2018 Annual Report


Back Row, left to right: Julie Prickett, Brian Riblet, Matthew Vanderhorst
Middle Row, l to r: Sarah Fink, Cindy Abner, Taryn Radford, Kathy Ranford, DeAnna Gross, Tracy Roblero
Front Row, l to r: Katie Smiddy, Evelyn Dumont, Faith Lynch, Melissa Hays, Connie Gaylor, Sharon Savitt, Julie Machon

The year 2018 marked the first year for City Manager Brian Riblet. The city manager and the 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.

Branding and Imaging Campaign

 In 2018, the City of Montgomery embarked on a branding project called “Distinctly Montgomery” to position the entire community as a desirable destination for locating a business, a family, or to visit today, and into the future.  The first phase of the branding consisted of information gathering through the use of interviews with City Council Members and staff. The City and its branding partners gathered feedback from the entire community through online surveys and MCLA 2.0. The second phase of the branding campaign started in 2019.


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.

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) awarded the City a $600,000 grant to support the roundabout project at the interchange of Montgomery Road and Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway. This grant brings our total commitment from OKI to $6,600,000 for the project scheduled for 2020.

A grant for $4,000 was approved through the Duke Energy Foundation to support upcoming programs and activities of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee in 2019. The City of Montgomery is grateful to Duke Energy and their contribution to support our efforts.

The Fire Department was successful in receiving a grant for $3,575 from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Medical Services, for the grant cycle of 2018 – 2019 award year. The grant was requested to cover the cost of a Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification class for the department’s paramedics as well as to purchase some EMS supplies for the ambulances.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) awarded the City with a Capital Improvement award through HB529 for $250,000. These funds will be utilized to assist with the construction of a public park/gathering spot within the GRA site.

The Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District (TID) awarded the City of Montgomery with the second round of Ohio Department of Transportation TID funding for $250,000 for continued work on the roundabout project.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee

In 2018 the City launched a community-wide initiative to celebrate the values and benefits of the city’s increasing cultural diversity.  The City Council and administration created the Diversity and Inclusion Committee with a vision to:

  1. promote positive intercultural relations among Montgomery’s residents, and
  2. 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 also a resident of Montgomery, City staff, and several community members.  

The Committee had a very productive 2018 with the following accomplishments:

  • Held 11 meetings.
  • Created the #IamMontgomery campaign, including a video, 400 buttons, 200-yard signs, t-shirts.
  • Completed a cultural review of the city’s social media sites.
  • Member Umama Alam presented “Understanding Islam and Muslims” at the May meeting.
  • Represented at the Farmers Market with our members in a booth at the market.
  • Represented in the July 4 Parade with members in a parade unit.
  • Represented at the July 4 Festival with members in a booth at the Festival.
  • Assisted with the recruitment for the Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy of 2019.
  • Member Alfonso Cornejo presented “Hispanics in Ohio and Cincinnati MSA” at the July meeting.
  • Member Sasha Naiman presented, “Rebuilding Lives: how people with criminal records reintegrate into the community” at the August meeting.
  • Hosted a Dinner Party in Montgomery Park in October with 40 registered and 50 attending the dinner.
  • Sycamore Schools team Frank Forsthoefel, Karen Naber, and Emily Williams, the Supervisor of English as a Second Language, presented “Valuing Diversity” at the October meeting.
  • Jamahal Boyd of Tri-Health presented on “Diversity and Inclusion: The Strategy” at the November meeting.
  • Shane DiGiovanna presented about turning adversity into opportunity at the December meeting.
  • Profiled Member Chris Burns in the December Bulletin.
  • Structured diversity and inclusion into the curriculum of future Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy classes.
  • Provided information to the 2019 City Calendar about our Committee and advising on the diverse holidays’ page in the calendar.
  • Created a two-year strategic work plan.

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 activities of the organization.  Over the past 20 years, the City has undertaken strategic planning in five-year increments, and, in 2017, the City was in the first 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 third year.

  • Updated current succession plans based on organizational changes implemented in 2013 (2011-2016 Strategic Plan, Goal 3) to ensure staff members are in positions of leadership.
  • 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.

Sister Cities Exchanges 

City Manager Brian Riblet and Police Chief John Crowell visited the Village of Montgomery, New York, in support of the sister cities relationship created some years ago.

Many original Montgomery, Ohio settlers came from the Village of Montgomery, New York.  City Manager Brian Riblet and Police Chief John Crowell participated in the General Montgomery Day Parade on September 8, 2018, and met with several Village officials to develop a schedule for future interactions to build the relationship.

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 to share a telephone system that is managed by Sycamore Community Schools for the City of Montgomery.
  • 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 2018, 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 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);
  • John Crowell, police chief, is the assistant commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team in Hamilton County; Secretary for 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 serves in an Alliance for Innovation Advancing New Leader working group and is a member 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 Roblero, 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;
  • 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, assistant 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 coordinator, 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);
  • Faith Lynch, APR, communications and engagement coordinator, is a member of the Public Relations Society of America-Cincinnati Chapter and served on its Blacksmith Awards Committee;
  • 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 2018.

  • The City was rated as the #1 Top Community in which to live, according to Cincy Magazine. This edition is the 12th year for this annual “Rating of the Burbs” in which communities are rated based on the criteria of Safety, Education, Housing, and other attributes like property taxes and average commute to work.
  • 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, 2017. 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 2018 represents the 23rd consecutive year the City has received this award.
  • The Miami Valley Risk Management Association (MVRMA) completed the 2016/2017 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 Southwest Ohio Branch of the American Public Works Association presented the APWA 2017 Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award to the public works department.
  • The Greater Cincinnati Safety Council awarded the City with a Certificate of Achievement for achieving a 25 percent or better decrease in the number and or severity of work-related injuries during the calendar year 2017 (as compared to the calendar year 2016 work-related injuries.) The Greater Cincinnati Safety Council is sponsored by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation as part of its overall employer education program designed to encourage safe workplace practices and decrease job-related injuries.
  • The City of Montgomery was named one of the Healthiest Employers of Greater Cincinnati finalist.
  • The City was recognized by the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District for the Best City Recycling Rate in Hamilton County for the year 2017. The City reached a 24.8 percent recycling rate in 2017, and these efforts conserved enough energy to power every home in Montgomery for 21 days.
  • 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.