Tanisha Briley, Cleveland Heights city manager for nearly seven years, is resigning effective Sept. 1, to become city manager of Gaithersburg, Md., she announced at a July 20 city council meeting.
City council selected vice city manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil to lead the city through the next 16 months and the final transition to a mayor form of government.
After a search that attracted more than 90 applicants, Briley was selected to lead the Maryland city of more than 70,000 residents 13 miles from Washington, D.C.
Briley led Cleveland Heights through the lingering effects of a recession and brought financial stability to the city through the development of responsible budget processes, improved financial management practices and creative cost-saving strategies, according to a news release.
She facilitated the Ascent Top of the Hill project, the largest private investment development project in the city’s history that had five false starts over the past three decades. She also was responsible for modernizing the internal processes and practices of city operations, and initiated energy-efficiency projects that resulted in a 25% reduction in energy usage.
“As we conducted a nationwide search for our new city manager, Tanisha Briley stood out, in no small part because of the impact she’s had working with the elected leaders, staff and the citizens of Cleveland Heights,” Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman said in the release. “We appreciate what your community has achieved with Tanisha at the helm, and we’re very excited to bring her on board here in Gaithersburg.”
Cleveland Heights Mayor Jason Stein, on behalf of Cleveland Heights City Council, said in the release, “Tanisha has been a strong leader that has seen the city through a number of tough times including the current COVID-19 pandemic. She brought professionalism, experience and creativity to the city, and committed herself to the betterment of Cleveland Heights residents and businesses. We wish her all the best in her new position and we thank her for her service.”
Briley stated she was not actively looking to leave Cleveland Heights at this time, but with the city transitioning to a mayor-led form of government in January 2022, she had to entertain the opportunity.
“It has been my honor and privilege to serve this great community for the last seven years as city manager,” Briley said in the release. “Cleveland is my home and I had hoped to continue on here for years to come. I leave with mixed emotions, but also with great optimism for the future of Cleveland Heights.
“Serving as the city manager of Cleveland Heights has truly been my dream job, bringing me home and giving me the opportunity to spend every single day working alongside dedicated and talented professionals, each committed to making this community better than it was the day before. I am truly proud of all that we’ve accomplished together. I will miss this special and unique place and all the people that have made my service to this city so meaningful and rewarding over the years.”