Knope of the Week: Jim Lenner, Village of Johnstown, Village Manager

Posted on May 30, 2014

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Hero. Browns Fan. Visionary

This week’s Knope serves on the Midwest advisory board, was profiled in the 50 Nifty, drove six hours for the first Midwest Meetup, and (God bless him) is a Cleveland Browns fan. Who are we talking about? Jim Lenner, of course. Does he own a Johnny Manziel jersey? That we do not know.

We do know Jim is the village manager of Johnstown (OH) and he is helping shape Midwest ELGL and his community in Ohio.

Background Check on Jim


Connect: LinkedIn and Twitter

Jim was appointed as Village Manager of the Village of Johnstown in December of 2010. Previously, he served as Johnstown’s Village Planner. Jim received his masters degree in Public Affairs from Park University in 2011 and his bachelors degree from Muskingum University in 2003. He also has worked for the Licking County Planning Commission and the Town of Warrenton, Virginia. Jim is an active board member for Grow Licking County and Licking County United Way. He also serves on the Licking Memorial Health Systems Development Council. He and his family reside in Johnstown.

Word on the Street


Cheri Hottinger, President & CEO, Licking County Chamber of Commerce

As President & CEO of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, I work with all of our cities and villages throughout Licking County.  Jim is very well respected not only in the Village of Johnstown, but throughout Licking County and beyond.  I enjoy working with Jim on projects because of his knowledge and his willingness to listen to all ideas.  His honesty and integrity have followed him with each position he has held.  In the short time he has been with the Village of Johnstown, he has been able to not only create a long-term vision for the Village, but he has lead others to see and support this vision as well.  Only great leaders are able to accomplish something like that.

Bridget Doyle, Communications Coordinator, Village of Lombard (IL)

F2OREyiJim is an ELGL hero. He drove hours to come to our Midwest ELGL Evening Buzz event with his family, which shows his unparalleled interest in learning more about ELGL and getting involved. Jim was great to talk to – positive, forward-thinking and ambitious. He’s exactly what ELGL needs in Ohio and I’m sure he will help lead the Ohio brigade. He definitely has a bright future in local government and we’re so glad to have him on board! He also let his wife and children eat at P.F. Changs without him during the ELGL event, which if you’ve ever had their lettuce wraps, you know what kind of a sacrifice that is.

Dan Evers, Economic Development Director, Growing Licking County

Jim is the embodiment of a public servant. He’s level-headed, accessible, and virtually ALWAYS in and promoting his community. He balances a great sense of vision with a remarkable capacity to execute the day-to-day necessities of running a community. Jim is fun, funny, thoughtful, and a caring father and husband. He’s consistently looking for opportunities to do good, and make good happen. Basically, Jim rocks.

Kent Wyatt, Senior Management Analyst, City of Tigard (OR)

johnny cle_1399640007942_4536229_ver1.0_640_480I first learned about Jim through his Twitter account, and subsequently, through the ELGL 50 Nifty profile. What I have learned is that Jim has been a leader in every community that he was worked from Warrenton to Johnstown. He is quickly evolving into a leader for Midwest ELGL and one of our most valuable communicators in spreading the ELGL way to local government professionals. And being a Browns fan, Jim has clearly learned how to overcome difficult experiences (i.e: The Drive, The Fumble, Tim Couch).

Chris Mothersead (Jim’s first boss), Former Warrenton (VA) Director of Planning and Community Development

Jim’s position was entry level but he always excelled and did an excellent job with everything we threw his way! He was tasked with overseeing their plan review function and the towns architectural review board.

Charlotte Colley, Senior Projects Manager, City of New Albany (OH)

imagesJim and I attended college (undergraduate) together at Muskingum University. He was a great guy then and still is today. New Albany and Johnstown are neighbors and I have watched the village’s progress over the past few years since Jim was appointed as Manager. He has done a wonderful job. He’s very engaged with the Village, on a regional level through our Mid-Ohio Managers Association, statewide through OCMA and nationally through ICMA.  Jim’s going to go places.

Deb Dingus, Executive Director, United Way of Licking County

I’ve know Jim for a short while but in that time it is apparent that Jim cares a great deal for this family, his community and helping to make a difference in people’s lives.  We are lucky to have  Jim as a part  of our Licking County Community.  I have forwarded your request onto our board members who also might have further comments.

leslie-knope-partyJohn McCarter, Management Assistant, City of Sugar Land (TX)

I had the pleasure of meeting Jim on a conference call with the ELGL Midwest Chapter. It’s rare to find someone with his enthusiasm for making connections between local government professionals. I, along with everyone else at ELGL, am excited to have such an advocate spreading the word in Ohio.

Patrick Rollens, Social Media Coordinator, Village of Oak Park (IL)

Hats off to Jim Lenner for making the trek to Chicago for the Midwest ELGL meetup! He loaded up his family and left Johnstown at 6 a.m. to attend our meetup and spend a fun-filled weekend in Chicago. As a former Ohio alum myself, I had plenty to talk about with Jim when he arrived at the Midwest ELGL event. We talked industry (Johnstown has a big ol’ egg factory), sports (Manziel fever is gripping Cleveland) and municipal administration (Johnstown is small but knows how to cultivate emerging leaders).

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