • Committee Members Rosa and Juan Molina gave a wonderful, informative, and fun presentation on Hispanic Culture during the June meeting.
  • Represented in the July 4 Reverse Parade with members on a parade float.
  • Member Priya Viswalingam presented "Indian Culture and Hinduism" at the July meeting.
  • In the aftermath of the George Floyd tragedy, the Committee participated in a 3-part discussion series (August, September and October meetings) about "Why Black Lives Matter in Montgomery." In September, Chris Burns and Lydell "Dell" Carter gave an informative presentation on the book Stamped from the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America to committee members.
  • Planned the third #IamMontgomery Dinner Party in October but was canceled due to the pandemic.
  • Guest Alona Ballard, Education Specialist from HOME (Housing Opportunities Made Equal), presented "Fair Housing 101" to committee members at the November meeting.
  • City Manager Brian Riblet, Community and Information Service Director Matthew Vanderhorst, and committee member Umama Alam presented Montgomery's Diversity and Inclusion efforts during the July 2020 Alliance for Innovation Transforming Local Government Conference.
  • The Committee helped plan and participated in the April 2020 #TurnMontgomeryBlue campaign to recognize healthcare and front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The City of Montgomery was chosen to receive the Building Inclusive Community award for the 2020 CLIMB Awards presented by the Cincinnati Business Courier in partnership with The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.


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

In 2020, the City received $820,355.69 through various federal, state, and county sources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Montgomery was officially approved for $1,000,000 of State Capital Budget funds through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to assist with constructing a public park within the Montgomery Quarter project site.

Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District awarded the City a $28,915.15 grant for diverting 1,217.21 tons of recycling from the landfill, achieving a 28.53% diversion rate.

A grant was award to the fire department for a DETERRA drug deactivation system. This system includes a sealable pouch that can hold 45 pills or 6oz of fluid or six patches. After it is sealed, it is safe to dispose of through normal means of waste disposal.

2016-2021 Strategic Plan

City Council and City staff use strategic planning to set long-term goals, which provide purposeful guidance and direction for the organization's activities.  Over the past 20 years, the City has undertaken strategic planning in five-year increments, and, in 2020, the City was in the fourth year of its current five-year strategic plan.

The 2016-2021 strategic plan consists of the following five goals:

  • Goal 1:  Montgomery delivers core services through innovation and partnerships consistent with our vision by assessing changes in customer demands, demographics, and the environment.
  • Goal 2:  Montgomery has a quality of life that makes it a premier community.
  • Goal 3:  Montgomery attracts and retains businesses that contribute to the long-term stability of the City while maintaining our small-town historical feel.
  • Goal 4:  Montgomery will retain and attract quality and diverse housing options while maintaining a small-town feel and effectively managing the infrastructure impacts of redevelopment.
  • Goal 5:  Montgomery's fiscal plan supports City operations consistent with policy while managing risk to provide services most efficiently and effectively.

Several implementation steps and tasks were addressed throughout the fourth year.

  • Updated current succession plans based on organizational changes implemented in 2013 (2011-2016 Strategic Plan, Goal 3) to ensure staff members are in leadership positions.
  • Conducted a review of City documents and identified other factors to evaluate compatibility with the City's service delivery model and operating environment.
  • Analyzed the communication preferences of different demographic groups to ensure information is disseminated to meet the widest audience.
  • Implement chronic disease objectives from the WeThrive! Community Action Plan and other wellness and well-being initiatives focused on improving health and welfare for a premier community.
  • Establish debt policy (G.O. debt per capita, uses, percent of revenues, etc.)
  • Develop a finance technology plan to improve productivity and enable timely decision-making.

Shared Service Opportunities

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

  • The City continued its technology partnership with Sycamore Community Schools.
  • 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 taxpayers in the region and the state.

Local, Regional, and National Organizational Leadership Roles

In 2020, the City continued its role in leading 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 various professional organizations.  The following is only a partial listing of the groups to which City staff contributed:

  • Brian Riblet, city manager, is a 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); Ohio City/County Management Association (OCMA); International City/County Management Association (ICMA); and American Planners Association.
  • John Crowell, police chief, is the assistant commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team in Hamilton County; Vice President of the Hamilton County Association of Chiefs of Police and Chair for the Great Oaks Police Academy Advisory Board;
  • Greg Vonden Benken, assistant police chief, is a Hamilton County Police Association Executive Board Member, is a member of the Warren County Police Academy Advisory Panel, is a member of the Sycamore Safe & Secure Schools and the Sycamore Threat Assessment Team;
  • Mike Davenport, police sergeant, Hamilton County Police Association Executive Board Member;
  • Matthew Vanderhorst, community and information services director was elected to the board of the National Association of Government Web Professionals;
  • 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;
  • Tracy Henao, acting community development director, and Melissa Hays, zoning and code compliance officer, are members of the American Planners Association;
  • 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;
  • Paul Payne, Sycamore High School resource officer, is the past president of the Ohio School Resource Officers Association;
  • Katie Smiddy, finance director, is a member of both the national and state of Ohio Government Finance Officers and Public Treasurers Associations. She is a member of the Southwest Ohio Municipal Finance Officers and the Greater Cincinnati Government Finance Officers Associations.  Katie has also been a member of the Southwest Ohio Tax Administrators Association and the Ohio Municipal League Tax Committee; Serves as Treasurer on the Miami Valley Risk Management Association Executive Board
  • Cindy Abner, finance specialist, is a member of the Southwestern Ohio Tax Administrators Association;
  • Connie Gaylor, administrative coordinator and clerk of council, is a member of the Ohio Municipal Clerks Association and serves as a member of their Professional Development Committee;
  • Ja'net Crawford, mayor's court clerk, is the president of the State of Ohio Mayor's Court Clerk Association, the president of the Southwest Ohio Mayor's Court Clerk Association and a member of the Ohio Municipal Court Clerk Association;
  • 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, and Sarah Fink, recreation specialist, are members 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 Human Resources Association (GCHRA), the Ohio Public Employer Labor Relations Association (OHPELRA), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM);
  • Terry Willenbrink, assistant public works director, is a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture and holds a chemical license through the State of Ohio Department of Agriculture.


The City of Montgomery was recognized for several achievements in 2020.

  • The City of Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee was honored with the Local Government Innovation Award during the 2020 Alliance for Innovation Transforming Local Government Conference. The Committee was recognized for its efforts to bring awareness of diversity and inclusion to the Montgomery community. The Montgomery Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed in January 2018 and is comprised of residents representing various faiths, nationalities, age groups, and life experiences.
  • Montgomery was also honored with the CLIMB (Cincinnati Lifts Inclusion and Minority Business) Award in 2020 by the Cincinnati Business Courier. The CLIMB Award honors individuals and organizations in Greater Cincinnati who have helped the region achieve greater heights of success through building a diverse workforce, championing equitable practices, and developing inclusive cultures.
  • The City was designated a Top Workplace for the second 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, 2019. 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 2020 represents the 24th consecutive year the City has received this award.
  • The Miami Valley Risk Management Association (MVRMA) completed the 2019/2020 Safety Performance Evaluation Checklist (SPEC) assessment of the City of Montgomery's safety program and loss control measures resulting in a 100 percent compliance rating with the safety compliance checklist.
  • The Miami Valley Risk Management Association (MVRMA) has recognized the police department for being in 100 percent compliance with the recommended Law Enforcement Best Practices.
  • The FD has achieved the Gold Performance Level in the use of Lexipol Connect. The staff at the Fire Department completed 90 % of the Daily Training Bulletins and acknowledged 95% of the Policies issued through Lexipol. The commitment to training by the staff is what makes them a top-notch fire and safety department.

The year 2020 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.

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