Quick Take with Eric Norenberg, Oberlin (OH) City Manager

Posted on August 25, 2014

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We prepare for the ELGL & ICMA joint event at the ICMA Conference by getting to know attendees through their responses to four simple questions. Respondents will describe the current state of local government, their mentors, ways to strengthen local government, and of course, their dream six-pack. Link: Raise Your Hand If You’re Going “Back to the Future” with ELGL and ICMA

Background Check

2441b65Eric Norenberg (LinkedIn and Twitter) was appointed City Manager in October 2007. An Ohio-native, Eric has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio and a Master of Public Policy from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Eric has over 23 years of municipal government experience. He served in a variety of positions with the City of Mesa, Arizona, including Special Assistant to the City Manager, Acting Convention and Community Center Director, and IT Services Leader. Before that, he completed internships with the cities of Southfield, MI; Ann Arbor, MI, and Mesa, AZ.

Q & A with Eric


Name your career mentors. 

Mike Hutchinson, former Mesa, AZ City Manager,

Ellen Pence, former Mesa, AZ Assistant to the City Manager, and

Joe Holmwood, former Mesa, AZ Parks and Recreation Director.

Describe the current state of local government.

I am usually a pretty optimistic person.  While I know many local governments face serious financial challenges, I believe there is a bright future local government collectively.  Of the three levels of government, in the U.S., the local level is the closest to our customers we are directly responsible for quality of life and are the most responsive to changing needs and conditions.  So, overall I think things are good and getting better.

During her presidency, Bonnie Svrcek encouraged ICMA members to do “Just One Thing” for the organization. What’s “one thing” local government professionals can do to strengthen local government? 

Look and listen.  I walk or bike every street in town each year (most more than once/year).  I look and listen for the things that are working and positives in each neighborhood, and I note the things that need to be fixed (often before residents can call about them). And, I speak with residents, listening and asking questions.

In keeping with the beer tasting theme, tell us what we’d find in your ideal six pack. 

Hops.  I love good IPAs and trying new beer.  So, my ideal six-pack would include six IPAs that I’ve never tried before from around the U.S. or around the world.

Supplemental Reading


Featured KN user Eric Norenberg manages one of “best hometowns” in Ohio

College Joins Community’s Fuel Forward Project 

Life, Well Run | Oberlin, OH: Best Hometown

Oberlin sustainable project to present more housing

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